Living in the Question

“A Christian doesn’t avoid the questions; a Christian embraces them. In fact, to truly pursue the living God, we have to see the need for questions. Questions aren’t scary. What is scary is when people don’t have any. What is tragic is faith that has no room for them.” – Rob Bell –

It’s been a subject of discussion for the last little while on this Emergent movement. One of the most recent attacks that I have heard is that they ask a lot of questions, and they don’t provide any answers. When I heard that, I looked at who said it and said ‘Thank-you, you just worded exactly what they are about in so many ways, much better than I could have.” The only problem was that I looked at asking questions without always having answers as a good thing, the respondent didn’t really see eye to eye.

So after I read this quote I was appreciative that I wasn’t alone in this idea. I was a bit more thrilled when it came from one of my favourite and most respected speakers. I’ve always been the type to ask questions. To dig deep into a subject until I understood it as well as I thought I needed to. When I was in grade nine, possibly even younger, I was reading books on Eternal Security and Predestination. It was something that I read so much on and still felt like I had such a weak grasp on it. As I grew in my faith I started to ask harder questions like Why is the Bible the word of God? Or why do we NEED to believe in the Trinity? Why do we go to church? Why do we tithe 10%? Questions like this flooded my mind and when I would bring them up I would get shutdown pretty quick. I either got told to take it by faith or to not worry about it. Some would tell me that it’s dangerous to ask those questions. Others would actually get mad at me for asking those questions and I would quickly be labeled spiritually unsound.

I never want to be someone who is afraid of questions, especially if I don’t have the answers. What would the point of asking a question even be if we already knew the answer? I think that many times that it is probably more spiritual to ask questions than it is to constantly give answers. Asking questions means you don’t know. It’s humbling. It’s a place of dependency on the person who has the answers. It means you acknowledge the fact that there are some things you don’t know and some things you need to know. It means you are seeking. Giving answers isn’t exactly the opposite. Giving answers isn’t wrong either. When you have a complete answer though, it means that you are done seeking.

I guess there is a balance in it all too. I don’t want to shy away from the truth either. I don’t want to be afraid of having answers in fear that I might come across as a know it all. I guess as long as I understand that I will never have the complete answer. That opens me up to be a lot more tolerant of people and their opinions, because whether right or wrong I can always learn more and come closer to the answer.

I never want to stop asking questions, especially when I don’t know the answers. Erwin McManus said in a sermon once at Willow Creek when I went that we need to stop being so afraid to live in the Question. There is no harm in that. Living in the Question is living in the mystery of our Creator. I don’t want to be so stuck giving answers that I forget to ask questions. I hope we can all learn the correct balance between questions and answers, but by all means, God give us the humility to be ok with not knowing and living in the Question.

“We have to test everything. I thank God for anybody anywhere who is pointing people to the mysteries of God. But those people would all tell you to think long and hard about what they’re saying and doing and creating. Test it. Probe it. Do that to this book. Don’t swallow it uncritically. Think about it. Wrestle with it. Just because I’m a Christian and I’m trying to articulate a Christian worldview doesn’t mean I’ve got it nailed. I’m contributing to the discussion. God has spoken, and the rest is commentary, right?” – Rob Bell-

One Comment

  • Hey Nathan,

    Well said. Our C&C group in Wyoming talked this past Sunday about the mystery of God. His mysteriousness is something that we will never fully comprehend…yet we can be filled with awe and wonder at His creation and how He is working in our lives, even when we don’t completely understand and are filled with questions.
    The awesome thing is that God is so huge and beyond our imagination that we will NEVER fully comprehend all that He is, all He is capable of, nor how much He immensely loves us. Questions about our faith and relationship with Jesus have the potential to draw us into a closer walk with Him and greater understanding of the God of the Universe. Questions make us go deeper and prepare us to give an answer for the hope that we have in Him. I feel that God even puts these questions on our hearts, in order to teach us more of Who He is, to mature us, and to refine us.
    If we could understand God completely and have our ‘textbook answer’, we wouldn’t need faith. I’m sure God planned that on purpose too *smile*…it’s yet another piece in His mysterious puzzle that causes us to humble ourselves and worship Him.
    ~Jeremiah 29:11-13~

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