“Communities or neighborhoods developed around particular ‘life-styles’ help assure that the people we and our children encounter on a daily basis are much like ourselves in education, race, and socioeconomic background. Many of us drive to work each day from carefully defined neighborhoods to carefully controlled work environments, and can effectively avoid encountering most strangers, particularly those that might be troublesome. For many of us, it takes intentional effort to intersect meaningfully and personally with strangers different from ourselves.

“At times we deliberately turn away from vulnerable strangers, choosing not to see them, quietly steeling ourselves to resist their intrusions into out lives. . . .
“. . . News reports and documentaries broadcast the most terrible details of the lives of refugees or famine victims thousands of miles away . . . We are saddened, sometimes overwhelmed, and wonder at such desperation. However, these people and the reports about them rarely make any claim on our personal response and we quickly move on to the next report or family task. . . .
“A steady exposure to distant human need that is beyond our personal response can gradually inoculate us against particular action. It can also delude us into thinking that by simply knowing about it we are somehow sharing in the suffering of others.”
(Pohl, Christine D. Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition, pp. 90-91)

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