Simple Spirituality

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Chris Heuertz believes that any true path to spiritual sight ought to be simple.

While he's not a contemplative and hardly a mystic, Chris has found, in the Bible and in his work with impoverished people, evidence of a simple spirituality.

This way of humility, community, simplicity, submission and brokenness will help you see—no matter how dark things get.

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Simple Spirituality: Learning to See God in a Broken World

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Chris Heuertz believes that any true path to spiritual sight ought to be simple.

While he's not a contemplative and hardly a mystic, Chris has found, in the Bible and in his work with impoverished people, evidence of a simple spirituality.

This way of humility, community, simplicity, submission and brokenness will help you see—no matter how dark things get.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Mark Petersen
"Simple Spirituality ambushed me through stories about Chris Heuertz's vulnerable friends—harsh vignettes that reduced me to tears. They caused me to reflect upon the consecration of my own spiritual journey and my readiness to enter into deeper relationships with those who Jesus wants to love so intensely through the church."
Stephen A. Seamands
"There's no doubt about it: Chris Heuertz has found Jesus among the poorest of the poor—a Jesus who calls us to humility, community, simplicity, submission and brokenness. Throughout Simple Spirituality, as he shares his experiences from around the globe, he challenges and inspires us all to seek Jesus and follow him with renewed passion and integrity. Read it and be transformed."
Scott A. Bessenecker
"For those of us in the affluent West, spirituality has become muddled by materialism and complicated by our frenetic pace of life. Chris Heuertz helps to unwind the suffocating insulation that cocoons us and stunts our spiritual growth. From his amazing array of experiences among the poor, Chris has been educated in the seminary of the slums. In this deep but accessible work, he draws us alongside the prostitutes, the dying, the disabled and the beggars to help us learn what he has learned—that sitting so close to the heart of God, the poor have the proximity and perspective to teach us the art of simple spirituality."
Emmanuel Katongole
"Chris Heuertz's ability to weave real-life stories with scriptural and theological reflection makes this a very engaging and refreshing book. At a time when the gap between the poor and rich continues to grow, Chris reminds us that what the gospel commands us to do is not so much to do things for the poor, but to become friends, indeed sit at the same table, with the poor. What makes such a duty possible, even delightful, are such gifts as humility, community, simplicity, submission and brokenness—simple spirituality, he calls it!"
Jayakumar Christian
"Simple Spirituality brings together three critical transforming themes—simplicity, spirituality and a broken world—and captures the profoundness of them through very simple real-life narratives. The book not only meets a critical need in the mission world but raises critical questions for those working among the poor and the oppressed to grapple with. Chris and his wife, Phileena, have been a blessing—people of passion and simplicity. I am sure readers would be blessed."
Roger Parrott
"When Chris Heuertz speaks, I always listen carefully."
Norman G. Wilson
"I have had my fill of spiritual devotional books and had pretty much decided not to pick up another one. Too many clones filled with formulas and occasionally sprinkled with quotes from the Bible. Most of the authors seem to be groping for a five-minute magical escape from life in the contemporary world. But Simple Spirituality caught my attention and drew me in. Instead of prescribing answers, Chris tells us about his deepest struggles and how God gives him release and victory through the disciplines of humility, community, simplicity, submission and brokenness. His narrative is seasoned with poignant stories about his friends, and his wholehearted obedience to God authenticates his message."
Walter Brueggemann
"Chris Heuertz has written a thoughtful, compelling invitation to think, trust and act more deeply in faith. He is aware of the enormous challenges we face and of the thickness of anxiety that can undermine faith. In the midst of that, he keeps his head clear, his heart focused and his words accessible. This book will be a source of strength and encouragement among those who are serious about 'following.'"
Jean Vanier
"This is a challenging and appealing book. It reveals the part of love to Jesus and of Jesus—presence to the poor, the broken and the vulnerable. Chris has a gentle and realistic way of showing that this path which can appear as austere, suffering and insecure is tempered, rendered human and Christian and even enjoyable through meetings of love and of tenderness, which heal us, liberate us, give us strength and new life."
Stuart Erny
"Chris offers a compelling invitation to a spirituality centered in the life, teaching and person of Jesus—an invitation that is both threatening and liberating, challenging and invigorating; and one that, in the end, is difficult to dismiss by anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus."
Christine D. Pohl
"Through his personal vulnerability, tender insights and unflinching truthfulness, Chris Heuertz invites readers to see, love and live more fully. Simple Spirituality is a compelling book with an important message."
Jonathan B. Edwards
This is the book I have been searching for. I will read it, absorb it, and then send a copy to all of our member care people. It is not a "how to" book on spiritual disciplines, but it gets to the heart of spirituality. It will become a central text for our spiritual formation conferences.
John O'Hara (
Huertz leaves no luxury in this brief but powerful volume - what he is proposing is nothing short of a lifestyle transformation by way of loving and serving the poor and marginalized. If Huertz is successful at anything with this book, it's the gaping hole he puts in the tendency for Christians to have a merely devotional relationship with God and an ideological relationship with the world outside our comfort zones. I recommend it to anyone who is, in the words of Shane Claiborne in his endorsement, "ready to see."
Frank Mills
Don't read Simple Spirituality if you don't want to be convicted. Being a Christian, according to Heuertz, is about ministry to the broken; not merely to a broken world, but to those who are hurting, vulnerable and broken in the world. Simple Spirituality will make us uncomfrotable with our materialistic Christian ways.
Dustin Nelson
Heuertz is simply an amazing guy with amazing stories about his life.
Young Anabaptist Radicals
Heuertz wrote a vulnerable book, one that puts his heart on display, and I couldn't help but want to let his words do work on my soul—but that takes more time. Heuertz doesn't claim to offer any secrets to spiritual success. Instead, he shares what God is teaching him through his friends, who happen to be the poorest of the poor.
Chris Keller
Heuertz has an intimate knowledge of serving the poor and a deep hinger for spiritual asceticism, and his work provides a needed guide for the next generation of Christians who desire full service toward the work of God in both the immanent and trascendent realms.
all the small things blog
Chris understandable resists a formulaic, step-by-step spiritual formation in his presentation. Instead, his probing questions and personal stories are more like signposts on a lifelong journey; they let us know which direction on the path to take. Chris outlines a way of following Jesus that is paradoxically self-annihilating and liberating, impossible yet within reach.
The Link Between
With deep gentleness, Heuertz uses the brokenness of the world as a springboard for spiritual vitality. Using what he calls the "Five Stones of Brokenness," he challenges those of us who live in plenty to seek a fuller faith by reconsidering how we might "live more simply so others may simply live." (Ghandi)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830836215
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2012
  • Pages: 162
  • Sales rank: 1,239,610
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher L. Heuertz is founding partner of Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism, which exists to nurture the integral connection between Christian spirituality and activism. He and his wife Phileena Heuertz spent nearly twenty years traveling to over seventy countries working for women and children victimized by human traffickers in the commercial sex industry with Word Made Flesh, an organization that serves Jesus among the poorest of the world's poor and for which Chris served as International Director.

Heuertz began his journey with social justice ministry in 1993, when he volunteered for several months in Kolkata, India, with Mother Theresa and the Missionaries of Charity. Heuertz married Phileena in 1996 they moved from India to Omaha, Nebraska, the headquarters of WMF where they now live. They then founded Gravity in 2012 to support the development of Christian consciousness by making contemplative practice accessible to individuals, communities and organizations who engage the challenging social justice perils of our time.

Heuertz has shared his knowledge and experience with Christian culture at large through his books Simple Spirituality and Friendship at the Margins, coauthored with Christine Pohl. He has also been asked to speak at numerous conferences including Catalyst, Urban Youth Workers Institute, Passion, and Faith, Film and Justice. He has participated with Lausanne, Urbana, and To Write Love on Her Arms. Heuertz has written articles for Christianity Today, The Other Journal, and Lausanne World Pulse. In addition to his public speaking and writing, Heuertz is an ordained minister through the Association of Evangelical Churches and Ministries and an adjunct professor at Lakeview Seminary in Chennai.

Shane Claiborne is a preacher, writer and lover of Jesus. He attended Eastern University, where he studied sociology and youth ministry. Claiborne is cofounder of The Simple Way and is currently a part of The Alternative Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He serves on the board of the Christian Community Development Association. He is the author of The Irresistible Revolution and coauthor of Jesus for President. Catch up with him at

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Shane Claiborne
Introduction: On Sight, Spirituality and Stones
1. Humility
2. Community
3. Simplicity
4. Submission
5. Brokenness

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2008

    Heuertz makes simple sense of profound ideas...

    For some (probably complex) reason, serving Jesus among those who are poor (or, as Heuertz¿ better phrases it, ¿[people] who happen to be poor¿) has been somewhat of a distant cousin of Christian spirituality less a profoundly beautiful mode of worship and more something one feels they must do, despite the clear posture of worship Jesus, himself, embodied in bringing the good news to the poor. Thankfully, Heuertz¿s thoughtful examination of service among those who are poor defines the paradigm shift that must occur in our spirituality ¿ a shift marked by a drastically broadened expression and experience of Christian spirituality in the midst of a suffering world ¿ a shift which prophetically urges us away from our common, limited perspective of serving the poor fortified in obligation, toward a new, life-giving reality rich in relationship and much fuller in form as the body of Christ. Through an array of craftfully woven together reflections surrounding his experiences among his international community, Heuertz remarkably helps us make simple sense of this necessary shift. He shows us that ¿it is in our intimate relationships with... our friends who happen to be poor, that our tainted views of God are transformed.¿ Mysteriously, it is within this context of being ¿exposed to the suffering of neighbors who are poor [that] our own poverty comes more clearly into view¿, and where we come in closer contact with the indispensable gifts of humility, community, simplicity, submission, and brokenness. Heuertz¿s voice is a gift given to remind us of one of God¿s simple truths: it is among those who are poor that not only can He be served, but found.

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