hospitality and property

From a discussion on "revolutionary hospitality"...

I think you're right that it's better for all if everyone [in the community is] contributing in some way (not necessarily money). If you're not requiring a rent contribution, though, it seems you would have to have some other way of insisting that everyone contribute. And if a guest stopped contributing, what then? Doesn't that bring back the power that those who own the house have over the guests? Who makes the decision that the troublemaker has to go?

That's the kind of problem we faced several times at the Catholic Worker, and I just couldn't see any way around it. As much as we wanted to break down inequality with our hospitality, it seemed to remain, especially inequalities of power. And I've seen the same dynamics in all three of the common purse communities I've lived in. It always seemed connected to who controlled the property (and money) that people relied on for their shelter and sustenance.

The only way forward seems to me to also emulate Jesus' practice regarding property and wealth as well as his practice of hospitality. You're right that money was some part of Jesus' care for others (donations to the poor, for example), but that seems very little of what he offered. He also demonstrated hospitality without his own property, it seems. Jesus welcomed people in the temple or on a hillside, or he borrowed an upper room to host a Passover meal. And that strikes me as removing the source of inequality and power over the guest that you rightly point out as problematic.

I guess I point this out as a way forward, if you find yourself running into the same kind of frustrations that I have seen in a number of communities trying to practice Christlike hospitality. I've been trying to move more and more in this direction myself.