At the end of my workshops, I almost always stick around to answer any questions participants may have or listen to their stories. This is one of my favorite parts of my job. After doing a series of workshops at a predominantly Christian campus I stayed in the room. I had several people come up and tell me stories or ask questions. Two people were waiting to be last. When I got to them, I got a taste of my own medicine.
The two approached me and I said hello and shook their hands. They then asked me if I had any questions. I attempted to make a joke by saying something to effect of usually this goes the other way around, and they got much more serious.
They then repeated themselves, and added that I must be new to Christianity and wanted to see if I had any questions. This was a pretty big assumption on their part. I immediately found myself wanting to explain the readings I have done, and prove to them that I was, that I am, more than they were assuming.
This was a fascinating moment that forced me to pause and remember not to set up my audiences to be that defensive. I don’t want to assume they know nothing. I also don’t want to assume that they aren’t interested.
A taste of my own medicine can be bittersweet – but it works every time.