MotherTongues: Wear Words, Celebrate Cultures

about words, languages, cultures, travel

A Reconciliation Journey February 16, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michelle @ 4:33 pm

We recently spoke about Reconciliation at church. You may have heard of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. Here is my witness to reconciliation that I shared last Sunday:

My story of reconciliation is one that happened inside of me. According to Wikipedia: one definition of reconciliation is restoring mutual respect between individuals from different cultural backgrounds.

Growing up in SA, not far from Belhar, I was brought up with fears: Be afraid of the black danger, red/communism danger, Catholic danger… I had preconceived ideas about people who are different than me.

About 4 years ago, I read a book called The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew– Three Women Search for Understanding. It is a story of 3 women getting together to write a children’s book that shows the similarities in their faiths, but their journey takes a different turn and they start to get together regularly to have conversations about what they each believe. Over time, each woman becomes stronger in her own faith.

In the end of the book, they give advice on how to start a Faith Club. So here in Holland, I became part of a Faith Club. We are Muslim, Ba’hai, Evangelical and me. We come from different countries. We look different. We believe differently.

But just as in the book, I can say that interfaith dialogue made me grow in my own faith. It made me reflect on why I believe certain things. A couple of the women had babies recently, and as we celebrated new life, we spoke about different traditions surrounding the birth of a baby, and other celebrations while growing up. We come from different traditions, but we became friends.

My story of reconciliation happened inside of me, so that I now don’t see danger when people don’t believe the same as I do, or if they don’t look like I do. And my hope is that my children will not grow up with a fear of the other.


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