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Strangers and Friends at the Welcome TableContemporary Christianities in the American South$
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James Hudnut-Beumler

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469640372

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469640372.001.0001

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I Was Hungry, and You Gave Me Something to Eat

I Was Hungry, and You Gave Me Something to Eat

Hospitality, Scarcity, and Fear in Southern Christianity

(p.15) 1 I Was Hungry, and You Gave Me Something to Eat
Strangers and Friends at the Welcome Table

James Hudnut-Beumler

University of North Carolina Press

Contrary to many scholars who have seen revivalism as the key to southern religion, this book posits that Christian and cultural hospitality are fundamental to southern religiosity. Rooted in a deep cultural memory of scarcity, sharing food with the sick, bereaved, the homeless, and one’s fellow believers takes on a significance it holds perhaps nowhere else in America. Yet sometimes that sharing takes on an edge, wherein ideas about the “truly deserving,” and what churches versus governments should do demonstrate underlying insecurities. Moreover, little informal hospitable sharing happens across the lines of race and the region uses government to punish “the wicked” more than elsewhere in the nation as the result of its underlying conceptions of about the roles of government and private charity.

Keywords:   Hospitality, Food, Hunger, Punishment, Race, Discipline, Deserving Poor, Food Pantries, Church Suppers

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