September 13, 2015
I like to ask questions. By nature I want to know the details of everything. This has evidently been true my entire life. When I was little and my family took road trips, I sat and I asked question after question. You know the ones: Why is the sky blue? Why do we have to go to church every Sunday? How do cars run? Patiently, my parents answered each one.
On vacation last month, Becky and I took a walking tour along with a family of five. The tour guide was knowledgeable and interesting, and the three children took full advantage of someone to answer their questions. At the ages of 6, 9, and 11, they asked really good questions and they asked a lot of them. Their parents were embarrassed. They were afraid that the kids were annoying us by asking too many questions. We reassured them over and over again that we were impressed by children with such an appetite for learning, but the message to their children was clear – no more questions!
Unfortunately, too many people believe that the church is one of those places where questions aren’t allowed. Think about the middle school child who begins to discover a love for science and faith and wrestles with ideas around this topic. Consider a young adult who loses their parent or friend and can’t imagine how a good God would let that happen. Or the retiree who studies the Bible from cover to cover and struggles to understand the violence in the Old Testament. No matter your age, there is always this sense of, "Is this okay for me to ask?”
We have a sermon series beginning this weekend to reassure people that questions are a natural part of faith and that we believe Jesus wouldn’t mind.
Jesus’ ministry wasn’t a private ministry where he locked himself in a room to write books about faith, but rather with people engaging them in conversation and answering tough questions. The people asked questions about divorce and adultery, about the Old Testament and about politics. Jesus thrived on these questions. Much of his teaching seems to be based on people asking questions. I believe this is what church ought to be like as well. It isn’t a place for people who think exactly alike on every issue, but rather people coming to know Jesus and discovering that the journey of faith changes their lives.
I love to wrestle with hard topics of faith, and I don’t want easy answers that ignore the complexity of the questions. This is why I am so grateful to be at St. Andrew. This is a church that expects us to think about our faith and allows us to have questions. It is also a church that encourages us every week to move past our questions to find Jesus. The purpose of faith questions isn’t simply to get an answer, but to have faith.
So this weekend, we are engaging our church in a series designed to tackle the difficult questions of faith that we all have. I hope you come. I hope you bring a friend. I hope you find some answers. But most of all, I hope you know that this is a place where no one is embarrassed or afraid of questions. Jesus won’t mind. We promise.