Wednesday, 25 May 2011

negotiating differences

so i spent the day in bed yesterday, nursing a sore throat. managed to get through work today. after work, i'm starting to feel paralysed by the number of things i have to do. there's so much that i don't know where to start.

i went with a couple of waikato interfaith council members to talk to a university class. they were 4th year students studying communications, and it was more of a conversation than a lecture, around issues of working across faiths and cultures.

one interesting question was around the fact that people from different religions will invariably have differences, and that will always be a barrier to getting along. but this is the beauty of diversity: it teaches you to live with difference. my closest friend in my childhood was of the hindu faith (there weren't any muslims of my age around to be friends with anyway), and so i learnt how to negotiate that path very early on.

it's a matter of respecting and valuing the person, and accepting them as a whole package. we never had religious debates, though we would explain bits and pieces about our respective faiths with each other. you just learn to get along, really. it's very similar to the situation i'm in with one of the NGOs i volunteer with. i'm on the board with a sitting national MP, and though i hate absolutely everything he stands for, on this particular board we end up on the same side of every issue. i have to respect his experience and what he brings to the table, even if i can't respect his politics!

some links: i posted at the hand mirror yesterday on some parenting research reported in the fairfax papers, and today about some developments in saudi arabia. also, here are some links to a couple of muslim women's blogs that i've been directed to.


Deborah said...

I think we need to realise that there is no final point of happy ever after, but an on-going series of negotations and renegotiations, gaining understanding and losing it and reworking it, making compromises that work, then making them again as they start to break down, and remaking them, in an endless iterative process of living together.

stargazer said...

so true. but there also has to be a willingness to take that first step, and to realise that difference can be managed if there's respect & goodwill.

Anonymous said...

Except for the homophobes and racists. I hope one day they will just be gone. And I will never negotiate with them.