Alice: I have this idea. A dream. A dream of a Mad Tea Party. Where people can come together and sit around a big table and talk about God.
Just have the God conversation -- talk about that banned, forbidden topic. That taboo -- while having some tea!
Wouldn't that be nice? To talk about God? That's what I've been dreaming of, anyway. Always wanted to do something like that. But I was too afraid to suggest it. Didn't want to sound too crazy. Or silly. But here? What difference does it make? Everyone's a little crazy here. So what do you think? Would you like that?
Cheshire Cat: Yes. A Mad Tea Party. How wonderfully crazy!
Alice: Yes, exactly -- wonderfully crazy! And everyone would be allowed to be a little crazy. That would be the first rule. That way we could have the God conversation without having to worry if everyone thinks we'd lost our minds. The information would already be out there! We'd just talk about all the things that we always wanted to talk about, but never had the courage to bring up. The real stuff. The little secret thoughts that we quietly carry inside of us, without ever being able to express them. Wouldn't that be great?
Cheshire Cat: Superb. And who'd you like to invite to your Tea Party, Alice?
Alice: Actually...I was kind of hoping that you'd be the one hosting it. You're so comfortable in your own skin. Me -- I'm too shy. Besides. I don't even know how to talk, so how could I host it? My mind goes blank half the time, I get side tracked and forget where I was going. Can't organize my thoughts. And I constantly trip over my words too. Sometimes I even stutter. It's kind of embarrassing. Plus, let's face it, I'm such a misfit. I mean, isn't it obvious? Everyone here knows that I'm the outsider, I stick out like a sore thumb. So stiff and painfully self-conscious, while everyone else is so -- well, you especially -- comfortable in their own strangeness. My God, I wouldn't even know what to say.
Cheshire Cat: So you'd be PERFECT!
Alice: Hold on! That's not what I meant. I meant YOU. You'd be the perfect host and I'd make the perfect guest. At least one of them. Anything else would make me completely uncomfortable.
Cheshire Cat: But I thought you said you wanted a MAD Tea Party?
Alice: Yes, that's what I said.
Cheshire Cat: So there it is then. You'd be the most uncomfortable one, so you'd make the perfect host.
Cheshire Cat: No buts. It's a Mad Tea Party. No masks allowed!
Alice: I'm already starting to regret this.
Cheshire Cat: Oh come on now. Put on your big girl pants.
Alice: I don't know about this... Well, maybe. I guess. But I'll have to think about it. Oh God. It's just that, I don't even know who to invite.
Cheshire Cat: Well, isn't it obvious? Only mad people, of course. No sane people allowed.
Alice: No sane people?
Cheshire Cat: No way! There's NO ROOM AT THE TABLE for sane people. Only mad ones. Why would the sane ones even want to come? This is the MAD Tea Party after all. Didn't your Jesus say that He only came to heal the sick (Mt 9:12 -13)? You know, people that need a doctor, people that need help? Those with a couple of screws loose? People like you and me.
Alice: Right. That's true. So what type of crazy are we talking about?
Cheshire Cat: Oh, you know, a little this and that. Starting off with your regular nut jobs, addicts, thieves, liars, losers, whores, killers, freaks of all sorts, you name it. The list is long, as you know. Plenty of nuttiness to go around.
Cheshire Cat: Ok. It's settled then. Wonderful. Tell me Alice, once you have all your nut jobs gathered together around one table, which God would your guests be allowed to talk about? There are so many. Would it be the God of Christianity? Or Islam? Or Buddhism? Or perhaps even the God of Atheism? Who, by the way, is an interesting one. Such a noise maker. "I don't exist!" he always screams, so loud that it makes my ears hurt. Personally I don't believe in his non-existence at all. I think he's just fooling himself.
Alice: Oh, I don't know. I just want to talk about my God. I don't mind if others want to talk about theirs. It doesn't bother me. In fact, I think I'd find it quite interesting. I might learn a thing or two. As long as I can have my opinion and don't have to pretend to believe everything that everyone else says.
Cheshire Cat: Exactly. It doesn't matter which God people want to talk about. This is the Mad Tea Party. There are no rules. None ... Or. If there are, we quickly turn them on their heads, and then, make new ones! Yes. We have many rules, but none at all. The main thing is that everyone talks. All the time. That's the only rule. You must talk. Unless, of course, you want to be quiet. Which would be the ONLY EXCEPTION TO THE RULE.
Alice: You're not making any sense.
Cheshire Cat: We have our basics covered then.