Monday, July 11, 2011

The parable of the email

No Email Messages

The woman went to her cubicle to send an email to her loved one.

The first email she sent was rushed and short. It was filled with typos and emoticons. The receiver did not know what to make of it, and so did not respond.

Dismayed at not hearing from her loved one, the woman sent a second email. This one was overthought. It was filled with words that did not match her feelings. The receiver misunderstood the email, and sent back a short and unsatisfactory response.

Now she decided to send a third email. She sat down and examined her heart, and typed its truth on the screen. She sent it with the knowledge it was honest. And the receiver finally grasped her message, and responded in kind.


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Why don’t we speak in parables anymore?

Wine and seeds. Vines and sheep. Coins and sons. All common elements of a past world, and all used to illustrate bigger, more mysterious concepts.

Yet we don’t teach each other in such direct ways today. Are our systems too complicated? Are our professions too erudite? Or are we of the 21st century simply above them -- beyond mystery and beyond questions?

I crave a parable for our times. I want a crucial truth about our mysterious God broken down into something that’s a little more than metaphor, and told to me in a sing-song voice that lulls me into understanding.

I don’t care if it’s about technology or pop culture or politics. Just make it real. Make it relevant. Make it understood.

Prayer #172: Parable

God of yarns, tell me a story.

Give me a hero and a villain. Outline the conflict, lay out the quest. Lead me through three acts. Grant a happy ending.

For the world is an obstinate place that refuses corralling into a single thread, and the enormity and breadth of its subplots can overwhelm even the most dedicated reader.

Show me the page that matters most in this moment. Give me a hint how this chapter could end.

Amen.

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