Sunday, October 09, 2016

A parable

There were once some people who decided to throw a party.

They decided to invite as many people as they could. They put up a big sign outside their house which said, "Party here, all welcome." They sent out invitations which said, "Everyone is welcome at our party, whether you're black or white, gay or straight, young or old, you're welcome at our party." They invited friends. They advertised their party on the internet.

When the day of the party came around a few guests arrived and came into the party. They stood around and wondered whether anything was going to happen. There were big signs all over the party that said, "All are welcome here. Whoever you are, you are welcome at our party."

But there was no music playing, and there was no sign of any food or drink.

One of the guests eventually asked one of the party organisers, "Is there going to be any music playing?"

The party organiser said, "You're welcome at our party whatever music you like. Whether you like rock'n'roll or dance music, classical or pop music we affirm your choice to enjoy whatever music you like. You're welcome here. We're inclusive of all musical tastes."

The guest noticed that her question wasn't actually answered, but didn't ask any other questions.

Another guest asked another of the party organisers, "Is there going to be any food or drink at this party?"

This party organiser said, "You're welcome at our party whatever food and drink you like. Whether you like crisps and pop, or a roast dinner, whether you're vegetarian or meat eater, whether you enjoy wine or are a teetotaller we affirm your choice to enjoy whatever food and drink you like. You're welcome here. We're inclusive of whatever kind of food and drink you enjoy."

The guest noticed that his question wasn't actually answered, but didn't ask any other questions.

Eventually one of the party organisers stood up and gave a speech. The guests looked interested as they thought this might be the moment when the party was really going to start.

The party organiser stood up and said, "Welcome to our party. This is an inclusive party. Whether you are gay or straight, black or white, young or old, whether you like rock'n'roll or classical music, whether you like wine or fruit juice, whether you like pasta or sandwiches, you are welcome at our party."

Then they sat down.

No music played.

No food came out.

No drink was offered.

Eventually the party guests began to get hungry and thirsty. There was no food or drink at this party. There was no music. There wasn't even any scintillating conversation. One by one the party guests slipped away.

Occasionally one of the party organisers would stand up and give another speech about how this was an inclusive party.

Some guests hung around a bit longer, because they thought it was a really noble effort to throw an inclusive party. And they thought, maybe if they waited long enough the party would get going. But eventually they too were just too hungry to stay.

Every guest left. The party organisers were left scratching their heads.

"What went wrong?" they asked, "We were very inclusive. We said that people could stay whatever music they liked, whatever food they liked. We should have been a really popular party, because we included everyone. I don't understand why this wasn't the most popular party in town."

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