Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 117

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 2 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE arguments that Patricia and Alana used with each other seemed so compelling to the one presenting them, but they ultimately failed to persuade the other. As important as these disciplines and approaches are to informing and bolstering faith commitments, they ended up becoming little more than tools to perpetuate the battle. As Patricia writes (p. 30): So this shouldn’t even be a fight. And we shouldn’t be warriors. Facing off across a divide. Rattling our spears and sabers. Attacking each other with scriptures and verses from our sacred books, determined to trump one another with what we view as our superior personal faith. In essence, Patricia and Alana clashed from two very different perspectives. Patricia struggles with feelings of failure and rejection. As a Christian mother, she feels that she failed to raise her daughter in such a way that she would want to retain her faith as an adult. She also wrestles with strong feelings of rejection by Alana: of Christ, the gospel, and family religious identity (p. 107). Alana wrestles with family fatigue and a desire to be heard. She’s tired of being the black sheep (pp. 84–85) and “of being disapproved of and shunned as the poster child for what, in her [mother’s] eyes, was a failed attempt to raise me as a Christian” (p. 42). As a result Alana wants desperately to be heard sympathetically, and doesn’t feel that her mother is able to do this. She asks Patricia, “Why don’t you ever ask me about what I believe?” (p. 37). Sadly she says, “I don’t think she really wants to hear about my journey” (p. 68). Patricia says she’s not interested in Islam but will try to ask questions. Alana says she was hurt by this response, and wants her mom to appreciate her relationship with God despite their differences in belief (p. 38). She “[w]ants to be heard and respected” even with her different beliefs (p. 86). As the story of their journey continues, Patricia takes important steps and moves outside her comfort zone. This includes eating a Sunday dinner with strangers in a Lebanese restaurant. This shift from “theological theory” to hospitality in encounter with “the other” results in personal change. She eventually resolves to engage in a new way of interaction: “I intend to recommit to living rightly in interfaith peace with my daughter” (p. 116). Alana too comes to a place where she wants to relate differently. She calls on Patricia to “meet me at a place of mutual respect” that includes empathy. Together they recognize ”the need to be diplomatic in their approach” (p. 152). 114