HomeNewsEastern CapeJoin the ‘storytelling revolution’ – and bring healing in our land

Join the ‘storytelling revolution’ – and bring healing in our land

 
storytelling revolution

Pastor Russell Viljoen (at head of table) leading a breakaway group on healing and reconciliation at the Carmel retreat last week. The writer of this article, Trevor Jennings of Transformation Christian Network is on the right.

Last week a group of 34 senior church leaders from all the mainline and large independent churches of Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Despatch) spent three days at Carmel Retreat Centre near George, unpacking racism, privilege and prejudice.

The leadership group felt it should get its house in order before it embarked on a citywide healing and reconciliation initiative.

The “What’s your Story” workshop was conducted by facilitators from Heartlines, a Johannesburg based “centre for values promotion”. The objective of the workshop was to build understanding, trust and reconciliation through a sharing of our stories. It deals with taking storytelling into your family, workplace, schools, churches, campus and communities.

Not talking about the real issues
Black and white South Africans are not talking to each other about the real issues on the ground. They are becoming more and more frustrated as a number of desperate radical politicians kick us around like a racial rugby ball.

Max du Preez and FW de Klerk tell us that most whites are unaware of the road our black brothers and sisters had to travel from 1652 to 1994 and just don’t know how to start unpacking the past.

Blacks appear to think that whites are in denial and are reluctant to deal with the past or embrace the new South Africa.

Whites on the other hand, like RW Johnson, think that the current government has destroyed 14 sectors of our economy. My problem is why people get confused and paint all black people as if the belong to the same party.

A storytelling revolution
The NM Bay Church Leadership have decided to partner with Heartlines in launching a “storytelling revolution”. The objective is to invite three million South Africans to start sharing their stories.

White and black folk don’t appear to know what to say to each other. The “What’s your story” approach gets people talking to each other. It is the old story about you know my name but you don’t know my story.

Carmel gave us an opportunity to listen to each other, realign our beliefs to what others really think. We learnt that not everyone is looking for a handout but would rather that we walked side by side in tackling the pain of the past, present and possible future of inequality, unemployment and poverty.

The church leaders then focused on how best the church could play an effective role in the following five areas:

  • Healing and reconciliation — healing the past, and engaging the challenge of gender, ethnicity and race;
  • Restoration of the family fabric — facing up to the tattered family fabric which has been caused by the impact of transition of especially the African family life, in order to nestle a reconciled existence for future generations;
  • The destruction of poverty and inequality, addressing the need to reverse poverty and inequality in order to reconcile the yearnings of marginalised poor people with the fortunes of the country;
  • Economic transformation — dealing with the long-standing need for economic transformation and identifying the trade-offs necessary to address the fundamentals that result in a reconciled economic dispensation;
  • Anchoring democracy where corruption, maladministration and the decline of trust in public institutions is interrogated to promote a transparent and functional democracy.

The Church should play a leading role
We are of the view that the Church either plays a leading role in facing these challenges, encourages all its members, wherever they find themselves in the workplace, to participate in being part of the solution, or some desperate politicians will continue to try and win election points by seeing who can be the most radical or who can kick the racism ball the hardest.

Let’s not leave everything in the hands of the radical politicians!

We invite you to join the “storytelling revolution” now! Let’s start healing our land by listening to each other’s stories. Many may be surprised that we have the same goals for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. We need to “show” each other that we do care, we are prepared to walk together.

 
 

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4 Comments

  1. Zululander says:

    I am struggling to understand some of the points made.
    1. Healing and reconciliation — healing the past, and engaging the challenge of gender, ethnicity and race;
    Since the dawn of man, man had been abused by man. Just one example are the Israelite’s under many years of Roman occupation. The Lord Jesus made 2 comments about that. Pray for the leaders and pay your taxes. We got to stop harping on the past other than to ask God to forgive us all for our sin. ALL of us for ALL our sin and the sins of our forefathers. Our preoccupation of apartheid sin is political. EVERYONE needs to confess ALL sin.

    2. Restoration of the family fabric — facing up to the tattered family fabric which has been caused by the impact of transition of especially the African family life, in order to nestle a reconciled existence for future generations;
    3. The destruction of poverty and inequality, addressing the need to reverse poverty and inequality in order to reconcile the yearnings of marginalised poor people with the fortunes of the country;
    4.Economic transformation — dealing with the long-standing need for economic transformation and identifying the trade-offs necessary to address the fundamentals that result in a reconciled economic dispensation;
    These 3 points are the same. In every nation since the dawn of man there has been inequality, marginalized and destruction of property. We’re taking our que from the politi cians, not from the bible. ALL have sinned, ALL need to repent of ALL sin. Equality of property, economic and any other equality other than salvation and discipleship, will not bring peace, reconciliation, understanding or anything lasting, never mind eternal.
    Consider a church reopened in Mosul after years of being refugees in a disgusting camp. Folk back in their town which is a disaster, refusing to be called the persecuted church and full of the joy and peace of the Lord.
    The Lord Jesus said “come to me all ye who labour and are heavy laden……….. and you will find rest for your souls”. Thats the greatest rest anyone can find.

    Anchoring democracy where corruption, maladministration and the decline of trust in public institutions is interrogated to promote a transparent and functional democracy.
    Yes we must pray for just government. Democracy is as good an answer as socialism or communism or any other ism. What we need is a godly leader and even a dictatorship will be wonderful. It’s not the system, it’s the person/people leading it.

  2. D.N.Stirk says:

    We must all realize,no matter our race,that we are all South African’s with hopes and aspirations.Some have been privileged to have had more secure backgrounds. The first thing we must all accept is that Almighty God ( Father,Son, and Holy Spirit) is the Creator of all seen and unseen,and that we are beholden to Him for everything. We therefore denounce all fetishes and unholy practices that pertain to the occult.Secondly we must all accept that we belong to one country,and that our past history is our heritage.The success and failure of the past must be used as a pointer and guide to the future.Education is the foundation to the future,as well as honest endeavour. Corruption in all spheres,economic and governmental,cannot be accepted.All adults have the vote and must realize which party is honestly serious about the future of our beloved country.There is no place for petty grievances,and unholy culture -this remains to the conscience of the individual to discover with God’s help.Put simply this is the crux to our future.Beating about the bush,and apologetic issues are a veneer that is soon forgotten. Our actions speak the loudest.Shalom to all.

  3. Patsy Fulton says:

    I love the concept. We all have a story, like it or not, when there is a platform to tell that story, then it is not hidden and festering in your heart. We dont have to agree with each other we need to accept one another

  4. Rev. Carole Meyer says:

    The two main principles are with respect and courtesy. These must be instilled from a young age, as there can be no progress without these. I think this was what the movie ‘Beyond the River”s main message was. May the story-telling initiative and sharing bring blessings and understanding.