Professor of ministry and pastoral theology Kathleen Talvacchia concludes that being hospitable and providing a hospitable environment is key to creating an effective multi-cultural learning environment for students. Her thoughtful and well-written book explores the attitudes and behaviors - the head and the heart - that create a hospitable environment: deep listening, focus and awareness, inclusion and openness, flexibility, and a willingness to learn, change, and grow. She further promotes sensitivity to the complexities of social location, cultural norms and perceptions, power dynamics, and historical prejudices that exist in the classroom. She argues that hospitality and cultural competence are not about being “politically correct.” Hospitality is, says Talvacchia, “a deeply mutual spiritual practice.” Talvacchia shares anecdotes and stories that serve as reflective exercises. Any congregation seeking to expand its understanding and response to learners from all backgrounds and of all types will find much to ponder and act upon in this resource.
Reviewed by Janet Hoover