by Kevin Harris
For about 20 years, Chris and Phileena Heuertz directed the organization Word Made Flesh. With communities around the world, they seek to serve Jesus among the most vulnerable of the world’s poor. They incarnationaly live among those in difficult situations such as sex slavery, prostitution, and with child soldiers. A commitment to friendship, submission to one another and community are woven into the DNA of their organization, but they found that at times the tragedies and grief that they experienced while doing life with those on the margins slowly wore down some of their staff members to the point of burnout.
Chris and Phileena discovered that nearing burnout was an invitation to go deeper to delve into contemplative spirituality. To be actively engaged in mission and the lives of others with redemptive impact, they found the need to root their work and activism in a spirituality that helped them to rest in God and dismantle their notions of their false selves (the image we have built of ourselves and who we think we are that serves to please, satisfy and protect our ego) to more fully live out of their being beloved. Contemplative spirituality includes disciplines with the purpose of learning to “create space to be still and rest in God beyond words, thoughts and feelings. It is to abide in the love of God, to attend to the inner life, and to simply be with God in solitude, silence and stillness” (Phileena Heuertz in Pilgrimage of a Soul).
After finding that this contemplative spirituality helped to sustain them and fuel their activism within their communities at Word Made Flesh, Chris and Phileena founded Gravity │ a Center for Contemplative Activism to help others engaged in difficult work and ministry to “do good better”….
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