Chapter 3

Chapter Summary

You do not set out on the journey of reconciliation on your own; you have companions with you. However, this can be where the challenges begin. The people you walk with on this journey are not chosen by you and they can be very different to those you would pick to be your friends. They may not be the people you would choose to travel with or they may not want to travel with you. This means we all have to cross cultural barriers. Those who took part in the Continuing Indaba pilot conversations found they had to travel with people who were very different to them. They needed to see the world through the eyes of their companions. You have the opportunity to do the same in your context. It was no different for Jesus and his companions who walked through Jewish, Samaritan, and gentile Palestine. This is illustrated by the conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well in John 4. As they speak they unpack cultural perceptions eventually focusing on the issue of where to worship – the issue that divided their communities. Jesus was challenged to locate the place of worship. His response to redefine the question and say true worship was not about place but ‘Spirit and truth.’ He resisted the temptation to defend his party line without minimalising the differences and in doing so displayed the value of diversity. Forming a journeying community requires us to leave the comfort of our own culture and enter the safe place of others. This takes time and commitment. Many parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of New York took the time to tread this path, breaking all kinds of practical and emotional constraints to spend weekends with one another. Wealthy and poor people from urban and rural areas stayed in one another’s homes and worshipped in one another’s churches. The effect was transformational for individuals and for the diocese. It moved people to move from careful politeness into direct personal relationships.

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