Last night most of America was watching the Oscars...the red carpet beautiful people who seem to be as good at dodging questions as a politician running for office. Many questions the press hurls at them are inappropriately personal or just stupid. Who wouldn’t want to avoid some of that? But there are other times when changing the conversation is positive, and important to growth.
This afternoon I’m leaving on a trip to Israel/Palestine. I’m traveling with a few people from our church, led by Telos, an organization we’ve been partnering with that desires to engage evangelicals in conversations with Israelis and Palestinians pursuing peace.
This is hard stuff. Complicated and intense and emotional, and personal for so many. Frankly, I might prefer it if Jesus invited me to follow Him into, say…Hawaii maybe.
But He hasn’t, so my goal on this trip is to change the conversation in several ways.
- I want my conversations to be marked not by judgment, but curiosity.
- I want to listen to those who are most different from me. To walk towards the “other”.
- I want to bring not “right” and “wrong” to the conversation, but mutual brokenness and the gift of grace.
- In every conversation I want to be listening not only to what Jews and Muslims, Israelis and Palestinians have to say, but have my ears attuned to what Jesus would say to me in the midst of it.
- I don’t want to observe “victims” and “perpetrators”, but to look for how I might be contributing to the problem. And how I can be part of the solution.
You may not be interacting with anyone in the Middle East this week, but I’m betting you still have opportunities to change the conversation by walking across your neighborhood, or your city, or your office building.
What would you add to my list to change the conversation?