Getting down to specifics about what we might look like, what we might gain (and what we might lose) if we opened ourselves to welcome greater diversity.
More than a bit curious now?
Perhaps our curiosity has awakened a deeper interest in welcoming more and different folk into our lives and communities. Or perhaps the changes in our neighbourhood are so clear we have already zoomed way past simple curiosity. Or maybe prayer and reflection has led us to intentionally want to cultivate greater openness. Whatever the route, we may want to begin to seriously consider changing. The experience of those who have travelled through these changes tells us that it is not as simple or straightforward as it might seem. The thing about people who may look different and perhaps talk different, they often think and feel different too. They may have different values, family patterns, worship styles, ways of communicating.
This second series of podcasts/training resources are intended to equip faith communities, groups or individuals who are thinking about opening to difference, drawing on the experience of those who have gone through this process. It will provide ways of thinking, tools and stories to empower and encourage folk so they can seriously consider moving toward greater inclusion. This will, we hope, reduce some of the stress and tension that can accompany simply jumping in.
What could we look like? Following our time of sheltering in, once more will come a time for opening out – and we will need to decide how to open out, and to whom we want to be open. Same old? Or all?
This is the first in our considering series, where we dig deeper, get into more specifics. This episode again invites your imagination, but focuses specifically on what your community of faith could look like if you intentionally opened to welcome all – what could you lose? What might you gain? We look at how different communities have faced this challenge. Also we look at the different Levels of Welcome we can offer – a simple tool that can help our minds visualize possibilities.
Rebooting our minds (and faith communities!)
When our computers stop doing the things we want them to, we reboot the system. How can we reboot our thinking? Our relationships? Our churches? Our brains naturally perceive anything ‘different’ as a potential threat – so how can we help our brains adapt? This episode helps us prepare by understanding how privilege works & how it limits us, as well as what helps people’s minds open out.
At this time (April 2020) our faith communities are half-way into reboot (powered down),. When they re-open, we can open ourselves to welcome those who have not found a place among us. The external shut-down could be a first step in a social and spiritual reboot!
Bricks, Sandals & Leeks. This episode focuses specifically on the change journey itself.. Though our brains are hard-wired to resist change, we have a remarkable ability to change, to adapt – and to do so quickly. The church, often adventure-adverse has risen to the challenge in these last few weeks – providing new, creative ways for folk to be community together. Why can we do it, if not easily, at least effectively at times, when at other times change can be so difficult. Here we look at how we, as humans in community, change. Understanding how we change can empower us with both wisdom and courage as we re-create our communities of faith in the future.
That’s how the light gets in.
In this episode we explore the vital role of vulnerability in opening ourselves to folk with different cultural backgrounds. Humility and giving up control are key factors when a community wants to welcome newcomers – but how do we do that? Perhaps by leading out of our own insufficiency rather than sufficiency?
Much of this episode is based on insights from a conversation with Damber Khadka, a brilliant leader in the Nepali church in Canada. Damber was lay minister and leader of the Nepali-Bhutanese community at Knox Winnipeg. As with many immigrants, his credentials were not recognized here, so he has needed to redo his theological education. Damber was asked, from his perspective as an immigrant, not raised within the western church, what makes a church intercultural, what is it that is needed if a church here is to fully open itself to folk who are different. His answer may well surprise you!
The Extra podcasts are designed primarily for leaders wishing to use the Open Out podcasts in groups – but also for anyone wishing more info on a particular theme. More technical & less polished. During the Covid crisis, these have been put on hold. A new series of Extras will be produced, once we can gather again in our churches.