Wednesday, 16. March 2022

Life Between Orient and Occident

People with "hyphen identities" tell their stories in the new Schneller Magazine

People who are at home in several cultures have direct access to different worlds. They learn about different norms and rules in a very natural way. Sometimes the hyphen between their identities is unifying, sometimes it means a challenge - namely when one does not feel fully belonging to one side or the other.

We asked authors based in both the Middle East and the global West about how they deal with their "hyphen identity." Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Germany, the Netherlands, and the U.S. are mentioned in various mixtures as one of several homelands. All of them can tell a lot about the richness of feeling at home in several cultures.

Those who are only at home in one culture can learn from them how enriching it is to look at one's own culture from the outside and to put it in relation to other cultures. The loving gaze with which people with a “hyphen identity” can look at both cultures shows that things which seem to be strange does not have to remain foreign in the long run. It can very well become part of one's own identity. Especially in a globalized world, this is a comforting experience.

This time there are again many encouraging reports from the Schneller schools. And it is exciting when renowned Middle Eastern theologians relentlessly confront their own churches, as the authors of the document "We choose abundant Life" (p. 26 ff) have done.