Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Gotthammer's Apologetic Part 7: I don't fear the Questions

Trinity told Neo it was "the question that drives us." I believe this wholeheartedly, and it has likely been the source of every other of my "deadly sins." To the broad taboos in the Christian subculture, I have asked the question "why not?" To the pressure to exist in the culture-driven gospel where the music, movies and media are all "Christian" I have asked "why?" I have never feared the question.

It drove my some of my professors (and many of my peers) crazy when I would ask questions that challenged accepted theological positions. To the statement a classmate made once that demons can't read our thoughts, which is why Jesus spoke out loud to rebuke them, I asked, "how can you know that for certain?"

I don't do it just to be a pain in the ass. If I think something makes sense, I'll leave it alone. But if someone makes a definite statement they cannot support definitively, then we're going to have a discussion. Because there is much of life we cannot know for certain.

Every now and again someone will ask me that tired, straw man question, "If you were to die tonight, do you know where you would go for certain?" I reply, "no, I don't know for certain. By faith I believe that I will close my eyes in this life and open them to the face of Christ, but I won't know it for certain until I'm dead." I know Job said something more definitive, but my guess is he meant the same thing I do. Job wasn't living in a post-enlightenment world where the phrase "to know" means something very different than it did in BIblical times. Hell, knowing someone in Biblical times might have meant you'd had carnal relations with them.

I'm not saying it's all a mystery and we can't know anything for certain about the nature of God, of faith, of theology. I just don't think it's cut and dry. And I don't think North American Evangelicalism is it. I like what Shane Claiborne says when people ask him what he is..."Are you a Catholic or Protestant?" and he says "yes". I'd be in with Brian McLaren and his mess of Generous Orthodoxy. I'm Anabaptist and Anglican. I'm post/protestant and liberal/conservative. I am irreverently reverent. I think Jesus kicks ass.

I also don't fear the questions coming in my direction either. When the students I'm responsible for ask questions, I'm excited (I call it giving people room to have a crisis of faith), because it tells me they give a damn about the state of their faith. I think any faith that can't take a walk in the real world with hard questions isn't a faith worth having.

That's why I love the blog. I can ask questions, and others can question me, or with me. I'm loving the ongoing discussion with the community here online.

So that's my seventh deadly sin...asking questions...

1 comment:

  1. I love McLaren's Generous Orthodoxy. Also, if I was writing a list of sins on my blog, this one would no doubt be on it. Asking questions of God, to alot of people I know, is a sign of disrespect. To answer that, I refer to many of my teachers growing up when they would tell me, "There are never dumb questions, but by not asking one, you'll be the dummy". When I am known as I am known and stand before the Eternal One, I don't want Him to say to me, "Why didn't you ask? I told you to ASK and it would be answered for you. Didn't I say look and you will find? Or knock and the door will be answered?" I choose not to be the dummy. Honestly, I think God is put out more by not asking than asking. Doesn't He know either way?
    Anyway, ask, challenge, and don't let anybody get away with faulty "crap-ology".