To Leave Your Kindred and Your Father’s House: Contemporary Dutch Christian Border Narratives

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    In this paper we analyse a collection of essays written by young Dutch people who grew up in the Reformed Liberated Church, a small Christian denomination in the Netherlands. Traditionally, this church is characterised by its inwards nature: members strive to live their lives within the confinements that the church and its institutions stipulate. This has changed over the last few decades and the essays attest to the effects these changes have had on individual lives. We discuss the underlying narrative structure of their accounts and how the authors negotiate different lifestyles and interpretations of the Christian faith on either side of the borders that demarcate the Reformed Liberated tradition. We discuss if—and how—the essays work towards an outcome of ‘discordant concordance’ (Ricœur) where narrative identities remain whole, despite relatively drastic border crossings in the course of the lives that formed them. We address how these stories give insight into how people use the stories they tell to define what needs to be remembered and forgotten when we cross borders. Finally, we discuss the relevance of these essays and our analysis of them for our understanding of today’s globalised and multicultural societies in which many are in a permanent state of transition.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)174-196
    Number of pages23
    JournalEuropean Journal of Life Writing
    Publication statusPublished - 28-Aug-2017


    • life writing
    • narrative strategies
    • border experiences
    • Reformed Liberated Church

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