“Ironically, as much as we yearn for deep friendships and meaningful communities, many of us seem to be unable to find our way into them. Even if we know we’re made for community, finding one and staying there seems almost impossible. Though we hate to admit it, if we stay long enough in any relationship or set of friendships, we will experience failure, doubt, burnout, loneliness, transitions, a loss of self, betrayal, frustration, a sense of entitlement, grief, and weariness. Yet it’s these painful community experiences, these tensions we struggle to navigate, that hold surprising gifts.” —FROM THE PREFACE
IN A STRIKINGLY confessional tone and vividly illustrated through story, Unexpected Gifts names eleven inevitable challenges that all friendships, relationships, and communities experience if they stay together long enough. Rather than allowing these challenges to become excuses to leave, Chris Heuertz suggests that things like betrayal, transitions, failure, loss of identity, entitlement, and doubt may actually be invitations to stay. And if we stay, these challenges can become unexpected gifts.
Betrayal, failure, loss of identity, doubt. If your relationships have suffered from any of these pitfalls, this book will show you that staying together can create something more—even something beautiful.
IN THIS HEARTFELT and thoughtful book, Christopher Heuertz writes of the dangers of isolation, the challenges we face when we join together, and the struggles and joys that emerge from genuine community bonding.
Whether readers are forming a new community, searching for deeper community, or participating in a longtime community, they will find inspiration, caution, guidance, and encouragement as they discover the beauty of pressing in to the ambiguities of growing relationships in this tender and honest testimony about how we are woven together by grace.
An instigator for good and hustler of hope, Christopher L. Heuertz fights for a renewal of contemplative activism. Chris has spent his life bearing witness to the possibility of hope among a world that has legitimate reasons to question God's goodness. After graduation he moved to India where Mother Teresa mentored him for three years. There he helped launch South Asia's first pediatric AIDS care home. For twenty years Chris has served with Word Made Flesh, working for women and children trafficked into the commercial sex industry.
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