Negotiating the Narrows
A short video story by Storyteller Susan Klein
Themes : Religious Differences. Recognizing the various kinds of “isms”. Hope for societal change that embraces diversity.
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As a young child Klein was intrigued by the mysterious practices of her Roman Catholic friends and neighbors. In the 1950s the Roman Catholic Church was still seen as somewhat foreign and was largely unknown or misunderstood by Protestant America. Although she was raised in the Methodist church, Klein was dazzled by Rosary beads, statues of saints, and the very mysterious Sunday Mass she attended with her best friend Debbie.
Klein learned, however, that religion can divide people when she found that her friend could never visit her own Methodist church. At that young age Klein didn’t understand the subtleties behind her friend’s inability to miss Catholic mass to attend her Protestant church, but she did feel that somehow Methodists must be “less than” Roman Catholics.
Klein’s new awareness of religious difference and how it might indicate value—someone is better, someone is worse—opened her up to the other ways in which we differ from one another. She experienced a normal experience of childhood taunting based on her German ethnicity, forcing her to face the reality of Nazism. Klein also discovers as a young girl how her community viewed her new friend — who happened to be Black.
- This story can also be found in a STORY SHORT version with brief reflection and discussion questions. An audio download and transcription text is also available.
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