Within popular Christianity today there is one word that more often than not strikes fear into those who face it. This question makes the youth group teen quiver in embarrassment, makes the insecure mother respond with "Because I said so", and can get you dirty looks from the elderly section at church. The word I'm talking about is "Why?". Whether it be phrased as "Why do you believe in Jesus?" or "Why do bad things happen to good people?"
I can only speak from my own experience but in my church experience asking a question starting with "why" was taboo. If you did ask it was because you "lacked faith" or "doubted God". I think for too long this simple question has been ostracized to such a point that if you ask "Why" you have less faith than someone who just believes. The question I want to ask, ironically, is why?
In my experience most of the time the fear of the "Why" boils down to one of a two reasons:
When it comes to this fear one of the most common reasons people within the church fear the question "Why" is because they themselves do not know why. They simply are masking ignorance with the stupid, and in no way spiritual, blind faith. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us that we should always be ready to give a defense for the hope within us. Therefore it is not more spiritual or more trusting in God to not question, but rather is disobedient.
2.) Fear of not knowing all the answers-
While no good church person would tell you that they are afraid of the answers to these pressing questions. They worry that if they dig too far, they might just find out the are believing a lie. If this logic would be true, it is still faulty to continue to live in denial of the word "Why" because one would be dedicating their life to an elaborate lie. Luckily and beautifully for us as believers of Christ we need not fear the answers for we know the One who is the Truth, and the Author of all things Jesus Christ Himself!
Admittedly there are questions we don't have all the answers for... but news flash no one does. These unknowable answers shouldn't stop us from pursuing all the truth we can about Christ. Allow me to explain:
I have a wonderful, beautiful fiancee. One day we hope to have children. No matter how many questions I ask her about child birth I will never know what it is like to give birth (of which I'm very thankful Lord). However, just because I will never fully know the answer to that aspect of my fiancee doesn't mean that I shouldn't explore other truths about her such as her favorite flowers, or candy, or movies. If I didn't ask these questions to further explore what makes Sarah who she is, I would have a hard time loving her.
In the same way when we let the fear of not being able to answer all the questions stop us from asking them at all, we are not living a more faith filled life. Rather we are denying ourselves from knowing God on a much more intimate level.
Ultimately though the real damage for me comes in this: The one word the Church seems to want more than any to be erased from the "World's" dictionary is the one word the Church should be begging them to ask. For the question "Why" signifies a pursuit and probing for truth on the part of the questioner. So rather than shy away from this question we must redeem it, and use it to point people to the truth they are looking for: Jesus!
In order to do this though we must be willing to prayerfully engage the scriptures for ourselves and ask the tough questions believing that this pursuit of truth will lead us into a deeper devotion to Christ.
We must not take conventional tradition as truth but rather we must challenge it with the Scriptures and be willing to change if we are not in line. We must be willing to not settle for a blind faith, but rather be prepared to give a defense so that we are begging our friends and neighbors to ask us "Why?"
This is the goal of this humble servant of Christ, that in someway through this blog we can journey and ask these questions together allowing the truth of God's word to wash over us. That we would allow the Truth to trump tradition in our lives and churches. In this blog I will attempt to do just that, I would be thrilled if you would come along for the journey over these next few months!
For it's as the old hymn says "To love you is to want to know you more"