Mutual Appreciation – 10 quotes from Christopher L. Heuertz and Christine D. Pohl’s book – Friendship at the Margins: Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission

by Mark Votava

  • 51ZWPHXNysLIt takes years

“It takes years to build the kinds of relationships that result in transformation.”

  • Friends are God’s gifts to us

“Friends are God’s gifts to us, and without them we are incomplete…”

  • Change our orientation

“But we could ask ourselves as we seek to change our orientation: Could I invite my friends who are poor into my home and lifestyle and have a good time with them? Would I be ashamed of my comforts or expenditures? Is the embarrassment I feel an expression of my conflicted commitments and divided loyalties?”

  • To be present to those we love

“When we allow ourselves to be disarmed, we become both vulnerable and strong. The only weapons then at our disposal are those of the Spirit. We choose the way of Jesus, laying aside all the earthly resources that give us power – in order to be present to those we love.” 

  • Deep relationships, mutual appreciation and communion

“An emphasis on friendship is, in a sense, an effort to round out our understandings of love that focus exclusively on self-giving and self-sacrifice – lots of sacrifice – but it also involves deep relationships, mutual appreciation and communion…”

  • Staying faithful over a lifetime

“What spiritual practices help us sustain friendships at the margins?… What will help us to stay faithful over a lifetime?”

  • How we use our free time

“How we think and act in regard to justice for people who are poor and exploited is surely part of holiness. But so is what we do with our leisure time and recreation. With what do we fill our minds when we have a chance to relax? The things we find humorous and entertaining matter to God and matter to the sort of persons we are becoming. Sometimes there is a sizable gap between what we claim as our commitments and how we use our free time.”

  • Exposes our excess

“Friendship with people who are poor often exposes our excess… Getting a handle on simplicity that is full of grace is often challenging.”

  • Slowing down

“Real friendship involves movement in and out of one another’s worlds, but our privilege, location and busyness often make us inaccessible to friendships with people outside our world. Sometimes we don’t even see possible friends who, though not far away, are distanced from us by class or illness, status or capacity. Putting ourselves in places where people on the margins can find us involves slowing down, taking time to be where people can befriend us, and taking risks to be dependent on the kindness of strangers.”

  • What we often take for granted

“Without gratitude and celebration our lives shrivel up. While it would be inaccurate to suggest that people who are poor or have been exploited have a special handle on gratitude, it is a grace and practice often evident among people who are poor. Sharing life with those who are grateful for the most basic things in the midst of their ongoing difficulties challenges us and our more comfortable communities to reflect deeply on what we often take for granted – God’s goodness and provision.”

Have you discovered mutuality in your service and mission in the world?

Christopher L. Heuertz is the founding partner of Gravity, a center for contemplative activism, and coauthor of Friendship at the Margins: Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission, author of Unexpected Gifts: Discovering the Way of Community, Simple Spirituality: Learning to See God in a Broken World 

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist