Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's OK To Question

The most challenging question any Christian can face is the one posed by Jesus himself, "Who do you say I am?"

Most of us will be tempted to give a pat answer, affirming that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the savior of the world.

But if we go back to the question as Jesus posed it, "Who do you say that I am?" the true answer will have to be more personal, not something taught, not something imposed from without, but something realized from within.

And there's the rub. For an authentic answer comes only after a long time of standing in the question.

By nature our intellects seek the truth, but our impatience often leads us to settle for quick answers. We want to know and we want to know right now.

Standing in the question, living with the mystery, requires patience and the honesty to admit, "I don't know."

When some of Jesus' early disciples asked him, "Where do you stay?" he replied, "Come and see!" He refused to give them a pat answer. He wanted them to discover it for themselves.

Jesus does the same with us. The Jesus of our childhood must give way to the Jesus of our adult years. And as we age it becomes clear that our picture of Jesus, our understanding of who he is, changes (or should change) too.

Many Christians rebel against the notion that we do not have all the answers. Those raised on a catechism's Q&A often assume that we know it all, or at least that we know enough.

To question is not to doubt. To question is to be a seeker. It is the sign of a living faith. It implies openness to growth. It means we are stil disciples (the word means "student").

Questioning was what Mary did ("How can this be?"), what John the Baptist did ("Are you the one?"), what Nicodemus did ("How can a man be born again?"). The rush to answer often precludes a full picture.

It's OK not to have an answer to "Who do you say that I am?". It's not OK to stop pursuing the question.

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