Friday, February 15

Questions

I was recently amused to read Elisabeth Elliot's account of a question-answer time at a college where she was speaking...

I was one of the panel of experts...discussing the subject of marriage...Afterward there were lots of questions. But it was hard to figure out just what the questions were. Here is one of them (verbatim--I did not make this up. It was taped and then transcribed)

Um--like--um--I have a couple questions. Do you think--like--that--uh--do you think a woman could have a call just to be--like--a wife, but not--like--not just to be a wife--like, say, you know--if you're gonna be personal--like--my own engagement--like--I have a gift of--you know--a talent in music, you know--like--I mean, I know you're not saying--like--you know, especially in that case, I mean, you're saying more like--you have--like--I think our greatest thing in common probably is--um--is that--you know--is the dedication to serve God--you know--in the desire to, to follow--you know--to do his leading and--like--neither of us, you know, and especially in this kind of life you don't have a blueprint of what you--what he's gonna be doing necessarily, you know--and I'm just kinda concerned because like--you know--I've even thought about that cause I've kinda had a conflict--you know--growing up that way--you know--I'm talented musically--you know--so therefore I should probably look for somebody that's talented musically but he--he likes it--you know--I mean, he doesn't understand it totally but I'm sure we could live happily together with it, you know, but I don't expect him to have a--you know--yearning to go to all the Beethoven concerts or anything--you know--but I mean--I've heard of very happy marriages where--you know--there's quite different--you know--interests--you know--there.

(I apologize for not knowing the rules of punctuation for this kind of English.) Nobody on the panel knew what the girl was asking. She was confused--that came through loud and clear, but she might have seen through some of the fog simply by making the effort to clarify and shorten her question.

The kind of questions we ask reveals a lot about the kinds of things going on in our heads. They reveal the kinds of things we think about, value and cherish. I like to ask questions. Many of my "M Blog" posts are an attempt to answer a question. I have discovered over the years that a lot of people do not like questions. Questions have a way of challenging the status quo. Questions rock the boat. I know that many times my questions have gotten me into trouble! But questions are what makes life interesting.

"We tend to prefer answers to questions" says Charles Ringma in his devotional, Dare to Journey -- "Answers are meant to reassure. Questions usually disturb us."

As a missionary "strategy coordinator" (SC), some of the questions that "disturb" my comfort zone include:

--how will we reach the remaining 25 under-reached counties in our province?

--what needs to happen in order to fulfill the Great Commission in Ecuador in this generation?

--what needs to happen for our group of churches to network in a more unified and cooperative way?

--how do we mobilize the existing Body of Christ out into the fields of harvest?

--what will it take to get believers to transform from "come to us" churches into "go make disciples" churches?

--what will a church planting movement look like in our Ecuadorian context?

--are we hearing all that the Lord is trying to say to us?

--how do we start a sustainable prayer movement?

--who are the national leaders emerging from the harvest that I need to be pouring myself into these days?

--when is the missionary task completed in Guayaquil? (and closely related...)

--is our presence still needed in Guayaquil or is our presence more of a hindrance to the work?

--how do we finance the growing physical and social needs that we see all around us without falling into the dependency trap of relying on outside resources?

--how do we integrate into the greater City-Church here in Guayaquil--what will this look like?

What kinds of questions are on your heart and mind?

5 comments:

Darrell said...

The questions I am asking God are:

Where did all the good soil go?

When I find the good soil how can I plant the seed in such a way that they can hear the Word and not be distracted by me or my methods.

Why is making loving obedient disciples that go and do the same taking so long?

GuyMuse said...

Darrell,

I hear you, man. Good questions. Neil Cole says Bad people make good soil--there's a lot of fertilizer in their lives. The "good soil" you are looking for is found amongst those who are viewed as "rejects" of society. In our case they are usually the rejected, the poor, the uneducated, the lower classes, the sick, the hopeless.

Kevin, Somewhere in South America said...

Guy,

Um--like-man, you know--um...

I liked your questions. They show forethought and passion. Here are my most burning questions since going on STAS:

1. What will it take to be both effective and efficient in my field?

2. Am I useful as a "cog" in the gears, or am I "the main clog?"

3. How will we turn Peruvian Baptist's heart outward to see the world, not just Peru?

4. Why, oh why, did I eat that hamburger for lunch today!?

GuyMuse said...

Kevin,

I like your questions as well. Peru and Ecuador are very alike in many aspects and your questions parallel my own. Your #2 is the similar to a couple of my own questions. As for the hamburger you had for lunch, that sounds so good right now!

Kevin, Somewhere in South America said...

that burger tasted good! but it has stayed around longer than I wanted.

I have other questions, too; but they sound so much like yours that I did not voice them.

Keep up the good work...