The reunion was fantastic.
It was really nice to get to know this group of people connected by family history. My husband’s family immigrated from Holland after WW2. In Holland, some were involved in the resistance movement and had harrowing tales. There are also fun stories of the sisters biking to other towns, playing pranks, and then racing back before being caught. The family legacy of hard work, devotion to what they see as right, and the ability to enjoy life has been carried on.
We went kayaking on a beautiful Sunday morning with the heretic branch of the family. The lake was quiet except for a neighboring church camp of Somalian Pentecostals who gave the weekend a loud and lively soundtrack from their talented musicians.
I did lead a devotional. This article was my guide: http://www.psmag.com/politics/why-even-your-best-arguments-never-work-64910/
A neighbour also gave me some advice based on encounters with her more fundamentalist Buddhist relatives:
“They won’t listen if you point out how they are wrong or how you disagree. Lie if you have to but make them feel respected.”
I didn’t have to lie but I hope everyone felt respected.
We started out with Psalm 133:1 and talked about what we appreciated in this family group. I started with saying how welcomed and included I felt. The second person said that he appreciated being able to assume that everyone here was a Christian, including my kids.
Yep. I drank a lot of tea to keep my eyes from talking.
The second part I shared a group of verses from the OT about treating strangers well. I then gave examples of how I had made strangers of people I knew and loved by my unconscious attitudes of religious superiority towards my Mennonite, Catholic, and Muslim friends. Then I asked people to share how we can keep the positive aspects of close family without making strangers of those around us.
The first guy to speak talked again about Christian superiority. Thankfully, a pastor’s wife in the group gently called him out on those attitudes and talked about real love and humility. There were others who had some very good insights and I hope to learn more from them in the future.