"Friendship at the Margins" by Christopher Heuertz and Christine Pohl
I have been looking forward to this book for months, and I finally got my hands and head around it after hearing about it all winter. Casey read 'Friendship in the Margins' with our Ubuntu 'interns' and they all loved it and the conversations that naturally flowed from the challenges within this read. Chris Heuertz is a 'friend' of ours as he and his wife did some work at Duke Divinity before we went to South Africa in 2008, and we have followed their incredible organization Word Made Flesh for years (www.wordmadeflesh.org). The missionaries in this dynamic organization and community live among the people they serve all over the world in the poorest and darkest of places. They do not go in with clear goals and objectives for people, but rather allow ministry to grow and develop from the friendships that are born there. Honestly, WMF and their theology of ministry deeply formed our vision for ministry here in Ocean View and planted many seeds that we are now living and working out. Chris pushes his readers to a deep encounter with those they serve and invites us to move from a cause-based mission focus to a vision of friendship and coming alongside people. What we find in friendship is a place for building, learning, growing, and a mutual experience of God. This book hit me in some deep places because it speaks right into much of what we hope to do through living here in Ocean View but is very honest about the challenges in this kind of radical life. The hardships are not just the 'dangers' of living among people who poor and desperate, but the issues that arise as people who are wholly different in many ways come together to learn and authentically relate. I am humbled that God has given us a place to do this way of life and ministry and pray that God will continue to teach us how to truly honor Him and our brothers and sisters among us.
"The stories of friendships at the margins remind us of the power of hospitality and a hospitable presence. People are transformed when someone is willing to listen to their stories, to share a meal with them, to find their insights and concerns important or interesting. They are able to recover a measure of self-respect and a fuller sense of identity. But hospitality works both ways, and people on the margins also gain self-respect and recognize their own gifts when someone is willing to receive their hospitality." -Friendships at the Margins
Click here for Casey's thoughts on this book, from our blog in May.
Click here for a piece from 'Friendship at the Margins' in Relevant Magazine
Video interview with Chris Heuertz here