"Dialogue is my lifeboat!"
Anne Kjemtrup, Chairperson,
In the face of violence and large scale suffering people of good will can sometimes despair.
At Bread of Life we do not despair - we see real change as happening in small, steady, quiet ways, something like the action of yeast in dough.
Choosing to learn and practice the skills and attitudes of Dynamic Dialogue is like yeast. It starts a new way of relating that keeps growing and is capable of bringing real nourishment to the common table.
Anne Kjemtrup, tells her story of how participation in the culturally and religiously diverse group comprising our current Dynamic Dialogue practicum helps channel the energy and the will for deep change. This group has leaders of 3 faith traditions as well as professionals in human and animal health. It makes for a rich learning environment that then moves out into the world.
Here's what Anne told us about her experience:
you will never do things the same again " is how my mentor drew me into
[Dynamic] Dialogue. As a public health epidemiologist, navigating
contentious policy issues or as the first female board chairperson of
one of the largest Islamic Centers in the Sacramento area [SALAM],
navigating the transition to a new Imam, Dialogue is my lifeboat.
learning to slow down, question my assumptions, Dialogue has allowed me
- yes - the creative freedom to find solutions to challenges that
before might have left unresolved conflicts or resulted in weeks of
discussion. It has helped me to really engage my board in truly
collective decision making. Now more than ever we must find ways to
engage and have those difficult conversations.
As a Muslim, Dialogue helps me find ways to look beyond the
defensive stance and empowers me to reclaim the Islamic narrative that
is true to me which is one of logic, care and peace. The Practicum
format provides a multitude of avenues to explore and try out
What I have found particularly interesting is that
the approaches are effective not only in the American professional
setting, but also enhance communication across cultural and religious definitions. It is exciting and gratifying to know that there are ways that we can talk and approach problems beyond business as usual.