Thursday, July 8, 2010

No dumb questions?

It’s been said that there are no dumb questions. I’m not sure if that’s totally true. I once read an article in which the first question a reporter asked two men who’d been trapped in a mine for almost two weeks was, “Does it feel good to be out of the mine?” Obviously, some questions are better than others. The best questions don't waste any time getting to the heart of the matter. Have you ever known somebody who had the spiritual gift of inquiry? Certain people just know how to ask good questions. Take the difference between my wife and myself. Alyson can discover more about a person in a five minute conversation than I will in an hour. Why? She asks better questions.

And yes, sometimes, good questions can initially sound like dumb ones. How many times have you asked, “Do you have the tickets?” when headed to an event of some type. It sounds like a dumb question, unless you’ve forgotten the tickets (and who hasn’t?). Or perhaps even dumber sounding, “Do we know where we are going?” when headed out on some trip. Sounds dumb, until the only answer anyone can come up with is, “No, I thought you knew.”

One of the best questions we can ask at church or in our lives is one that at face value might sound the dumbest: “Who is Jesus?” It’s so simple a question and one so central to our faith, that it can sound silly asking it. We think it’s something that as Christians, we don’t need to be asked. We’re Christians. We’re church goers. We know who Jesus is. Right? The trouble is, talking about Jesus is not the same as knowing him. The old negro spiritual sang, “Everybody talking about heaven ain’t going there.” Jesus put it just as bluntly, “Not everyone who says Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven.”

I had to laugh when I read a quip in Brian McLaren’s book, A Generous Orthodoxy, in which he noticed an evangelical tendency to equate our knowledge with Jesus with how many times we can say his name in a sentence. You can see how this gets carried to absurdities. We put Christ’s name on key chains, t-shirts, coffee mugs, bumper stickers, etc. (and yes that's a Jesus LED light keychain pictured above!). You name it, we’ve Jesus-fied it. While much of this Jesus merchandise comes out of pure intentions (and some of it certainly out of greedy intentions), it has the negative result of commodifying our Lord. Jesus starts looking more like a pitchman for a product, more like Tony the Tiger, than the Savior of the world. McLaren pointedly asks is Jesus our mascot or our Master?

When put that way, the question, “Who is Jesus?” doesn’t sound dumb. It sounds down right prophetic. It’s a question that gets to the heart of the matter. As believers, our basic answer to this important question is the baptismal confession “Jesus Christ is Lord.” We sing it in many of our songs. We use it as a title in our prayers. It’s been said in churches for two thousand years. But what does it mean to say Jesus Christ is Lord? What does it mean to you?

We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.– Colossians 1:15-16 (The Message).


Cioara Andrei said...

Foarte interesant subiectul deybatut de tine.M-am uitat pe blogul tau si imi place ce am vazut, cu siguranta am sa mai revin o zi buna!

he_doesnt_hit_me said...

please read. i need help. :[