Saturday, May 16, 2015

Sorry, But I Can't Stop Asking Questions.


Actually, I'm not sorry.

Our society is full of people who rarely question anything. They simply go along with cultural norms because that's the easiest thing to do. Questions are uncomfortable, and we live in a comfort-worshipping country. The last thing most people want to spend their time doing is asking questions (unless they are questioning why something in their lives is interrupting their comfort).

What is even more disturbing is how few people in the church ask hard questions. We follow a person - Jesus Christ - who was about as counter-cultural as anyone who ever lived. He taught numerous things that directly challenge many aspects of our society that we often just take for granted. More specifically, Jesus gave many instructions that fly directly in the face of the way most churches function today. I suppose that's why so few Christians ask those hard questions.

Well, I'm not going to stop. I hope you don't either. We need to be inquiring as to why things are as they are.

Below is a simple list I threw together of examples of church-related questions we must not stop asking:

1. Why do so many Christians gather for "worship"?
2. Why do we largely ignore the poor and needy?
3. Why do many Christians allow the secular government to educate their children?
4. Why is modesty a dirty word in the church?
5. Why is the Lord's Supper often more like a funeral than a celebration?
6. Why are Christians in the military?
7. Why do many Christians segregate by age?
8. Why are we surprised when we suffer for Christ?
9. Why are so many pastors paid salaries?
10. Why do so many simple church folks have poorly-defined doctrine?
11. Why do churches spend so much money on themselves?
12. Why does the church deny any Christians access to the Lord's table?
13. Why do many Christians invest so much in secular politics?
14. Why do we divide over so many inconsequential issues?
15. Why do we expect secularists to care about Christian principles?

The list goes on, and on, and on.

When we ask questions we must be aware of the fact that they will often not be welcomed. Questions by definition challenge. If we challenge the status quo those who benefit from that status quo will not be happy. While their responses will be varied, we can and should expect something unpleasant.

We are responsible for asking responsible questions both in content and in presentation. At that point we "let the chips fall where they may." We cannot control the responses we receive.

One thing we can be certain of is that if we do not ask questions nothing will change.

Keep asking. I know I will.

2 comments:

Aussie John said...

Eric,

I've asked most of those questions of traditionalists. Never received coherent answers

Tim A said...

My quick answers:
1. Why do so many Christians gather for "worship"?
That is what they have been taught. It's a comfortable, easy distraction from real worship so they feel no reason to question it. Their pastor is their doctrinal filter for everything Bible, just like they leave surgery to the surgeon.
2. Why do we largely ignore the poor and needy? We have assumed that hiring at least one Bible professional and a special building for crowd oriented gatherings is of first importance.
3. Why do many Christians allow the secular government to educate their children?
Either they are naive to the problem or can't afford a private school or have a barrier to themselves doing the teaching or they trust the power of God to sustain them living in the world but not of it.
4. Why is modesty a dirty word in the church?
I have never heard someone say it is. Some have never heard the word so they practice immodesty.
5. Why is the Lord's Supper often more like a funeral than a celebration?
Some bad traditions feel holy when done in somber mode.
6. Why are Christians in the military?
They believe in justice and protecting the innocent from killers, along with bearing the sword like Romans says.
7. Why do many Christians segregate by age?
That is what they have been taught, it's comfortable, seems to be wise in their own eyes, and have never seen it done any other way.
8. Why are we surprised when we suffer for Christ?
It rarely happens. We don't go where it might happen.
9. Why are so many pastors paid salaries?
That is what everyone was taught, no one has examined the scriptures that say otherwise, and it's all very comfortable to direct your 'giving" to buy spiritual goodies that benefit mostly yourself.
10. Why do so many simple church folks have poorly-defined doctrine?
Most of them have come out of institutional churches where it is defined in a very non-relational or nonfunctional way. All doctrine is for doing, not merely knowing. When doctrine is primarily lectured to them, this does not produce the ability to re-state it themselves in coherent terms.
11. Why do churches spend so much money on themselves? It's what they have always done. They feel it looks good. No one has every checked the Word to see if it says anything different.
12. Why does the church deny any Christians access to the Lord's table?
They don't think they are competent to speak about it. They are content for a pro to take that opportunity from them.
13. Why do many Christians invest so much in secular politics?
They don't think it's secular. They see every element of life as part of building God's kingdom.
14. Why do we divide over so many inconsequential issues?
There is money and ego riding on each sectarian brand. We don't have relationships with the spiritual depth to interact on the differences.
15. Why do we expect secularists to care about Christian principles?
Many of them follow Christian principles already. They just don'e know they are sourced in the Bible. Bible principles always function better than godless principles. We hope not every secularist is a fool, professing themselves to be wise. Some secularists are on a journey searching for the truth. Secularists expect believes to suck up to their beliefs.