Thursday, September 28, 2017

Asking the Best Questions

"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with the questions longer" - Albert Einstein

I spoke recently on a Sunday about how the smartest people in the world aren’t those with the best answers, but those with the best questions. If you always have the best answers then you’re doomed to never get more intelligent than you already are, but if you have the best questions (and the humility to learn from anyone) then there is pretty much no limit to how smart you can get.

I want us to be a community that isn’t afraid to ask questions. One of the strengths of a culture where you can belong before you believe is that asking questions is safer, as being part of the community isn’t dependent on signing up to everything it believes. That’s true for people looking in on the community from the outside (part of the beauty of Alpha is creating a space where non believers can ask their questions in an environment which is safe), but should also be true for people within the community. We should be a people who are endlessly inquistive, and should be unafraid to ask the sometimes uncomfortable questions which will take us closer to God, and closer to discovering his purpose for our lives.

Jesus should be an inspiration for us in this. Somebody has counted that in the gospels He asks 307 questions. Many of those were to get people to think more deeply, although some such as His question on the cross “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) were deeply personal.

I wonder when you last seriously asked any questions? Not who is going to be selected in the next England team or what am I going to have for tea, but big questions. Questions that might impact how you live your life, spends your money, use your time or relate to God. My observation would be that children love to ask questions, but the older we get the less and less comfortable we are asking questions. I don’t think that’s helpful.

Two things I think we need to bear in mind as we ask questions:

First of all are we’re asking the right questions. Good questions will take us closer to God, closer to finding who we are and closer to finding His will for our lives. Bad questions can take us down blind alleys which go nowhere, or could even lead us into error and out of a relationship with Jesus. How can we be sure to ask the right questions, and avoid the wrong ones?

And then we need to look in the right places for our answers. We live in a world which is drowning in a sea of information but which is parched through a lack of wisdom. Where should we look for our answers?

They’re questions I want to look at in some future blogs. For now I’d love to know what questions you might want to ask?



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