A few weeks ago I wrote about hospitality and what I learned from a recent church retreat. The theme of the retreat was radical hospitality, based on the book of the same title by Loni Collins Pratt and Daniel Homan. Over that weekend, and the following weeks, I read, and very much enjoyed the book. Pratt especially set out to not write a guidebook. She clearly states that her book is meant to be a collection of stories based on, and used to examine the Rule of St. Benedict, and spiritual hospitality. That kind of sounds academic and scary, but it is not at all like that. Most of the book consists of stories from her time visiting a monastery, and the author’s life, along with explanations. The book is easy to relate to and understand.
That being said, this book isn’t there to coddle you; it is there to convict you. Some of the stories are hard to read, not because they use dense language or academic jargon, but because they deal with uncomfortable subject matter that we usually try to stay away from. It dares us to face those things head on. One story, about the author’s infant daughter dying of cancer, was especially difficult. But that was the point. Everyone around her found her situation too big and scary and awful to handle, except one woman. This woman, someone from church whom she barely knew, came and stayed with her through her darkest time. Actions like that are what this book asks of its readers. Ultimately, that is what I enjoyed about Radical Hospitality: it motivated me to act. Now, not every story is horribly depressing, most are very sweet and hopeful. I think this book is a good fit for anyone looking to begin examining spiritual hospitality in their own life, no matter what backgrounds they come from.