Twice this past week, I was struck by the importance of good questions. The first time I was reading COMMUNITY by Peter Block. At one point he talks about different kinds of conversations that we need to develop a deeper community life. The conversations are centred around questions. Here are some examples: What have you said yes to that you no longer really mean? What forgiveness are you withholding? What promise do you need to make that you are postponing? What is the gift you holding in exile (withholding from the community)? These and others that he asks are good questions that can be foundation of good conversations.
Then I picked up another book, LOVE IS AN OREINTATION, by Andrew Marin. At one point he talks about questions. He notes that Jesus was asked many questions. Usually he turned the questions into new questions. Jesus was asked “who is my neighbour?” Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan and asked “which one was a neighbour”? Andrew wants to do the same so that new conversations can happen. So rather than asking can a gay person change is sexual orientation (a source of debate) he prefers to ask “what is changing is changing in your life as a result of your relationship with God?” That would result in a new conversation and probably a better one.
So I began to wonder what have been some of the best questions in the context of the elder’s work in the congregation. Leading the congregation in good conversations that create fresh consideration of the way we seek to live our lives faithful to God is vital to our call. Good questions are open question. Good questions force us to consider parts of our lives we would prefer to ignore. Good questions make us consider that perhaps there is a way that is more faithful to God.
So what are the better questions you have asked? Let’s share.