Friending on the Margins
In a day when to friend has become a verb referring to a virtual activity, grounded explorations of friendship seem like refreshing reminders. I recently found one of these reminders in Chris Heuertz and Christine Pohls new book Friendship at the Margins: Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission.
Based out of work with some of the most marginalized and impoverished people around the worldmany of whom are sexually exploited women and childrenChris and Christine explore a simple question: If we put friendship at the center of our concern for the poor, what might change?
This opens the door to all kinds of follow-up questions: What difference does it make for mission, discipleship, and the church when friendship with people who are poor is a central dimension of our lives? What is the impact on those with whom we minister? How are we changed? What if the resources they have also meet our needs? What if in sharing life together as friends we all move closer to Jesus heart? (p 10, 19).
Recovering the humanity and basic dignity of everyone involved helps redefine the roles of giver and receiver in a new kind of mutuality under the more central relationship: friend.
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