Thursday, October 19, 2017

Let's Change the Conversation

A couple weeks ago I read a story about a marathon runner woman, who was training, and got attacked on her run. She had run the same path for over 10 years, but this one night a man assailed her. Thankfully she got the better of him, and was able to get away.

The rest of the article talked about the blow back she received after sharing her experience. She was called foolish for running in the dark by herself. She was told that she was asking to be attacked.

No. Just no.

It was rather ridiculous.

But, here is what I loved about her response...

She said, "let's change this conversation."

She did nothing wrong.

Running is not fundamentally wrong. Running in the dark is not fundamentally wrong. Running solo is not fundamentally wrong. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with marathon training.

What is fundamentally wrong is accosting and distracting another human being for the purpose of assaulting them. That is what was wrong in this scenario. And it was the only thing wrong in this scenario.

I loved her boldness in insisting on changing the conversation. This conversation is not about caution or prudence, foolishness, or what defense weapons she had or didn't have. It is not about running solo, or in the dark, or in a predictable route.

This conversation is about right and wrong. And who was right and wrong. And what actions were right and wrong.

And it seems pretty clear cut to me.

She was right. Her assailant was wrong.

No ifs, ands, or buts.

(Also, kudos to Taylor Swift for sticking by her guns in her recent lawsuit. All the yeses! and fist bumps!)

I think there are a lot of conversations where we need to actually change the thrust of the conversation that we are holding. Because we've gotten side tracked by our pet red-herrings, and we are missing the point.

Those conversations on sexual assault that lead back to what the woman should have done or worn differently, and whether or not they are telling the truth, instead of the horrendous crime committed against them and the responsibility and guilt of the perpetrator.

Those conversations between Christians on the topic of child safety in churches and ministries, that inevitably lead back to forgiveness and restoration, instead of protecting the innocent.

Those conversations on worship that disintegrate to different stances on music, instead of the many glorious facets of worship.

Those conversations on guns that lead back to Second Amendment rights, instead of to the sanctity of  (all) human life.


SO many conversations...racism. privilege. calvinism. education. student loans. health. politics. refugees. immigration. essential oils. immunizations.

But are we brave enough to change the conversation? (or brave enough to engage in the conversation change?) Can we choose to focus on the real issues that have been obscured when we've gotten distracted by these reiterated to oblivion points? Are we willing to get a bit uncomfortable and challenge our default narratives?

Am I ? Can I? Will I?