hope amidst a theological storm
September 13, 2007
In the midst of the storms surrounding the faculty of theology at Pretoria, especially from the Dutch Reformed Church, most of the Dutch Reformed students from the fifth year group went camping these past few days. That was the reason for not blogging since last week.
Although the idea of simply going on a camp has been lying around for a while now, we never got around to it. Then one evening myself and one of the other students were working on a class presentation, when I told her that we should go camping. We quickly found a date which could suit most people, which is quite difficult at the moment, since many are already working etc.
The next day we told the class, and I started to plan something to together with still another of the students. We are a very small class, 18 people in total, of whom 13/14 are from the Dutch Reformed Church. The initial idea was to make the camp ecumenical, but in the end it was just the DRC people pitching.
We planned the whole camp around stories and dreams. Sharing our stories, where we came from, our journey the past five years, and dreams for the future. For many, it was the first time in five years that we heard the stories. Although we know each other, we just never heard much of what was said. And we actually listened! The first few people sharing didn’t say that much, but by the fifth person, we took about 30 minutes per person. 30 Minutes where everyone is just listening to you, asking you question about your life. And some of the stories went on for about 45 minutes!
While everyone is arguing, we simply talked, really listened. By the first night one of us prayed, thanking God that we can sit around one fire talking, although we are sitting around different fires. To make as if we have no differences would be a lie, and the two of us who planned the camp told them beforehand that we should have a save place of saying what we want to say, without fearing those who might differ. We are still sitting around different fires, but at least now we have a little bit of a better idea where everyone is coming from.
It seems like everyone came back really positive about what happened, and hopefully we can tell our story, a story of hope for a church struggling to find common ground. Common ground can only be found if you really really listen!