Questions Unite People
Categories: Tuck's Blog
Years ago, I remember hearing Lynn Anderson talk about how he admired the faith of his father. His father’s search for answers and quest for truth led him to leave the faith of his fathers. That quest would lead him to be ostracized by his entire community, not something you want to happen when you live on the Canadian frontier. But Anderson’s father would not accept answers handed down to him, and he continued to ask questions and search for answers. And that pioneer spirit that asked questions unless Bible answers were found led to a tiny Church of Christ being planted on the Canadian prairie.
Then Anderson asked, “So why does the same spirit that I admire so much in my father scare me so much when I see it in my kids?” Each generation is not to accept the unquestioned and untested “faith of their fathers.” They need that same pioneer spirit that goes back to the Bible and asks hard questions. And sometimes they will come up with entirely different answers. But it is the process of asking the questions that brings us to the feet of Jesus.
In a recent interview, John Barton, the director of the Center of Faith and Learning at Pepperdine University quoted Elie Wiesel, “Questions unite people. Answers divide them.” In the church, we have long thought that we have to all have the same answers, the right answers, in order to be united. Barton suggests that unity comes from the openness to continue to ask questions… and then to continue to be open to new and different answers.
“When our answers become too rigid, they become divisive and even abusive—they become poles of division rather than invitations to dialogue and relationship…We should think of ourselves as being on a journey rather than having already arrived, as seekers of truth rather than controllers, advocates rather than guardians… Jesus doesn’t call us to act as if we have all the answers. He calls us to he humble and be seekers. to be in dialogue with the world around us. He calls us to treat everyone, in every situation, as we want to be treated. He calls us to seek and serve, and promises to be with us as we do.
Questions unite people. Answers divide them. Can you take that too far? Sure, but once someone honestly and humbly commits to Jesus, the big answer has already been given (1 John 4:2). May we continue to search for truth and never be so sure that we’ve already found it that we are not open to learning and growing.