|Photo by Rick Lister|
What do you feel as you hear this real story?
I feel a mixture of emotions. Partly joy that these women are growing in confidence and in their ability to engage with the Bible, the book of life. And partly sadness that so often people like Fatima, who cannot read, find themselves excluded.
And we're talking about excluding many many people. Across central Africa, for example, 70 to 85% of people aged over 15 cannot read and write (literacy rates in Africa).
But what if we discussed ideas in more creative ways? Like stories, drama and drawings and so moved beyond the written word? Last week Barbara*, over a vegetarian supper, shared with me the ideas of oral or creative discipleship. I became excited. Why? Because I think this approach will help us to more deeply connect with people on the fringes. And by engaging in more diverse ways we are all more likely to receive, remember and apply what we are learning. Whatever our background.
Perhaps we need to learn from Jesus. Jesus, who taught without ever writing a book. He transformed people with story after story, questions that reached their hearts and actions that practically showed what love is.
*Name changed for privacy.