Time to hear the other side of the story

Sr Patty Fawkner SGS (Catholic Religious Australia)

Stories create an emotional connection and can inspire us to act to overcome bigotry and racism, writes Sr Patty Fawkner SGS. Source: The Good Oil.

History, it is said, is written by the "winners". And Western history is almost universally his story – white man’s story – with women and First Nations peoples silenced or rendered invisible in the chronicling of past events and human affairs.

It occurs to me that positive social change will require us to tell the story of past events from all perspectives, but especially from the perspective of those whose voices we have not heard. We need to tell her story and First Nations peoples’ story. As Richard Powers says in his novel The Overstory: “The best arguments in the world won’t change a person’s mind. The only thing that can do that is a good story.”

This was Jesus’ modus operandi. He told stories, all kinds of evocative stories of pompous and wastrel sons of an extravagantly forgiving father, of farmers sowing seed and fishermen with their nets breaking, of pearls and hidden treasure, of persistent widows and frantic housewives seeking a lost coin, and, of course, a traveller who breaks all sorts of social, ethnic and religious norms to help a wounded man left for dead on a dusty road. These stories imprint our hearts more enduringly than commandments etched on stone tablets.

Stories create an emotional connection and can inspire us to act. Stories tell us who we are and help us make meaning in our lives. Stories, rather than statistics or angry midnight tweets, can change the world.


Voices of the oppressed must be heard to make positive social change (By Sr Patty Fawkner SGS, The Good Oil)

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