It’s a normal, healthy part of development to ‘differentiate’ from your parents/carers. 

Even if you grew up in a safe, secure and loving environment there comes a point at which you begin to take ownership for your life, your values and your beliefs. 

As I reflect on the household I grew up in, I feel like my parents gave me two great gifts (among many others):

1. They passed on their beliefs and practices for understanding the world.
2. They cultivated a sense of permission to explore beyond the boundaries of these. 

I wonder if a whole faith community could be structured around these two mutual attitudes? I have the deepest admiration for those who are able to hold their views with conviction while remaining non-judgmental and curious towards others (rather than adopting a defensive posture towards difference).

Undoubtedly, what I received from my parents is partly reflective of being the 5th (out of 6) kids. By the time my folks got to me they’d had a decent amount of practice/levelling out! 

Either way, I have this strong sense that my own ability to explore the doubts, questions and frustrations of faith, while maintaining a core belief that the centre of this Jesus tradition is goodness and love and liberation – I owe much of this to the generosity and flexibility of my folks’ faith. 

So, on a recent visit to their home I convinced them to have a cup of tea and a chinwag with me about how their view of God has changed, expanded and been challenged over their lifetimes. 

If my generation (millennials) are going to make it to our 60s with some form of robust, healthy Christian spirituality, we need role models like these. I hope you have them. If not, I hope this episode gives you a window into the ‘gentle renovations’ that can take place in healthy, life-long faith (befriended by doubt). 

Click here to listen to our conversation.

Or use the player below. Episode title: At my parents’ table: (faith renovations over decades):

Sara M. Saleh on Palestine, liberation and poetry Spiritual Misfits Podcast

Sara M. Saleh is a human rights lawyer, community organiser, writer and the daughter of migrants from Palestine, Egypt and Lebanon. She has many very impressive achievements to her name including being the first poet to win both the Australian Book Review’s Peter Porter Poetry Prize and the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize, which she did back to back in 2020 and 2021. Sara’s debut novel Songs for the Dead and the Living is out now (link below where you can buy).  Sara is one of the voices that has been a helpful guide for me in recent weeks as we’ve seen the Israeli government cause enormous levels of destruction and loss of human life in Gaza. This conversation is really helpful for decoupling anti-zionism and anti-semitism and understanding why it’s so dangerous when these are conflated. It’s so obvious, as you’ll hear throughout this conversation that Sara holds a fierce commitment to any group of oppressed and suffering people, while striving for solutions that do not simply flip who is oppressing who. The way she speaks about liberation is so generous and beautiful and just. We talk about the limits of identity politics and the deep solidarity that can be found in shared values — and there’s just so much wisdom here. Listen deeply, share widely, and take whatever actions you can — great or small — in the direction of justice.  Sara’s website: ‘Songs for the Dead and the Living’: Sara on Instagram: @instasaranade‘A guide to Palestine for beginners’ (this is a fantastic doc): to the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network: up to our mailing list: our online Facebook community: the pod: us an email: Spiritualmisfits@outlook.comView all episodes and access transcripts at:
  1. Sara M. Saleh on Palestine, liberation and poetry
  2. Noah Small on the nature of God, love and kindness (a little episode with big heart)
  3. Radhika Sukumar-White on lament, suffering and inclusive community
  4. Michael Frost & Shane Meyer-Holt on the other side of 'mega'
  5. Mikali Anagnostis and Gabi Cadenhead on Gen-Z spirituality and Marion St

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