Emerging Questions

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One thing I like about the “Emergent Church/Movement/Whatever” is the idea that people should be encouraged to ask questions. I’m all for that! Those of us who have grown up in church are often forgetful that the things we do in church (and the things we believe) are common to us but may seem very uncommon to a newcomer or outsider.

Just in the worship service at the church where I go, I could see someone from the outside wondering what the deal was with our singing, the preaching, the prayers, and—especially—that little piece of bread and thimbleful of grape juice we serve. I think we should be very open and encourage people to ask questions about this stuff.

But that’s just the tip of the ice berg, of course. Once someone is comfortable enough to ask something like, “What’s the deal with all the singing?” they will, hopefully, be comfortable to ask other things; questions like, “Is Jesus really the only way to God?” I love it when questions come up like that.

One of the things I don’t like about the Emergent Conclave (a very loose-knit group, so any accusations or thoughts directed at the whole will miss some individuals and individual congregations) is that some of them have so elevated the question that it’s more important than the answer.

I believe there are answers to all questions. We may not be capable of finding the answer to all of them, but I am confident that God is. Some questions, he did give us the answer. Is Jesus the only way? According to Jesus, he is. So, if he’s telling the truth, he’s the only way to God. If he’s not telling the truth, who cares what he says?

Of course, if someone comes in and asks that question, I have to be cognizant of the fact that, in our modern world, a large portion of the general public believes there are no absolutes. So while I can answer the question confidently and succinctly, the matter may not be settled for the questioner. I may have to have several conversations, winding around several philosophies, ideas and trees; and I may never convince the questioner. But I still think I should be confident in the answer.

And just because I can’t convince them of the answer, doesn’t mean the answer is wrong or isn’t there. Maybe I’m a lousy convincer. Maybe they’re an obstinate listener. Maybe (see, I believe in God AND the Holy Spirit) the Holy Spirit just hasn’t brought that person to the point where they can or will see the answer. That’s all right. The HS knows what he/it’s doing. I may just be one roadmarker on the way to the truth for that person. Even so, I better be a consistent marker for the truth.

Just some thoughts. Any questions?