Reviews on Resources for Biblical and Theological Studies


Written By: Paulson Pulikottil - Jan• 15•11

Heurtz, Christopher L. and Christine D. Pohl. Friendship at the Margins. Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission (Downers Grove: IVP Books, 2010). pages: 159. ISBN: 9780830834549.Resources for Reconciliation Series.

This book is another in the series on Resources for Reconciliation by the Duke University School and IVP. The authors have been involved in Christian mission in different parts of the world and with Word Made Flesh (WMF) in a number of developing countries for a considerable time. This book is based on their life-long experience and reflection.

The book challenges the traditional missional practices where the missionary enters a mission field to help those who are disadvantaged. In the conventional pattern there is not much partnership with the people at the receiving end and there is seldom any relationship as equals. The Western missionaries are always at a higher pedestal than the disadvantaged that they serve.

This book, through the real experiences of its authors and the model that WMF has adopted world-wide offers an alternative. It is a call to establish long-term relationships with those whom we serve. It challenges us to consider those whom we serve as friends and to learn from them as well. It emphasizes mutuallity in mission than the unidirectional flow of knowledge and skills as in conventional model of mission. This mutuality happens when the poor and the exploited becomes partners in their own liberation. Those who serve God in this way becomes friends with them and develop a new kind of spirituality. The book ends with a chapter titled “A Spirituality Fit for the Margins” where spiritual practices fit for friendships at the margins is discussed.

The book is full of anecdotal illustrations from the life and experience of the authors and their colleagues. This title is a must for those who consider engaging with the marginalized and the poor in their own country or abroad.