Friday, November 18, 2005

Questions and Doubt

Lately I've been reading the book 'TrueFaced' by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol and John Lynch. Essentially it is a book that helps challenge us about wearing masks. In ancient times, Greek actors used very large masks to convey the emotions of the character they were playing so that people distant from the stage could follow the story. This is the origin of the word 'hypocrite', literally, 'one who wears a mask'.

None of us wants to be the big-cross, bible-thumping, wwjd-wearing, fake-talking person who doesn't really believe what they say or live what they preach. In other words, we don't want to be Pharisees! And the fear of becoming a Pharisee drives us into the closet unwilling to share the best news we've ever heard. David Alexander

When doubt comes we all need a safe place to ask the questions that scream inside of our head. We all need people who will come alongside of us and help us struggle well with life. Otherwise we'll pretend we have it all together and out comes the mask. Following Jesus then becomes 'Churchianity', or wearing 'church-happy-face'.

A Christian doesn't avoid the questions; a Christian embraces them. In fact, to truly pursue the living God, we have to see the need for questions.

Questions are not scary.

What is scary is when people don't have any.

What is tragic is faith that has no room for them...

...this is why questions are so central to faith. A question by its very nature acknowledges that the person asking the question does not have all of the answers. And because the person does not have all of the answers, they are looking outside of themselves for guidance.

Questions, no matter how shocking or blasphemous or arrogant or ignorant or raw, are rooted in humility. A humility that understands that I am not God. And there is more to know.

Questions bring freedom. Freedom that I don't have to be God and I don't have to pretend that I have it all figured out. I can let God be God.

'Velvet Elvis' by Rob Bell

2 Corinthians 3:17-19 (NIV)
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

It's hard for paper mache to reflect God's glory. Take your mask off and don't fear asking your questions.


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