For a couple days now I have been working with the Radical Journey participants. We have worked on a covenant, shared personal faith stories and lots of other cool stuff. On Tuesday, the leaders asked for questions that people had. Darrell (the other leader) and I looked at those questions and had a conversation – modeling how to have good conversation about things that you may not agree on. One of the questions that we talked probably the most about was How do I know what I am called to do? Darrell shared and I did too.
I talked about my internal sense that it was more than just a passion, almost to the degree of unexplainable. For example, I am passionate about food. However, I can usually describe why I like to cook, bake, or serve food. I really can’t even begin why I feel so passionate, beyond passionate about issues of class and race. I also shared a moment I remember in a SCUPE class that would be the community calling me to work with these issues alongside those may not understand. I told Darrell (and the 20 others that happened to be in the room) that I felt that moment in the SCUPE class happened 10 minutes ago instead of almost 10 years ago – it that strongly effected who I am today.
We finished the day and then Darrell and I took the bus to go back to Jim and I’s house. It was rush hour, but the bus we happened to be on had lots of seats empty. A man got on the bus and sat next to me, after a stop or two looked at me and said:
Man: “Chicago is sure full of lots of cultures.”
Krista:“Yes, isn’t it beautiful?”
Man: “Sometimes it causes a lot of conflict though.”
Krista: “Yes, that happens sometimes”
Man: “Where you from?”
Krista: “here (Chicago)”
Man: “What do you think about bi-racial dating?”
Krista: “I think it is fine.”
Man: “You mean if a german woman with blue eyes and blonde hair started dating an Islam Middle Eastern man, you wouldn’t care?”
Man: “What about the way that culture treats women?”
Krista: “Well, if the woman feels comfortable with the man, then I am okay.”
Man: I believe you shouldn’t harm anyone.”
Krista: Me too.
Man: I am not prejudice but I think I would have a problem with if my sisters started dating a black man.
Krista: But you wouldn’t do any harm to them would you? That is what you said you believed, right?
Man: Yeah, but they are so violent…
Krista: Well, not all people live in the stereotypes that are given in society.
Man: Its hard to find people who are willing to talk about the hard issues
Krista: Yeah, its sorta my job
Man: Oh yeah, what do you do…
Krista: I help direct a program that hopes to teach people to have these hard conversations
Man: I guess I don’t live in a lot of the stereotypes of a jewish male…I am not cheap, I tip well.
Krista: Cool. This is our stop (it really was), have a good ride.
Darrell and I spoke of this a bit when getting on the next bus, but the conversation got much more animated when Jim came to dinner with us. Darrell was able to give him the run down of what had happened. Jim’s response? “Oh yeah, that happens all the time. She just keeps them going.”
All in all, we could think of 4 or 5 times in the last 6 months that I i have had conversations like this one. And yes, I do “keep them going”. I engage folks who talk to me. I admit that sometimes I want to ignore people, but I just can’t. I am not saying I am perfect, I can easily stick my nose in a book and put headphones on and ignore the world on the bus.
One of the great things about living in the city is that I can interact with folks that I normally wouldn’t or folks that I disagree with. What if I really took more time to listen? What if I “keep them going” more?