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First Questions

By February 3, 2015 6 Comments

We’ve recently started a writing group at the soup kitchen I lead. More accurately, two people who attend the soup kitchen have begun a writing group and I have the privilege of being one of their students. Each month we come together and they offer a couple different prompts. We then take twenty minutes to write in silence. We are welcome to share our stories. Our leaders tell us that the only rules are we must keep positive in our response comments after we listen to another’s writing.

This group has become very special to me. It is an hour of genuine connection with people who might not hang out with each other outside of soup kitchen. I have the privilege of listening to hopes and fears as well as share some of my stories. There is level of vulnerability that feels holy in our writing group.

This week the writing prompt was: What questions do you like to be asked when people are first getting to know you?

What a great question!

There was a general consensus that all of us think the question What do you do for a living? is not good and quite boring. Someone even said that it’s offensive especially since they don’t have a job. We over rely on that question and it speaks to what we project someone’s value to be. Instead we discussed questions we would like others to ask us. I offer them here in the hope of more meaningful and richer conversation between us all.

1. What books have influenced you and what authors do you enjoy?
2. What activities have brought you happiness lately?
3. How do you like to expand your comfort zone?
4. What do you like to do in a given day?/What activities do you participate in during the week?
5. Is there a question that you wish people would ask you when they were first getting to know you? What would that be?
6. (If spiritual/religious) When has God felt most real to you?
7. (If spiritual/religious) When has faith been difficult?
8. If you had to pick a color to describe your personality what color would you choose and why?
9. What song(s) do you like to listen to in order to let loose and just dance?
10. (If spiritual/religious) Are there stories/people from Scripture that you resonate with and why?

I’m compelled by this idea to get away from the question “What do you do?” I don’t think it welcomes us into the type of conversation that allows us to connect on a soul level. I also think it says something about our values. I’d like to see us work to more meaningful conversation.

Perhaps some of you practice richer dialogue, teach us your ways! What questions do you find open up the soul to lusher conversation and connection? What about you? What question do you wish someone would ask you when they are first getting to know you?

Jes Kast

The Reverend Jes Kast is an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament and serves West End Collegiate Church as their Associate Pastor.


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