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“Christian life is not a life divided between times for action and times for contemplation.
No. Real social action is a way of contemplation, and real contemplation is the core of social action.”
- Henri Nouwen
Continuing our series on Action & Contemplation, Phileena Heuertz talks about contemplation. How do contemplation and action work together? Why are practices of reflection and contemplative prayer essential to meaningful impact in the world?
Phileena Heuertz spent 20 years working as an activist in some of the worlds toughest places. And then she had a crisis of faith.
"I really needed a practice that could hold me. Before, it was me holding my faith.
But I needed my faith to hold me. I needed to let go. I needed to be held by God."
Today, Phileena is a spiritual director and teacher of contemplative prayer. She helps other activists and ministry leaders deepen their relationships with God, discern their unconscious motivations for service and cultivate practices of stillness, silence and solitude.
Solitude teaches us to be present.
Silence teaches us to listen.
Stillness teaches us what appropriate engagement looks like.
Phileena’s new book Mindful Silence examines these three contemplative themes. She asks how we can offer a different kind of presence in the world that activates redemptive impact?
Phileena Heuertz is the author of Pilgrimage of the Soul and her new book Mindful Silence: The Heart of Christian Contemplation. She is a spiritual director and founding partner of Gravity, a center for contemplative activism in Omaha Nebraska where she lives with her husband Chris.
There are unconscious motivations that drive us into service that may appear to be selfless
and altruistic but upon deeper introspective may be self-serving.
And it’s that self-serving aspect of activism that perpetuates exploitation of others.
Listen to Part 1 with Kathy Khang. Kathy talks about Action and her new book Raise your Voice: Why we Stay Silent and How to Speak Up!
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Other Episodes You Will Love:
8 Alice Fryling on Prayer as Liminal Space
11 Jared Boyd on How Imaginative Prayer Helps Children Connect with God (& Parents)
Thanks to these musicians for making their work available for use:
Borrtex: Faith, Style,
Kai Engel: Pericuum, Morbid Imagination,
Lee Rosevere: Visualizations