Thursday, September 28, 2006

Any Good Questions Recently?

The phone call came from across the country. My friend, from whom I have not heard in a long time, called to ask me a question. It was a serious question about a situation in her church. She trusted me enough to ask a question and then listen. At a dinner recently, I sat with a couple who could not ask a question if their lives depended on it. All they could do was spout opinions; learned, errudite, opinionated. Conversation with them was more like fencing than dancing. Thrust, parry, jab, SCORE! For some reason, I have been attentive to times when genuine questions are asked, and I find them few and far between. Certainly it does not happen on TV talk shows or panel discussions. That's often more like verbal warfare than a genuine exchange of ideas. Our political landscape has become so polarized that we have devolved into a nation of "real Americans (like me) and everyone else, Patriots and everyone else, Christians and everyone else." (Ray Suarez' new book "The Holy Vote"). Even blog sites like this can be places for spouting without dialogue, one-sided air-horns blasting into cyberspace.
Who's asking the questions today? When is the last time someone asked you a question and then waited and listened to you? How about in your marriage and family? Parents, are you asking questions that run deeper than tasks and responsibilities? Spouses, are you asking questions beyond calendar and budget? Church leaders (denominational officials) when is the last time you came to a church to ask questions and listen instead of promoting your agendas?
I have been reading through the Bible for years, underlining all the questions. I've found that God is a great question-asker. In fact, God asks the best questions ever asked: Adam, where are you? Who told you you were naked? Where is your brother? Wow!! And more than that, God really listens to our answers. Worship needs to be more about great questions than well-crafted answers. Questions mean mystery. Questions bring dignity and ownership. Questions imply mutuality and relationship. Questions create trust and intimacy.
Any good questions out there?


At 9:26 AM , Anonymous Kent said...

Are not questions the life blood of conversations and relationships? Who was it that collected questions?

At 11:43 PM , Anonymous Isaac Johnson said...

the best parts of the bible are questions. John 21:15-17

also worthy to note, the last words of Christ were a question "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?". so were his first written in the Gospels "Why were you searching for me?"

At 8:49 PM , Blogger Gary Means said...

When I first began attending a church in the Covenant denomination in 1981, I was impressed by the two questions which, so the story goes, were the hallmarks of the early covenanters: "How goes it with your walk?" and "Where is it written?"

The first question cuts right to the heart of the matter. Instead of asking the casual, "how're ya doing?" the question has spiritual, emtional, mental, and even physical connotations.

The second question was very pragmatic, especially considering the recent heritage of the immigrant founders. The question may be a bit narrow, and can be abused, I think the heart of the question was beautiful.

Sometimes it's so difficult to live with mystery and ambiguity. We want solid answers to simple questions, because life is just so much easier that way.

I grew up in a home where I was repeatedly told, "We do not discuss religion or politics in this family." Part of the reason was that my mom voted for Johnson and my dad voted for Goldwater. And my dad was raised in a fundamnentalist home and had turned his back on a rule-filled faith while in college.

Good questions, eh?

How do we live with the tension between God as Yahweh and God as Abba?

Why is it so difficult to trust God, when there is so much evidence of His goodness? If I say, "But I do trust God, then I remember G.K. Chesterton's quote on sin which went something like, "At the heart of all sin is a belief that God does not have our best interests at heart." So if there is sin in my life, is that evidence of my lack of trust in His provision, His trustworthiness, His Goodness?

Why can't I find good Chicago-style pizza in Seattle?

At 8:20 PM , Blogger Smitty said...

Great post. I am living my life right now admist a whole bunch of questions. Questions to me reveal a sense of authenticity and vulnerability. My problem lies in sharing those questions with others. However, I find that when I do, it gives me a sense of freedom even if I don't get the answers. (By the way, I haven't gotten any answers.) So here are some,what I would consider, good questions.
Is God fair?
Why does God allow terrible things to happen?

By the way, I love the response that the man who was blind gives to all the questions asked of him in John 9. All he said was "I don't know." I think sometimes we lose sight of that.

Isn't it interesting...of all the times individuals in Scripture asked God questions, He very seldom answered them directly?


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