The question

As technology, ideas and the world itself moves ever forward, the
christian church has been grappling with the difficult questions. It has always been like this and I suspect it will continue to be like this. The more learned write papers and books, the less learned read them. Many of us blog, tweet and post Facebook statuses. Teachers teach and preachers preach and ideas and attitudes change or not depending on who is the most influential. I wonder if in all the struggling with the difficult questions, that we missed the point, that we have missed the central question of it all?

Throughout the NT we see Jesus ask questions, tell stories, live His life by and even on occasion simply teach principles to live by and emulate. Jesus is continually calling, encouraging and even perhaps begging us to self examination and reflection for the purpose of those things leading to transformation.  In many ways, arguably the most famous teachings of Jesus in the sermon on the mount found in Matthew chapters 5-7 is a self examination checklist. Is my life reflecting these teachings? Am I the salt of the earth? Am I light? A peacemaker, do I mourn, do I really hunger and thirst for righteousness? It goes on.

John Wesley is credited with opening his group meetings with this somewhat famous question: “How is it with your soul?” The purpose was actually rather simple. It goes deeper than how are you doing, it goes deeper than how are the wife and kids, it goes deeper than how is the job. It cuts directly to the central question in the journey of faith. How is it with your soul? How is the transformation process going in your life? So, your heart was strangely warmed- great- what has come next? Before any teaching on the difficult things, before any grappling with the times and our place in them as Christians, there was the central question – the question Jesus kept referring us to as well- How is it with your soul?

United Methodist churches and authors have written volumes on the subject and encouraged us to ask each other the question to keep ourselves honest. When was the last time someone asked you? No one has asked me. I have often been asked my stance on the bible, on free will, on predetermination, on the sacraments as a means of grace, on foot washing, etc. but not really the central question. Lately it has all centered on the question of what my stance on homosexuality is. How sad is it that in this day and age, after several thousand years to have the ability to examine the importance of the central question that seemingly everyone is asking what is your stance on homosexuality, and seemingly no one is asking how is it with your soul?

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2 Replies to “The question”

  1. Risking to be considered sticking meddling, since it appears to be a question for Methodists, let me comment that the issue of questions is pretty much the “question du jour”… Today is homosexuality… Risking again, to be called a fundamentalist, which I have gotten so used to be but no one “fundaments” their name calling of me in particular, allow me to revolutionize the issue and say that all these questions so focused on homosexuality, are small fires lit by the devil so we can take our eyes for the serious issues of biblical doctrine, Christian conduct, Christian worldview, and other aspects of which most church goers are completely ignorant.

    I do believe that Scott has an excellent point in terms of technology and new discoveries and using Jesus as an example of a great questioner. As a matter of fact Jesus would un-answer some questions by offering a His answer more adequate to the time, called by Paul “fullness of times” after His appearing; so it is nothing wrong to question something based upon the times: “Haven’t you heard what it has been said? But I say unto you… He did that with the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves and rendering “self love” as inadequate and that the real and new standard should be “love as I loved you!” which is real sacrificial love. He did the same in matters of adultery, personal relationship, resolving personal issues with others, social conduct, social programs, the yoke of legalism, who we should follow and find rest, the way to the Father and how and who would receive knowledge about God, among a few others. So, yes, We should learn with Jesus! I repeatedly said here in other posts that God welcomes our questioning!

  2. I promise to proofread bu dictations… Dictations to cell phones or computer software is really limited… I may as well just write and stop being lazy! Terrible text above! Terrible!

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