Category Archives: Journey 8

Journey 8 Day 40: Hosting and Growth

For me this article on hosting and being hosted well in the context not of ‘the home’ (although similar principles could apply and no doubt reap great results) but of ‘the workplace’ has been my stand out and most helpful and profound insight on this journey of hospitality. I’m seeing it and experiencing it more in my life and workplace and it is bringing huge hope, inspiration and opportunity. I am thankful for my ‘hosts’ and hope also that I am beginning to do a bit more of this type of hosting myself? If not then I certainly desire to learn more about how I might be able to. Some of it is stepping out in courage and with freedom (losing the fear) and some of it is being yourself and just going with it!

Linked to this for me is the concept of Being Loving, Being Interested not interesting and The idea of the happy manifesto .  All things that have inspired the idea of hospitality in a much wider and much more helpful context than I have previously imagined. Things that make me want to journey in this direction more and more and enable the idea of hospitality, growth and opportunity to be more prevalent and possible in my life.

That said, the more traditional aspects of both giving and receiving hospitality have also remained special. Being able to bake for others, Being able to have people into our home, being able to be hosted by others and gather together as a group of friends and extended family have all been so great.

Hospitality – The giving and receiving of it, is a special, profound and deeply human, spiritual experience and one to greatly cherish.

I heard this interview yesterday which inspired me and highlighted the importance of giving to others and being in relationship with others. I then had a day of wonderful meetings, connections, conversations and experiences. Truly wonderful.

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Posted by on November 15, 2012 in Courage, Generosity, Journey 8, Passion, Play, theology, Work


Journey 8 Day 39: How is my Neighbour?

Its one thing to know who is our neighbour, its another thing entirely to know how they are. This one day conference: How is my Neighbour: Developing Livable communities by Livability looks great.

Across our communities trust is eroding, stress is increasing and inequality is on the up. Across the UK more people are reporting a reduction in their economic, health, social and spiritual wellbeing. This is made even worse as global corporations tell us that happiness means consuming more and sharing less. However, our children are the unhappiest in Europe.

As a nation we are richer and better connected than ever. With ‘friends’ easily accessible on the web our neighbourhoods trust is eroding, stress is increasing and inequality is on the increase. How do we love our neighbours when we don’t know who or how they are? 5 million people aged over 60 say they now consider the television to be their only source of company.

The day will include:

  • Plenary session on a theology of Livable communities and rediscovering shalom in the 21st Century.
  • 8 inspiring presentations on models of intervention to increase wellbeing in our communities.
  • A 60 minute taster of Livability’s new Happiness Course for community groups
  • An exciting and interactive exhibition of organizations with resources to help your work
  • Creative networking opportunities throughout the day
  • Tools for you to take away and utilise in your own context


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Posted by on November 14, 2012 in Journey 8


Journey 8 Day 34: Follow Friday

Twitter users will know that on Friday’s there is a thing called ‘Follow Friday’ known as #FF

This Friday in the spirit of hospitality I wanted to share some sites/links/good stuff that I have been finding helpful as I have been taking these journeys and just doing life in general as a disciple and human being.

I do this in humility, knowing that others have loads more to offer and share but also in a spirit of community and sharing and recognising we are better and stronger together when we resource and encourage, challenge and inspire each other.


Greenbelt Talks (Loads of great talks, lots of free ones as well from previous years)

Rob Bell: The Two Kinds of New (Just a great talk and so helpful in so many ways)

Pete Rollins: Being Human (From Mars Hill Bible Church, October 2012)

Tom Wright: Forgotten Message of the Gospels


Nomad Podcast (Great range of interviews exploring community and new forms of church)


Breathe Network A Christian network for simpler living.

The School of Life The School of Life is a new enterprise offering good ideas for everyday life.

Rhythms Great ‘Village’ website with articles and amazing interactive space for action!

Blogs: (Where do you begin! So many, so here are just a few)

Jonny Baker Another World is Possible

A New Name Emma Scrivener

A Servant’s Life Frank Ritchie

The Good Stuff Jenny Flannagan

David Westlake What on earth is God doing and how do I join in

Rachel Held Evans asking big questions about faith, doubt, culture, gender and the Church.


Journey 8 Day 33: Friendship as an expression of hospitality

 “Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words.” George Eliot

I came across this brilliant blog by Frank Viola earlier today on the value of true friendship it was both stirring and profound.

It came in the context of me reflecting on some questions and also hearing about Love, Freedom, Empowerment and being on a Journey.

The questions:

What does it mean to have and live with true hope and work for deep transformation?
How can I embrace Realism but keep cynicism at bay?
How can I keep the heart right and keep my roots but also embrace a progressive position?
Why am I so fearful, why can’t I be free and more of the person that I’m fully created to be?
What does it really mean to be a part of a dynamic, vibrant, alive community?
Is it all about small, rooted, regular and organic, once something grows is it just natural and inevitable that it loses its freshness?

The Five Characteristics of a Close (True) Friend

  1. A close friend rejoices in your joys and sorrows over your pains. A true friend is not just sympathetic, they are empathetic. They share your feelings, weeping with you when you weep and rejoicing with you when you rejoice.
  2. A close friend won’t defriend you if you disagree. Friendships are tested when there is a disagreement. But true friends don’t cut you off because of it. They may tell you what they think you need to hear and vice versa. But they will do it in such a way where you can receive it. The reason is because you know they love you unconditionally more than they love their views.
  3. A close friend stays in regular contact with you. I have friends who contact me from time to time and vice versa (once or twice a year). We regard each other as good friends. But a close friend this doth not make. Close friends communicate fairly regularly.
  4. A close friend is someone whom you trust implicitly. They have earned your trust. Consequently, you don’t doubt that they have your back. And you don’t fear that they will stab you in the back. You trust them enough to confide in them about highly private and confidential matters. Close friendship brings with it disclosure (John 15:15).
  5. A close friend will stand by you, defend you, even take a bullet for you when you’re under attack. To my mind, this is perhaps the highest measure of friendship or one of the rock-bottom “tests.” The posture of a true friend is, “If you hurt my friend, you’ve hurt me.” It is never, “Well, that person never did anything to hurt me, so it’s not my issue.” This attitude is what separates goats from black sheep. True friends stand with and stand up for each other.

I want to both give and receive these outpourings of friendship and humanity with my friends. A truly spiritual, profound and brilliant expression of hospitality and what it means to be human.

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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Journey 8


Hospitality: Of the Other (and their ideas/worldview)

I heard a really interesting discussion this morning on Start the Week  about politics and division and the possibility of a hopeful way forward. Amos Oz said some remarkable and very inspiring things about reaching out to the ‘other’ and gaining greater respect for the other by demonstrating a hospitality to their life, worldview and way of being. To seek a deeper empathy and to then seek to understand more fully having empathised.

An hour before hearing that discussion I read these two quotes

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk” Doug Larson

“If I were to summarise in one sentence the single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relations it would be this: Seek First to understand, then to be understood.” Stephen Covey

I was also sent a weekly update on the art and importance of empathy!

It is a real art, a real challenge and a real work of grace to deeply listen and to deeply understand another person. It is however vital if we are to ever grasp true hospitality and a deeper understanding of others.

I began to read a book by Kester Brewin simply called Other but failed to get very far with it. In the book he asks‘ What kind of selves do we need to be in order to live in harmony with others?

As I near the finish of this particular journey I am feeling inspired to pick the book up again and take some steps to better empathise, listen and engage with others to gain some wisdom and become perhaps  just a bit more empathetic in the process.

Of course this whole thing does raise some other questions about the place of challenging others (but also being prepared to be challenged by others!!) and just how tolerant and willing to understand we are prepared to be? Is there a point where we need to challenge rather than empathise?

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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Journey 8


Journey 8 Days 20 – 29: Hospitality in Norfolk

I’m spending the week away from London in delightful rural Norfolk. I’m at my parents and gathering with lots of friends and family and more besides! (Kids parties and others also staying) I am rediscovering hospitality and the depth of the gift, skill and passion with which my amazing parents practice hospitality.

They are amazing, giving themselves over to others, sharing their home, their food, their gifts and resources. An open, welcoming home. Its enabled loads of people to reconnect, be refreshed, renewed and to have a great time. Its a real gift.

I am also being challenged and renewed at the prospect of reconnecting with lots of great people. Demonstrating a hospitality to their ideas, their stories, their humour, their learning, its making me just a bit richer and renewed as a person.

Hospitality towards a person is great, Hospitality towards an idea is also great. The art and skill of deep listening and deep empathy/learning.

I’ve been hearing about the hospitable nature of a movement called Love is an Orientation,

About a new community/church movement growing from scratch and reimagining church.

About renewal and hope in people’s lives and restoration

All from this idea of hospitality, from the idea of opening a home, gathering and being together. Life like this is possible and its making me think of the value of welcoming, being hospitable and acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with God.

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Posted by on November 1, 2012 in Food, Generosity, Journey 8


Journey 8 Day 19: Leaders as Hosts

There is a brilliant article on the idea of leadership being about hosting rather than being a hero.

Its brilliant, not because its a radical power to the people rage against the corporate machine type approach but because it seems so attractive, empowering and just makes sense.

Leaders who journey from hero to host have seen past the negative dynamics of politics and opposition that hierarchy breeds, they’ve ignored the organizational charts and role descriptions that confine people’s potential. Instead, they’ve become curious. Who’s in this organization or community? What skills and capacities might they offer if they were invited into the work as full contributors? What do they know, what insights do they have that might lead to a solution to this problem?

Leaders-as-hosts know that people willingly support those things they’ve played a part in creating—that you can’t expect people to ‘buy-in’ to plans and projects developed elsewhere. Leaders-as-hosts invest in meaningful conversations among people from many parts of the system as the most productive way to engender new insights and possibilities for action. They trust that people are willing to contribute, and that most people yearn to find meaning and possibility in their lives and work. And these leaders know that hosting others is the only way to get complex, intractable problems solved.

I absolutely love it when I host or am hosted. It just enables me to feel alive, more fully human, freeing and just great. My best moments, memories, experiences and times in life are when this happens. Can it not happen more in the work place, at church and in places or situations that seem to get a bit stuck into a rigid way of thinking?

I am aware how I have sometimes lost my ability to host and be hosted in some contexts.

That’s why I love good conferences, working and being over meals, talking, sharing, doing life and why when I lose site of that and shut that off I am a poorer friend, colleague and person.

I want to rediscover what it means to host and be hosted, to do it better and to live and work more fully as a result.


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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Generosity, Journey 8