“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story… Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Danger of a Single Story We often want to find the “one” story about a given thing, don’t we? We embrace the narratives that fit with our own perceptions of things, and other voices go unheard. We have our favorite authors, social media feeds, storytellers, and theologians. We hear so often from one perspective that we begin to believe it is the only (valid) perspective. So when we happen upon someone telling a different story (sometimes with the same characters and setting!), it can be jarring—or we may simply ignore it altogether, choosing to stay in the story we have trusted. What might it look like for you (yes you) to choose to listen to a story from a voice you normally wouldn’t tune into? To hear the truth of someone’s experience, even if they come from a different (cultural, political, racial, ethnic, theological, etc.) perspective? To allow your worldview to get a few little holes poked in it (rather than listening with a view to poke holes in the “other"s!), as you discover an entirely different narrative than the one you had grown so familiar with? It doesn’t need to be a treatise about a particular ideology. Consider reading a novel written by someone very different from you in some way. Consider pausing to listen to the voice of a person who is marginalized in some way (race, gender, sexuality, housing status, etc) in your own community. Let them tell you their story, the way they see it. And just listen. Let their story stand, and let yourself open to what it is teaching your soul. Listen to the “other” with God.

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2022-10-12 14:26:01 UTC