02 June, 2015

Duke Institute on Reconciliation

Greetings from Duke!

I am here this week participating in a week long institute on reconciliation. 
What does that mean? It's a collection of those who are working to address the things that divide our world, tensions of race, class, gender, religion and trauma. But this is not an academic or theoretical week of false answers and intellectual discussion. These are people in the trenches, who are doing this work locally and around our world. 

These are people of deep faith. People who love God and love people and are seeking to actually live the Word in its truest form. 

I came in 2010 and the effects still linger. I still wrestle with what I learned, still follow the lives of the people I met. For me this was the 180-degree turn that helped me get back on track with my faith. This institute was the still small voice of God reminding me who I was and who He is in my life. 

One of the most powerful images at Duke is the statue of the prodigal son on the balcony of Duke Divinity school. There is the father, the older son and the younger one who is clinging to his father. 

The older son is closed off, defensive. And the father's gaze is locked on him, begging him to soften and realize love is not dependent on works. 

Nouwen wrote a book on the painting this statue is based on. In The Return of the Prodigal Son, he examines this moment from all three perspectives. 

I have come to see that we fluctuate between them. Sometimes we are the youngest in desperate need of compassion. Other times we are the older who judges and hates where it is not our place (because it never is). And occasional we get to be the father - open, kind, giving and full of grace. 

I don't know what this week will hold. But I am overjoyed to be here. Coming back yesterday was like reuniting with a dear old friend. 




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© Amanda Lunday