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Storytelling season starts with outsiders

June Storytelling

June Storytelling

A small, but lively crowd gathered in the old kindergarten room at the Huss Project last Friday night to kick off the summer storytelling series on the theme of “outsiders.”  After a delicious potluck dinner, we turned our chairs toward the mic and prepared to reflect on a topic that suggests a degree of vulnerability.  Are you more often an insider or an outsider?  Doesn’t everyone feel like an outsider sometimes?  When is being an outsider a good thing, and when is it an injustice?  What experiences have challenged your boundaries and sense of identity?  We wandered through these questions and more as we shared about everything from trips overseas, to encounters with formative music.

I don’t doubt that, behind the attentive eyes of everyone in the audience, memories reverberated from the past and inquiries projected themselves into the future.  The very room we were sitting in as we shared begs the question of how to create a space where all are welcome and at the same time, defines a unique culture in which we check our hatefulness, violence and other destructive forces at the door.  In their book The Abundant Community, Peter Block and John McKnight write,

The truth is that every local community of any kind is a group of specially connected people. But the very fact of their special connection necessarily creates outsiders…. Every neighborhood necessarily creates outsiders by establishing boundaries. The question is, what kind of boundary is it? Is it a boundary of superiority and exclusion, a dangerous place to approach? Or is it the edge of a place that has a welcome at the door?

These are just some of the critical questions we wrestle with as we continue to cultivate the space that the Huss Project is becoming, and in each of our lives as we seek both belonging and identity.

Join us for the next storytelling night on July 10 when we’ll consider the theme of MAGIC!  A potluck dinner begins at 7:00 p.m. and stories begin at 8:00.  We’d love to see you there!

Kirstin Vander Giessen-Reitsma

Kirstin is a member of the *culture is not optional core community and is the Head Caretaker at GilChrist Retreat Center.