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

Sjoerd-Jeroen Moenandar, Krina Huisman


In this article the authors 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.


This article was submitted to the European Journal of Life Writing on February 17th and published on August 28th 2017.


Reformed Liberated Church, border experiences, narrative identity, multiculturalism

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Copyright (c) 2017 Sjoerd-Jeroen Moenandar and Krina Huisman

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European Journal of Life Writing - ISSN 1876-8156 - is an open access initiative supported by the VU University Library.