Don’t look for the file in the cake
I’ve been watching the guards’ patterns and taking measurements and laying plans. I’ve made contact with the getaway vehicle and the man driving it.
I’m just not sure who’s in jail: me or my friend.
In our Social Media Marketing class, we talked about a Jesus story where he asked a question that crossed at least three boundaries: racial, religious, and gender. Crossing those three boundaries surprised nearly everyone in the story because none of those boundaries was proper to cross.
- In asking that question. Jesus’s crew saw a despised person in a very different light.
- With that question, the despised person saw she wasn’t despised and in fact was welcomed as an insider.
- With that question, a village dropped their spite and stepped forward alongside the outcast
All because of a short Q & A that changed everything.
And that is my file in the cake—a question, in an email, sent to an acquaintance from a different race and religion: “Can we talk?” Such a question is not improper today. It’s just that I am not in the practice of reaching across boundaries.
This is not an invitation to proselytize. It is an invitation to dialogue. I want to hear how my friend views the world. I’ll reciprocate with how I view the world. I’ll (likely) learn something. My friend may learn something. We’ll agree about some things. We’ll disagree about some things. But my friend is articulate and generous, and I suspect he’ll let me ask even my dumbest questions.
Asking a question across boundaries opens doors for change. But the change may not occur where we thought it would happen. Asking a question has a way of boomeranging back to hit me square in my episteme-bone. My question about how someone else understands life/faith/art often worms its way back to become a question about how I view art/faith/life. I will not be surprised to find that at least some of the boundaries and borders and walls I observed for so long were conjured by my own imagination or by the collective imagination of my tribe.
How long have I been my own jailer?
Image credit: Kirkistan