Then they said that this was going somewhere unusual. He had no idea why it was there. I know, but why would we ever use that color for something like this? It generally only happens when she bends them this way. “We've got lumps of it round back.” “And then I said...” Did you ever notice how random conversations can seem sometimes?  If you are not there for the beginning of the conversation, or you don't otherwise have a good context within which to work, some of the things you might hear people say will sound more than a little crazy. For some of us, that can be a good thing. I know that crazy phrases in titles, for instance, help me become more creative when I want to write, so I routinely welcome random thoughts. It works for prospective rock band names, too, as when Toad the Wet Sprocket took their name from a random phrase in a Monty Python skit. And, of course, there's that great line I just quoted from Life of Brian. Something about that line makes me want to quote it frequently, right alongside “I've got a vewy good fwiend in Wome...”

But there we were in the bottom. At times, random phrases can be a problem. To people who do not share our faith perspective, for instance, much of what we say can seem totally random. Just yesterday, on Facebook, I was asked to discuss Baptist practices of baptism and how they compared to “biblical” baptism. And I thought, “why?” What difference do such conversations really make? What sense do such conversations make? I love reading the writings of Rabbi Kerber, and would love to hear more of what he has to say, but he does not write in Hebrew, and he also remains aware that not everyone shares his context. That is what makes his work speak so well. He does not use random phrases that leave us all behind, but seeks to include us.

We now live in an era where any of us can communicate with thousands of people, all over the world, in just a few seconds. Our faith, whatever it is, can be shared with millions, but that's just not going to happen if we insist on everyone's coming to understand things in our context first. I think that we need to understand that, without shared experiences and contexts, most of what we have to say to each other are just random phrases. Most of our conversations are just exchanges of random thoughts. To really reach and relate to people, we need to get beyond that. After that, we wore orange ones.

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