Being able to move forward, finding common ground, despite differences. Rev Dr Sivin Kit, serving with the Lutheran World Federation as the Programme Executive for Public Theology and Interreligious Relations, reflects on the gathering “Keeping our humanity – for we were strangers once” held in Malmö end January.
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– There are a few things that comes to my mind right now. First is that there is an important European focus, that provides a context and a frame for us to discuss, so it is not talking generalities.
Secondly, I think it is nice to be in the city of Malmö. It provides us a sense of history, in connectedness with what happend in 2015. That connects us with migration, refugee concerns, response and so on. So, I think that was very helpful.
And of course, to be in a gathering, with about 70 people, that are from different backgrounds. Stakeholders from youth to policymakers, to leaders, or ecumenical or interreligious relations, like me, as well as those who are migrants themselves, has been very enriching.
– We went through a very helpful process to move from looking at the past, reflecting the present and being able to imagine the future and to commit to some action steps together.
I feel energized, because, in spite of the tiring work many people have been engaged in, people on the ground, like practioners, we are really faced with challenges like criminalization of solidarity, those who have really faced the pressures from public, dissatisfaction with what they are doing or misunderstanding. But yet, there is a sense of hopefullness towards the future that is energizing.
It is not really about being pessimistic or over optimistic. I kind of joke about it. I say: Maybe it’s about being a “hope-timist”, a hopetimist rather than pessimist och optimist.
– For my group we really focused on solidarity as the fuel, the glue, the bond, and that we have here. And that is why we said we will choose to stand with others.
The bottom moment will be … I think there are times where we are a bit pre-occupied with our own ways of looking or interpreting. The words that we use of ideas that we have.
I think that is fine, but there may be moments where we are a bit impatient. We want others to move or to think in the same way as we do. So, I wouldn’t say that it is bad, but there are moments when you say: Ah, can we learn to put ourselves in another persons shoes? Even if it is someone who disagrees with us. Or can we try to figure out what they really mean.
But the high moment for me is when we were able to move forward, in spite of this, and say: No, let’s find a way where we can have common ground. What are some feasible actions that we can do?