What comes to mind when you hear the word 'hosting'?
I think of hospitality, welcome, warmth, service, humility, quietness, graciousness, inclusion, generosity, making-space-for-others-to-shine ...
Within weeks of finishing the middle book of the Simon Walker trilogy on leadership where he suggests this idea of the leader being a 'host', I find myself reading a book on preaching (Chris Erdman, Countdown to Sunday) where the author keeps returning to this very same word to speak of the preaching task: we are about hosting the word of God for the people of God.
For example (in a chapter on the value of the lectionary):
"We're finding that there is something deeply consistent with discipleship when we can't choose the words we will hear each Sunday, the texts our preachers read and ponder among us. And I think this moves the right direction on the interpretive bridge. Our people now want our preachers to host the text in all its strangeness, standing with them beneath it, even (maybe especially) when it is beguiling and confusing, dark and troubling. And their desires now square with my own - I'm not much interested in moving from the world we live in toward the text and trying to square its old ways with this new world as if the text must be made relevant to us. Rather I think the text wants to make us relevant to God. And the text - not our own agendas, opinions, or desires - is the birthplace of God's new life for us and for the world" (43-44).
Hosting?! Is it a metaphor to capture the essence of both leadership and preaching? An intriguing question...