Accompaniment narrative discussion summary

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2013 Summer Missionary Conference


Group 1:

  • “Sin against origin”

  • Differentiation: Separation of feelings, thoughts, moods

  • Look at origin stories and ask, “Who am I in light of my narrative and the others?” We don’t need to be limited to what stories say we are.

  • Global Church vs. Global Mission

  • Language seems to imply mutuality instead of an active imperative.

  • Walking the wrong way in the Road to Emmaus story

  • Body remembers

  • How to accompany in seeing and identifying

  • How to enter into a conversation w/ another community

  • Thinking about how little we think about origin/destination narrative

  • The name “missionary” is problematic

  • Not enough dissonance from missionary

  • We change our language, but forget to ask our companions how they see it

  • Challenge of accompaniment where there is such a large power dynamic

Group 2:

  • Salvation as creation healed changes everything

  • Original sin – sin against our origin

  • Salvation

  • FROM forgiveness of sin, individualistic, eternity

  • Communal

  • Holistic healing

  • Now

  • Concrete

Origin stories can be reinvented; Therapists help people rewrite their stories.

Group 3:
Accompaniment (we/they) is a journey. The ones who think they’ve got it are the ones who stumble the most.

  • Barbara Rossing – The stranger walking with people in the wrong direction

  • The couple ending service in Papua New Guinea [Rod Nordby and Nancy Anderson] talk of the country being a patriarchal society, challenging feminism in them.

  • Ending service means that they are not alone, people walking with them in it.

  • Puerto Rican origin statue, (saw the statue at first, but never analyzed it) – The fountain, mixture of 3 races and how they joined the journey in Puerto Rico. The history of terrible violence, first to the Indians, then bringing Africans in as slaves. Europeans benefitted from oppressing others.

  • Accompaniment as a work-in-progress, not a fixed document handed down.

  • Walking alongside

  • One sees himself in Central African Republic almost as “neo-colonials” … very rich, two cars

  • End of service from Tanzania: accompaniment works for “me” until it comes to money. The understanding of what money is for, and how it is to be used! The taking from one source (starving it) to do something else, if that section had a crisis.

Group 4:

  • Image of apple

  • Jesus walking with disciples in wrong direction

Group 5:

  • Walking in circles

  • Jesus walking in the wrong direction

  • Stories of the mind

  • Where is the name?

  • Metanarrative

  • What is building the apple story now?

Group 6:

  • Orientation & Rafael’s conversation

  • 99 and the 1 lost sheep

  • Emphasis: the 99 were not whole without the one

  • Shifted view on the 99, perception

  • We need them

  • We are missing something, they enrich us

  • Accompaniment on the condition that our companions follow our guidelines, our proposal process vs. following our companions on the wrong path as Jesus did

  • Translation of eternal life as life that lasts vs. the destruction narrative

  • Greek meaning of saved – means saved and healing

  • Salvation is more of a destination in the after-life, but a process of healing (not just emotionally, but physically, of the earth, our relationships)

  • As the stereotypical oppressor (white straight male), what is my role in accompaniment? How can accompaniment be played out by me (network, research, sharing)?

Group 1:

  • Origin/destination impact how you see the world/church, if not make you aware of the narratives of others, or maybe core issues that we talk about differently

  • Attitude changing

  • Attitude is everything – ATTITUDE = 100%

  • Need an attitude of humility and respect

  • Can’t just accompany people, you want impact

  • Sounds passive at times

  • Where we find our identity impacts accompaniment

  • Origin/destination is core to what we do

  • Origin impacts how you address problems/work rewards to goal

  • We have to ask if we have the same origin narrative, if not…are they compatible?

  • Origin/destination narratives serve as motivation

  • We’ll never be on the same page, find how to learn to live and work together

  • It’s challenging to hear the silenced voices

  • Learn from other people and change, don’t see people as objects

  • Not cultural competency, to lean cultural humility

  • Ability to learn openness

Group 2:

  • Salvation – Understanding: WOW!

  • Was disconnect…

  • Makes you enlarge your worldview, take responsibility

  • From individualistic  communal

  • Want more stories of how God is working

  • Swahili: “Bega Kwa Bega” – “Shoulder to Shoulder”

We’re already doing it!

Group 3:

  • People are stuck in their narratives

  • Tanzania in 14 years has experienced what people of color experience here in USA

  • Other people assign to “her,” “her” own narrative

  • “She” was seen as rich

  • (Yes they do and left)

  • You can break the assigned narrative only with your family circle, not more than that

  • Toni talked of the resemblance she shared with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, and her experience in Liberia

  • Everyone thinking she is related to the president

  • Toni was made to show war amputees that you can lead a productive life

  • Colonialism and slavery

  • Desert wanderings

  • No food

  • Give us food to eat

Destination should be that we get there on our own two feet. The rich uncle has died.

Group 4:

  • For me, accompaniment has always been about narratives

  • Relationship precedes the telling of narratives

  • Accompaniment precedes these narratives

  • Accompaniment is the relationship, origin and destination narratives are the glasses/filters that impact how we treat…

  • Origin and destination narratives are different for everyone and impact how we enter into relationships

  • Hard not to think very specifically of our location where narratives are very short-term

  • Not clear what will happen within two years

  • Maybe we have something to learn from that

  • There are some things that we cannot share – stories that the other will never understand

  • Stories, memories, history, customs

  • Perception in the U.S. that we have responsibility to intervene

Group 5:

  • Filter…

  • Encourage a vision

  • Narrative  destination not too far ahead

  • Always a part…

  • Relationship…

  • Shape life….

Group 6:

  • Maybe no, never thought about how the world came to be and how that influences approach to accompaniment

  • Origin narrative as our background which gives us a cognitive dissonance in our perceptions

  • Approach to accompaniment may hinder or enrich our discourse, action, perspectives

Does it impact perception?

 Yes.

  • Destination narratives encourage good behavior, serving the earth/people

  • We may not have to adopt each other’s narrative, but can still walk together in the wrong path

  • Cannot separate cosmic from personal; macro shapes micro

  • From a U.S. perspective, our relationship with God is very individualistic (God loves me, chose me), but God loves all, even those that have not found him

  • Destination – concentration, if you just find those few isolated people that have not found God, the last components of our path on this earth will fall together

  • But how do you accompany in other matters: environment, society…

  • If we are walking in accompaniment, are we Jesus? Do we have the answers? Are they walking in Jesus’ path? Is Jesus walking alongside us?

  • Japanese integration/interpretation:

  • Even when you don’t want to follow their path, there is something to learn to enrich culture, faith, ideas

  • The other way may not be wrong, but different

Group 1:

  • Openness to hear others’ stories and be questioned/challenged

  • Cultural humility

  • Truly respect others

  • Owning one’s story/awareness of our own story

  • Figure out how to live, be vulnerable (without hiding who you are)

Why does being a Pastor in the U.S. have such a stigma?

Group 2:

  • Post-colonial critique

  • But we need to expand beyond accompaniment

  • Urgency

  • Origin narrative

  • That all are precious children of God

  • Each individual is important

  • Americans need to hear more communal, they are too individualistic

  • Need to have sense of transition

  • Accompaniment doesn’t emphasize the transforming part

  • Transformation: Real world hunger, poverty, justice

  • Action in the HERE and NOW

Local churches still have…..

Group 3:
Our group says that we hold on to God as our leader. We do not know what the destination is.

Group 4:

  • Narrative Theology in pastoral care

Group 5:
What hangs from your rear view mirror or your refrigerator door?
Group 6:

  • When getting to know someone, language is a huge component

  • Having little/insufficient knowledge of language…it is hard to have these deeper conversations

Before: Went on mission thinking our western medical knowledge is what they need, want to hear. Was I imposing? Invited?

Now: Wait for invitation, listening to their concerns, what they are concerned with.

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