Mark 4:2

Then he taught them many truths in parables; and in the course of his teaching he said to them:

parables turn everything inside out
wild beasts they be
turning lesson plans topsy-turvy
raising questions of questions

just when a point has been made
for the fourth time
a sideways story comes aslant
shooting options in all directions

direct application is thrown out
flights of fancy flutter about
impossibilities are intensified
internal arguments increase

listeners listen accordingly
ears ready for an unexpected word
reflexes alert to flee ambiguity
stimulated by curious congruities

who knew such a lapping shore
harbored a category 5 hurricane
uprooting carefully tended certainties
making way for a new normal

A part of teaching fishing folk to “fish for people” is giving a model of connecting with those who are not them. This will come around again at Pentecost.

The setting is a boat (fisher-folks’ friend) but the content will mostly be about seeds (friends of villager and farmer). Teaching holds together the familiar and the strange long enough for them to engage each other.

We take the skills we have developed with us, but we are also careful to listen first to those we are with so we can use parabolic riddles and other rhetorical mechanisms that connect to those with whom we are relating.

A parable that doesn’t have a connecting spot with those you are partnering with is not a good use of conversation. Without a connection there can be no surprise or “Ah ha!” moment. It is these responses that shorten a longer metamorphosis or arrival at a repentant body, mind, and spirit.

Jesus’ use of parables uses common scenes of the time that are relatively easy to visualize. After nods of recognition and being able to project where the story is going, there is enough relaxation and letting down of defenses (a suspension of disbelief, if you will). Then comes the moment of a surprise twist bringing a crack in a person’s cosmic-egg habits (see The Crack in the Cosmic Egg: New Constructs of Mind and Reality by Joseph Chilton Pearce) so current assumptions about what is possible shift a bit, wobble a tad, and open space for a suggestion to alight on the edge of consciousness.