Chongshin Seminary, Part 2
The reputation that the Korean church has for Christian hospitality is well deserved. From the moment that I arrived in Seoul, I was generously cared for in every way: warm greetings, respectful bows, spacious accommodations, delicious food, engaging conversation, and -- best of all -- careful attention to the teaching of the Word of God. Korean culture has an ancient tradition of manners that affirms the dignity of guests, but even this tradition seems to be surpassed in the Christian community, where the love of Christ adds a richer dimension.
I'm sure my experience has been shared by many other Americans: standards of hospitality are generally higher in other countries than they are in the United States (there are some exceptions, of course). Generally speaking, Americans have a larger sense of entitlement than people in most parts of the world. Also, we have a casual style of relationships that is not especially conducive to the formalities of polite company. The casual American style has its own virtues and can be attractive to outsiders, but tends to underachieve in hosting guests. My travels in Korea and elsewhere have challenged me to aim higher, towards the biblical standard for hospitality: "in humility count others more significant than yoursleves" (Phil. 2:3).