An oft-repeated claim of Stanley Hauerwas's is his definition of love in The Peaceable Kingdom as "the nonviolent apprehension of the other as other." The phrase has always struck me as helpful yet surprisingly passive in its force. Why not instead define love as "peaceable hospitality toward the other as other"? As Hauerwas is wont to argue, peace is a deeper reality than violence, and so ought not to be defined by being "not" violence. And the image of hospitality has much to recommend it over against that of apprehension: it is a central theme of the Christian tradition; it is an actual practice; it can be either individual or communal. Moreover, it evokes the sense of both active welcoming, a concrete positive action, and giving (making) space, a negative letting-be that retains the noncoercive component of apprehension as "perception." Finally, the phrase is clearly rooted theologically: in the act of God in the incarnation; in the being of God as eternally triune; and in the kingdom of God as inaugurated in the death and resurrection of Jesus and the outpouring of the Spirit.
What's not to like?