The Danger of Asking Questions at Church
A few weeks ago while in our TEMPLES discussion series, we talked about the importance of asking questions and being curious. While we are a faith community which encourages people to ask the difficult questions and discover truth wherever it can be found, most churches are not.
One person shared at the table about her time at a different church. While in a women’s group study she found herself asking a lot of questions. She found this to be natural. She couldn’t help but use her brain. She described this as bringing herself to the group, to the study, and to the Bible. She was curious.
As the leader of the group struggled to provide answers, she encouraged this woman to “stop asking questions and trust God.” Now, while I do believe there are mysteries surrounding the Divine that we will never fully grasp, I do not understand stifling the legitimate questions of someone seeking to understand God.
This story pointed to a fact about modern, American church. Leaders far too often want people to listen to what is taught, believe it without question, and regurgitate it on demand. This protects the “brand.” It keeps the tribe intact. It keeps people in line and aligned with the the narrative of the group.
The one thing it doesn’t do is encourage people to see, know, consider, and understand faith, the object of faith, and the purpose of faith in their life. I’m all for asking questions. And the better the questions, the better the answers.
A Faith Without Curiosity
Without searching, knocking on the door, or asking faith tends to stagnate. It becomes boring. What if faith was exciting because we recognized the infinite opportunity to learn and experience TRUTH? In his most famous sermon, Jesus shares this with his attentive audience…
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
The idea of “keep on” is interesting. It gives us the sense that this searching and asking and receiving and knocking and answering is continual. Life long. A process of which we are invited to participate with for a lifetime and beyond. It’s not about protecting a brand. It’s about experiencing new life, opened up to the world, to the Divine, and to love.
We are never done. Following Jesus never stops. Transformation is never complete this side of living. I like to think of transformation as a three-fold continual process…
Information + Activation + Relationship = Transformation
While it’s not enough just to ask questions and get answers, it is a necessary part of the equation. Curiosity keeps us humble. Curiosity helps us ask the best questions. It keeps us engaged and active in our faith. It causes us to see the world through ever changing lenses. It spurs love and devotion.
Faith without curiosity dies out, fades away, and stagnates. Let’s resist a boring faith with all of the answers. Let’s avoid nice, neat conclusions to complex matters. Let’s explore. Let’s ask. Let’s knock on the door of truth and answer the invitation to enter in.