How long would it take Jesus to outline a parable?
From that parable he’d probably follow up with another parable. Either way there was enough potency in a parable to keep His followers intrigued. To the point that sometimes they would come back to Him and ask for an explanation of the parable. It’s one thing to be in a crowd tickled by pretty stories. It’s another to be fascinated further to discover the meaning. To do that requires the engagement in conversation.
Maybe some of us have comfortable with a routine that promotes being like the crowd tickled by stories. Taking ownership for growth and sharing has to go beyond just wanting our ears tickled and our tastes appeased. It also has to include, as it did for the disciples, having a lot of our presuppositions turned upside down. Even in the Christendom era where some of us have been brought up in church and apparently know of the Bible, there’s more than enough room for the reality of Jesus to mess up our cosy assumptions about what Christian life looks like.
Surely a point of following a relational Jesus who encouraged conversation is to develop community that encourages conversation. It is not to dispute the place of crowds, but it is important to consider the purpose of those crowds gathering. As disciples are we really the crowd? Is all we’re interested in hearing pithy stories and thinking ‘wow, that Jesus guy sure said some crazy things’?
If we took that seriously what kind of focus would that give us for how we do community together?
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden