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Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition
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Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  691 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Although hospitality was central to Christian identity and practice in earlier centuries, our generation knows little about its life-giving character. Making Room revisits the Christian foundations of welcoming strangers and explores the necessity, difficulty, and blessing of hospitality today.

Combining rich biblical and historical research with extensive exposure to
Paperback, 219 pages
Published August 3rd 1999 by Eerdmans
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Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  691 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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Rachel Kopec Barkley
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
A challenging look at true hospitality. It covers what the Scriptures and Jesus teach us about hospitality, how social and economic changes have changed what hospitality has meant over the centuries, and practical challenges that we encounter today.
Aug 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
loved, loved this book. Not about making cookies and having a clean home (nothing wrong with cookies, btw) but about making room in your life for the marginalized and stranger. Doesn't offer too many practical solutions but by reviewing the historical precedents of hospitality in the church, challenges our current notions of private space, etc.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club, nonfiction
This reads like a doctoral dissertation. While I learned some things from it, it is repetitive, overly scholarly, & barely inspirational - what challenges the subject matter does pose are undermined by the intellectual scrutiny the author uses to over-examine such challenges.
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was super challenging as well as inspiring. So much stretching to figure out how to welcome people in joyful and sustainable ways. And then to receive from them. Communities are vital to sustaining these practices and the idea of welcome is crucial to communicating value to humans.
Sep 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all
Before I read this book last year, I thought that "hospitality" meant treating people nice when they came over to visit. Pohl opened my mind to the history of true Christian hospitality and its centrality in both Scripture and the early Christian church. She also details why the practice and even the definition of the word have gotten confused over church history. In the process of examining what historical and current Christian movements have done to recover the practice of hospitality, she ...more
Becky Hintz
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ministry
This book is a historical analysis of the place and practice of hospitality in the broadly-defined Christian Church. It looks at how hospitality has changed in each era of church history, and how those changes have helped or hindered the biblical goals of hospitality. This is not a how-to book, so those looking for practical hostessing tips should look elsewhere. It is a book for those who want to think deeply about hospitality, who want to examine our cultural practice through a wider ...more
Feb 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
We have always practiced hospitality but the Holy Spirit is using this book to help guide us in broadening that circle of welcome to strangers. I'm still not sure exactly how to do that, even after reading the book, but my heart is totally there. Very excited about what God has been changing in our lives and how this book will help us grow even more.
brooke sellers
Aug 28, 2008 rated it liked it
so far so good. this is is being read by our entire community as we explore how to practice hospitality to our neighbors in a way that pleases God, blesses others, and is sustainable. it's a challenging and exciting set of questions to wrestle with... even more so when put into practice!
May 24, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fleshiereads
Killing me slowly. This book could have been about a chapter long.
3.5 stars
This is a broad look at hospitality, and addresses many important ideas. The most profound to me is the humility required to make the guest more human. I ranked it 3.5 stars because I feel like many ideas were restated coming from so many different directions- it took nearly 200 pages to write would could have probably been stated in 50. I have just started The Gospel Comes With A House Key, and I think it will be much more enriching. It seems like in an effort to totally explore all
Mike E.
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book written in 1999 deals with Christian hospitality from all the angles--historical, theological, practical, cultural, etc. The author is a believer, scholar, and serious practitioner of hospitality. This book will challenge and inform any Christian--written with competency and accessibility.

I read most of this book while preparing for a sermon that I preached on 27 April 2014. That sermon should appear on this web site, soon:


Indeed, Christian believers
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great read on the history of and reclaiming the practice of Christian hospitality. I particularly like how the author draws historically on a variety of traditions (early church, Catholic, Calvin, Wesley) to make her points.
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
Excellent book on the Christian tradition, history, and call to hospitality. Dense with tons of wisdom, a must-read for anyone wanting to learn about the hows and whys of Christian hospitality.
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Making Room” is a simply written but challenging book about the meaning of hospitality and the Christian imperative to practice it. It is often inspiring and its implications are nothing short of radical. Recommended.
KentValerie Laws
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you are looking for an academic book on the history of Christian hospitality then I would say this is a 5 star book. If you are looking for a light read with how to's on Christian hospitality then I would say this book is a 3 star book. So I gave it 4 stars not knowing what I was diving into. It turned out to be super informative and eye opening.
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This books speaks to the deepest parts of my heart. So much of who I was created to be and do centers around the spirit of hospitality. This book enriched my heart and has spurred me to dig deeper into opening my home, reaching into my community, and most especially opening my heart more to those who are marginalized in our society. I loved this book.
A.J. Mendoza
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-buy
The reading level for this book verges on a college level. Pohl does a beautifully thorough job of looking at both ancient and contemporary voices on the topic of hospitality. Quickly she redefines the western understanding of hospitality and launches into a defense for that definition and the practices and boundaries that come with being hospitable to strangers (another term she will define). In God's timing, I just so happened to be hosting a friend who was recently kicked out of his ...more
Jul 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, non-fiction
This book is not a page-turner, but is relatively easy to digest and offers a compelling exploration of and argument for hospitality as a Christian tradition. In many ways, I was not surprised to read and learn about hospitality in terms of providing welcome and care for the stranger, and yet I so often think of hospitality as inviting friends over for dinner. Pohl makes clear that entertaining friends is not outside the realm of hospitality, but that the Christian tradition of hospitality is so ...more
Becky Pliego
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really good, but not your typical hospitality book (not at all!). First, it reads as a research paper, which makes it very interesting, especially since it is well documented (the author quotes Luther, Calvin, Chrysostom, and Benedict often). Second, it is more of a call to open your home to biblical hospitality, which includes the strangers -true strangers- among ourselves; this, of course, is not comfortable to read, but it is there, and I have read it, so now I have something to pray about, ...more
Milan Homola
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a book for the EXTREME PRACTITIONER. This is not for the casual reader. This doesn't mean it is packed with heavy theology...actually quite the opposite. But there is no point to read this book unless you recognize that God calls us to a life of servant hospitality. I challenge you to read will be stretched.
Mar 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Wonderful overview of Christian hospitality as practiced through the centuries which is based love for the hurting not entertainment for the privileged.
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is now a staple on my bookshelf! I will absolutely be coming back to this book over and over again for its wisdom.
Andy Stager
Oct 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I've read in 2013. I hope we can get Dr Pohl on the Gospel Neighboring podcast.
Rachel B
"To provide significant household-based hospitality, someone has to be home." p 58

I love this book! I read it for the first time in junior high or high school, and though I liked it then, parts of it were a bit above my comprehension level. Reading it again while in a very different place in life was even better.

Pohl describes the history of hospitality, particularly in the Church, and focuses on true hospitality, which is a welcoming of the stranger versus entertaining friends or family. She
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book provides a good overview of the history of Christian hospitality, and offers contemporary ideas of how to better practice hospitality. I was helped by the reminders that hospitality is not a performance, and that we welcome others into our homes because Christ welcomed us into His. I look forward to reading the follow up book, which I hope will provide insights into the practice of hospitality.
Denise Huff
Apr 05, 2018 rated it liked it
It had some really great, thought-provoking information. It reads more like a textbook than a practical treatise on recovering the practice of hospitality, and there were many themes that were repeated several times in the book. It's not a quick read or something to digest in a couple of sittings. It does spur some great discussions and encourages us to look at hospitality in a Biblical way that reaches the aliens and strangers and not something that we view as entertaining friends.
Tolivar Wills
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic read; biblically, theologically, pastorally, and practically. These distinctives were mixed with just the right amount of anecdotal illustrations to give relevance to the case being made. The case made in this book puts the ‘spirituality doctrine’ crowd in quite a predicament; they have much to account for as it relates to biblical hospitality.
Zach Adams
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Strong examination of the Christian tradition of hospitality. I would have liked more practical examples about how to do it in every day life. I really enjoy the sections devoted to the homeless and refugees. Worth only a quick read, though, because it is repetitive. Speed through the repetition and slow down for the gems.
Emily Kane
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Written beautifully. It is both personally challenging and eye-opening in many ways. Taking something (hospitality) that seems “natural” to some and writing it in a way that shows the supernatural requirements to be truly hospitable. I would totally recommend this book to any Christian.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Very dry and repetitive. Learned a little bit but was hoping for more.
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Christine D. Pohl is Associate Provost and Professor of Church and Society/Christian Ethics at Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky, where she has taught since 1989. She received a B.S. in Special Education at Syracuse University, 1972; a M.A. in Theological Studies, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 1986; and a Ph.D. in Ethics and Society at Emory University, 1993. She is best known ...more
“Isolation from local needs and overexposure to overwhelming but distant need, make our responses to strangers uncertain and tentative at best” 0 likes
“One great reason why the rich in general have so little sympathy for the poor is because they so seldom visit them. Hence it is that [according to the common observation] one part of the world does not know what the other suffers. Many of them do not know, because they do not care to know: they keep out of the way of knowing it -and then plead their voluntary ignorance as an excuse for their hardness of heart.” 0 likes
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