3/10/2019 Cali, Colombia
“Can you tell us what your sharing’s are about?” Ask my Nazarene church friend Juan and his mother Norha.
“I focus my sharing on healing the deep divide that is in Colombia today. One side supports the peace accords and the other opposes them. My focus comes out the book “I’m Right and You’re an Idiot.” Both sides are thinking this of the other and not talking to each other. That is very similar to what is happening in the USA, for Trump and against Trump.”
“I will begin by sharing my experience of trying to do this myself. Then I will ask the listeners to share their experience of conversation with the other side. I see this as a way of encouraging each other to talk across the wall separating them. And thus to plant seeds for a more kindly Colombian society.“
“That is a real challenge as we all know today here in Colombia,” said Norha. She added, “Juan, it would be great to have Jim share with Enrique’s Baptist pastors who support his 42 year drug addiction program.
(2 days later Juan told me) “Enrique said he would like to meet with you before setting up a time for you to talk.”
Enrique started, “I have been a left wing activist a long time. I could not believe it when my wife said she had voted for the right wing Duque who is trying to undermine the peace agreement. Guess we just have to accept some things. Life is a challenge.” added Enrique.
(3 days later with the pastors) I began with the usual introduction and a few of my experiences sharing’s across the aisle and then I ask them to articulate their experiences.”
And at that point people just began to share their experiences and ideas and they didn’t stop for over an hour later. Out of about 15 all but 2 shared at least 2 minutes. They often directed their remarks to each other rather than me. Something I hoped they would do as my goal is that they would do most of the talking.
A woman pastor who works with war victims remarked, “I have come to believe no matter what religion even Buddhist we all worship the same God.” I added, “Once when as a part of CPT we met some FARC soldiers’, and when we prayed the “Our father” with them. One of the soldiers broke down crying when we got to the part forgive us our sins. Deep down he believed in God.”
Pray these seeds will be fruiting justice and peace and helping to end the walls that divide Colombians today.