Dialogue as empowerment

Dialogue as empowerment

People of faith all over the world seek to interpret their texts, either written or orally handed down, in part in order to try and make sense of the world around them and the reality of the lives they lead. “Most religious practitioners are not theologically trained, and their making meaning of texts and contexts are often overlooked in theological research”  GRUNG (2010:88)

So how is meaning made when one has either a low literacy level or is not literate to a high degree? Amina Wadud, Black American Muslim convert, writer of “Qur’an and woman” argues for experience as a form of authority. Indeed, she insists in the efficacy of female experience as a type of authority – as a new tafsir. She asks that, in addition to seeing Authority as leadership/power, we start seeing Authority as knowledge/expertise.

Coming across the use of the conversation café technique was a perfect enabler in my context. It is a technique which helps to promote the ‘wisdom in the room’ so that people feel able to start engaging in conversations about things that matter. Women who are not used to being given the time and space to share of their knowledge rooted in experience are emboldened to start speaking from their heart. The affirmation offered by the group gives courage to all. Women begin to discover that as a result of having to deal with, meet the challenge of and negotiate the impact of past experiences in our lives we, ourselves, are receptacles of wisdom and knowledge. It then sets the scene for really listening and valuing the Stories from each other’s traditions and how we have come to interpret them for ourselves.

(This is an extract from an article in the Webzine, Holy Texts, published on this website. Read the article here.)

© When Women Speak… May 2024

1331 2000 When Women Speak

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