The calabashes (or assumptions and filters) are:
1. Stereotypes are useful for understanding people
2. My voice is most worthy
3. Cultural ignorance is bliss
4. Our kind are better than your kind.
Means for breaking them are:
1. Caring for identity
2. Listening to silenced voices
3. Nurturing epistemic ruptures
4. Dealing in justice.
We are taken on this challenging journey through the framework of Rosemary’s experience, scholarship, substantial personal and familial inter-cultural experience, careful listening and honouring of the stories, insights, experiences and questions of a diverse group of people from a variety of cultural/language backgrounds and settings.
Images and stories come from many places, but most are from Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia addressing contemporary calabashes and providing insights and stories into relevant, useable and achievable means for breaking them. All are set into context, and all chapters include pauses and set questions for reflection and possible discussion/action that make the book a wonderful tool for shared study – in person and through social media.
This is a readable, focussed, practical and compelling book that is timely in the Uniting Church and Australian society. The author’s scholarship is plain while her ability to dig deep with simplicity, relevance, and genuine respect are what makes this book important – for the whole Uniting Church – and all who want to become genuinely inter-cultural in their life and faith.
The image of breaking can often be heard, seen or experienced as something violent and to be avoided. In this simple, easy to read book Rosemary succeeds in taking us into critical inter-cultural space with profound care but unavoidable clarity.
Rosemary’s style is one I have been richly blessed by among Pacific Island communities – talano – what I would call story-listening, the respectful offering, listening, and reflecting on one another’s stories. It is respectful, inviting, and affirming!
Drawing on a true story of Hinemoa and Tutanekai, legendary across Maori communities in Aotearoa New Zealand, Rosemary frames the book around exploring four particular “calabashes”, or assumptions and filters, that many of our church communities have become locked into; definite ideas on what is acceptable, and who is acceptable.
Rev Tony Floyd