The Power of Hospitality in an Age of Loneliness
Published by: MennoMedia
Imprint: Herald Press
Just come on over.
Many people today feel lonely, isolated, and disconnected from God and others. We crave authentic community, but we have no idea where to start. We'd be glad to cultivate friendships; but honestly, who's got the time?In Invited, writer Leslie Verner says real hospitality is not having a Pinterest-perfect table or well-appointed living room. True hospitality is not clean, comfortable, or controlled. It is an invitation to enter a sacred space together with friends and strangers. Through vivid accounts from her life and travels in Uganda, China, and Tajikistan, and stories of visiting congregations in the United States, Verner shares stories of life around the table and how hospitality is at the heart of Christian community. What if we in the West learned about hospitality from people around the globe? What if our homes became laboratories of belonging?
Invited will empower you to open your home, get to know your neighbors, and prioritize people over tasks. Holy hospitality requires more of Jesus and less of us. It leads not only to loving the stranger but to becoming the stranger. Welcome to a new kind of hospitality.
“Verner debuts with an impassioned plea for people to open their doors and invite neighbors and strangers into their homes and lives. In an age when political leaders seek to build walls, she writes, it is necessary to reinforce the common, human bonds of community. Verner declares hospitality both a habit and a command, as it’s a theme and practice found throughout the Bible. . . . Hospitality, she maintains, is not about ‘Instagrammable’ perfection but about displaying vulnerability and satisfying hunger for community. Helpful supplemental material includes discussion questions, a short reading list, and tips for practices of welcome. Verner’s persuasive message to ‘become a good neighbor’ will appeal to Christians and general readers alike.”~Publisher's Weekly
“Insightful, accessible, and engaging to its core, Invited is the nudge we need to fling open the door and let the crumbs fall where they may. Through vulnerable storytelling, Leslie Verner whittles the panic from our thoughts on hospitality, reminding us we’ve never been more equipped to connect than we are right now. Hello, kitchen island with its misplaced laundry piles. Hello, social awkwardness. Hello, leftovers. This is the bread we’ve been given, and today is just begging for a picnic.”~Shannan Martin, author of Falling Free and The Ministry of Ordinary Places
“Hospitality is such a powerful space where we get to practice giving and receiving, entering into mutuality and communion. Leslie Verner has experienced this larger hospitality—a belonging to the larger human family. In the pages of Invited, she has brought some of that wisdom and goodness to us.”~Idelette McVicker, founder of SheLoves
“In Invited, Leslie Verner peels back the assumptions about what makes a good, safe, and hospitable life. Born out of a place of loving to go and do big things for God, Verner now writes from the thick of staying tethered to people and places—including her suburban neighborhood and her three small children. Invited is an invitation to move away from the isolating individualism of the American Dream and move toward a life full of community, no matter where we are planted. It most likely will not be easy—but as Verner shows, we will always end up being surprised by God and delighted by the relationships that take shape in the shadow of our often-lonely neighborhoods.”~D. L. Mayfield, author of The Myth of the American Dream
“Invited is the exact message the church needs to hear today. As a culture we are fractured in silos of our own making, justifying the inconvenience that extending hospitality toward those who look, think, and act differently brings. This fresh, much-needed reminder of a biblical mandate calls people to no longer view strangers with skepticism but to instead build bridges toward one another, welcoming both individual and collective healing that comes through shared community. Through personal narrative and compelling truth, Leslie Verner invites us into her story, stretching us to reevaluate the way we live and engage others in our own.”~Michelle Ferrigno Warren, author of The Power of Proximity
“Hospitality is far more than an open home. It is a way of life, the embodying of ‘welcome’ in relationships and across cultures. Leslie Verner’s Invited is both an invitation to recognize our own hunger for community and a call to offer it to those around us. As you read, you’ll be inspired to lean into deeper, ever more authentic hospitality.”~Rachel Pieh Jones, author of Stronger Than Death
“I shudder at the word hospitality because it has been weaponized in Christian circles, especially for women. I wondered if Invited was another veiled shame message pointing out how I was failing yet again. It is not; instead, Leslie Verner breathes on the embers of connection we all long for, offering hope and examples of how you can invite others into your real life and forge life-giving relationships.”~Amy Young, author of Looming Transitions
“‘Love usurps fear in kingdom living,’ Leslie Verner writes, and I grab my pen to star the line. As our world quakes with polarization, division, and loneliness, this—choosing love over fear—is how we begin to mend the fault lines. In warm, welcoming prose, Invited offers us a glimpse of God’s unshakable kingdom, where all are welcome—and makes it a little easier for us to imagine becoming a part of it.”~Amy Peterson, author of Where Goodness Still Grows and Dangerous Territory