Doing "Good" Better: An Interview with Chris Heuertz
Chris Heuertz (41) hasn’t lived in 70 countries to see the world, but to live in the world. He and his wife, Phileena, have worked tirelessly on behalf of the underprivileged, diseased and downtrodden and they've recently founded "Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism". In Chris's new book, Unexpected Gifts: Discovering the Way of Community, he shares the importance of biblical community and contemplative activism. From his home Omaha, Chris talks about hidden gifts, divine loneliness, and how to do “good” better. JM: What are some “hidden gifts” you discuss in the book—things normally seen as trials or curses, but that you say can build up a community and the people within it?
CH: Our notions of community are sometimes filled with unrealistic idealizations of what it should be or what it might become. Many of those expectations often lead to disappointments, and in turn we find ourselves perpetually transitioning in and out of communities looking for the perfect one. If we stay in a friendship, relationship or community long enough, we will experience inevitable challenges. These inevitable challenges (things like failure, doubt, betrayal, the mundane, a loss of identity, sexual chemistry, messy transitions and others) are legitimate reasons for people to leave their communities. However, sometimes the reasons we leave are actually invitations to stay—and when we stay and work through these inevitable challenges, they often become unexpected gifts.
JM: We often talk about community like everyone already knows why it is so important, but I don't know that's true. So tell me, what is the importance of community?