Playing the dumb card is a pretty good idea at times. I have used it plenty of times in pushing the envelope, so to speak, at the rehab facilities where I teach spirituality.
"Oh, I'm not allowed to give the ladies Bibles? ..."
"What, we can't take them to an NA meeting? Really?"
"Seriously, they shouldn't have music cd's with Christian songs on them? My goodness, I had no idea!"
The other day, one of the ladies told me, "Ms Tammy, I'm about to switch into the HUD program (a client group funded by a completely different governmental agency). I don't know if they'll keep letting me come to spirituality or not..."
I told her, just play dumb and walk on in. "Oh, I'm not allowed to come to class now? I had no idea."
I told the ladies, "Playing dumb can be a good strategy, but I didn't say that ... And if you say I did, I'll deny it ... but I didn't say that either."
They laughed to hear the church lady being devious.
My husband and I were having breakfast with several other church members this morning, talking about the landscape at our church. I shared my theory of the dumb card with them as well. You know how certain people at church just live to fixate on the negative? The gossip mongers? The people who could suck every bit of oxygen out of a room? Well, just play dumb with them. If they complain about something at the church or spew anxiety or negativity, just say, "Wow, I had no idea. I mean, there are just so many great things going on at the church right now!"
Which leads to the next question. Did Jesus play the dumb card? When the idea for this post popped into my head, I started on the brain scan to think of scripture that sort of implied that.
Remember when an expert in the law addressed Jesus as, "Good teacher..." and then asked about the greatest commandment? Jesus immediately replied, "Why do you call me good? There is only one who is good..."
And what about the time the brother said to Jesus, "Tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." Jesus responded, "Who appointed me a judge between you?"
Or the time when Jesus has been teaching the crowds all day and one of the disciples tells Jesus that he should send the crowds away so they can find some food and he deadpans, "You feed them."
The dumb card ... the unexpected answer. It certainly makes people stop and think about what is going on. Sometimes the best faith response is to disrupt human emotion and engage people's brains. It begs the question, "Do you hear what you are saying/suggesting/doing right now? Really?? Seriously???"
Forrest Gump's Mom said, "Stupid is as stupid does." But dumb ... well, that's a whole other matter.