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Definitions of Radical Hospitality

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Radical hospitality rejects a one-size-fits-all approach to welcoming people to a community, and it is work that never ends - improving with each event. Anon

I have never heard this term before, so I'm just going to wing it here. I would say it is being really active about your desire to bring voices in to the conversation to try to skip over people's reluctance/shyness. But not in a pushy way, in an excited to hear your voice way @greenterry

Radical hospitality means treating with respect and providing sanctuary space (I.e. safe, unjudgemental space) and grace to all peoples, regardless of any definer one can assign to those peoples. Radical hospitality means openness in mind and soul for new, different, and sometimes hard-to-hear perspectives. Radical hospitality means encouragement and empowerment of all in ways that will help them embrace their best and authentic selves. Radical hospitality is listening deeply and reflecting what we’ve heard. @Rissachem

Hospitality, to me, can raise some issues I'm not terribly comfortable with: it makes me feel like I am a host and someone else is a guest, and with VC I'm not really thinking that way. I'm not sure where that host/guest image with "hospitality" comes from for me, but it feels like the sort of thing one extends to those who are guests in one's home or some other space that belongs to oneself. This positions the guest as an other, as someone coming into an already-established space.

And though I think that may happen with VC, it isn't the ideal. it can happen if guests feel like they're coming into a space where some people already feel at home and are trying to make others feel at home there too. But there's already a "home" there and the guests are outsiders. Perhaps this happens more often with VC than we realize--maybe people who are new join in and wonder what it's all about and why some people feel perfectly comfortable with VC while they don't know what to do or say.

I suppose adding "radical" to "hospitality" might be a way to change this home/outsider framework, possibly opening it out so that no one is "in" or "out" to begin with when they meet but all come together to create a new space inclusive of all and also of others who may come in later and change that space anew. This is probably very difficult to do. Christina Hendricks

Radical hospitality means paying attention and not making assumptions about whether a person feels included or not (no matter how much energy you are devoting to reach/stretch for inclusion). It means cultivating a keen awareness of the way power and privilege shape our overall conversations and trying to correct or adjust for more connection despite these ever-present influences. It means listening. It means always assuming YOU have a lot to learn. And it means making certain behavioral moves of generosity even when there is seeming ambivalence on the other end. Ambivalence from a colleague is often reluctance for reasons unforeseen. Some of the best thinking partners are reluctant at first. Radical hospitality can yield special allies and transformative learning experiences, but it is work (and it can even be draining). It takes time. Submitted by @MiaZamora

Thank you for including me. The word radical makes me think of margins, people that are at the margins in different ways, maybe people that enjoy the philosophy of virtually connecting but they prefer to stay at the margin and don't participate in any of the session Vconnecting holds. How would VConnecting be hospitable with them? Is there a need to be hospitable at all with them? Maybe could we ask in which way do they want to be invited, involved? Maybe they are too shy or they feel they are not entitle to ask questions, so can VConnecting imagine a way in which their questions could be included? That is one thing I thought. Another thing is what can VConnecting do so that those who can't connect in any way could have access to the recordings, to the conversations, the materials? Submitted by @carolinekuhn

@CarolineKuhn you ask a good question about those in the margins that want to say in the margins - not everyone wants to be in the spotlight - we have used twitter as our main backchannel, so people can ask questions via twitter - but I wonder if we might want to also look at having a question sheet with our signup sheet ...so people can say, I cannot make the session but would love to hear this persons thoughts on this topic ... All our sessions go on YouTube live, so anyone can lurk, and we encourage people to watch a session or two before joining live, so they get that it isn't a presentation. Submitted by @RJHogue

I might lean on Justice Stevens like definition of "you know it when you feel it". Submitted by @cogdog

In trying to define what radical hospitality is I need to flip the script a bit and talk about what it is not. Hospitality in itself can be pretty bland. If you have ever worked in the hospitality industry you know that there are rules to follow and if you follow the rules well then you are doing all you can and you are offering good hospitality. Greet the customer by name but never call out a single customer in a loud way go to them directly, fold the corners just so, leave the mints on the pillow... etc. But when we choose a modifier like radical with a word like hospitality what does that mean? Does it mean more rules, maybe stricter rules? Is this the kind of hospitality that is meant for the upper crust? Do I get the Radical Hospitality plan if I spend the extra $50 for the Deluxe Super Plus package? If you have been to an amusement park recently you may have noticed that you CAN actually pay extra to skip ahead in line - they often call this the "fast pass". Of course on airlines we pay for every small convenience these days. This kind of hospitality is meant to create power structures and separate people. As @CarolineKuhn mentions above I do think that a BIG part of radical hospitality is about treating people the way that they want to be treated; not the way that some rule book says that good hospitality should be performed. Radical hospitality is not etiquette, it is not Ms. Manners, it is not grammar or syntax. Radical hospitality is a conversation, it is listening, it is speaking with courage, and yes that does cause a particular paradox for lurkers. But I don't think that radical hospitality is immune to paradox. At the same time I think that radical hospitality, especially the kind that VC practices, is hyper-aware of power structures and specifically uses hospitality to give greater power to those who are in positions of less power. While we never mean to upset or disrupt those with greater power we also don't compromise that at its heart this thing is about access for those who do not have it from those who do. Submitted by @Autumm

Great questions @CarolineKuhn and I am wondering about audio and text versions of things... I really like @rjhogue idea of folks asking questions ahead of time even if they can't or do not want to be in the session live. Have done this in other contexts before but never thought of if for vconnecting.... I am also thinking, though, of the kind of labor it takes a volunteer to be radically hospitable and what @autumm was saying about following rules versus, perhaps embodying that radical hospitality. For me, part of what vconnecting is about, is, is a strong belief in the importance of non-present voices at an event to have space to be heard. When you truly believe that, you do all you can to make their experience as close as possible to ideal for them. But not as a favor. As a belief in their right to be there. Submitted by @BaliMaha

Is radical a noun or adjectives? Meaning are we providing hospitality to radicals or modifying the degree of hospitality. If that is the case I am going with a 1980's, "That's radical, dude" kind of definition. Could use the science definition as we are a loose group hanging together. Could be the definition of compleness and thoroughness...probably what you are going for but I still want to channel my inner Socal surfer. Submitted by @jgmac1106

Definition from UUA

By not asking "Where are you from"! submitted by @ParisaMehran

By making sure that ELF (english as a Lingua Franca) is used so everyone can follow the conversation. submitted by @ParisaMehran

  1. From Radical Hospitality by Marilyn Sewell:

I speak of radical hospitality today because there is a world out there that needs home, that needs community, and I want us to stretch spiritually, to stretch ourselves open. I know that when we take the risk—yes, of course, we’ll blunder, we’ll make mistakes—believe me, I have blundered more than once—but when we take the risk, our lives will grow so much richer and deeper because we have extended ourselves. Our creativity will blossom, for we will not be stuck with our old assumptions, our narrow ways of perceiving reality. Our world will grow wider and softer and more trusting.

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