In the wilderness, the stranger becomes a neighbor through the vulnerable act of hospitality. Such hospitality is not reserved to tea on the front porch or holiday suppers (though these are great). Wilderness hospitality is an act of calling forth possibility by accepting the leadership of convening.
“Invitation is the means through which hospitality is created. Invitation counters the conventional belief that change requires mandate or persuasion. Invitation honors the importance of choice, the necessary condition for accountability. We begin with the question of whom do we want in the room. For starters, we want people who are not used to being together. Then we include the six elements of a powerful invitation: naming the possibility about which we are convening, being clear about whom we invite, emphasizing freedom of choice in showing up, specifying what is required of each should they choose to attend, making a clear request, and making the invitation as personal as possible.”*
We often avoid vulnerability and unconsciously repeat habits of isolation by assuming we don’t have anything or anyone to conviene. Inhabiting the wilderness can be as simple as inviting shared community to be together.
This week, as we consider invitation, think of a way to invite others into meeting for the good of a neighborhood, a cause, or an association that you care about. As the invitation is formulated you will get clearer about “what the invitation is.” But for now, begin by building a list of people who do not yet know one another, but whom you believe might be awakened by your call into a shared possibility. We’ll discuss that next, but for this week’s exercise, begin by jotting down who those people would be.
*Block, Peter. Community: The Structure of Belonging(p113). Berrett-Koehler Publishers.