20 Questions, Or More.

I spent this past weekend being a leader on the youth retreat with my Charlottesville church, Portico. I could (and very well may) write several blog posts about the things we did (like shooting rifles and 9mm pistols, zip-lining, blobbing…), ways we experienced God (awesome worship, preaching and fellowship), and things we ate (is there sugar in it?…than YES!). But, because I know that once a blog post gets too long people won’t read it, I’m just going to share one thing for now.
I made lots of awesome new friends being a cabin leader. There was one girl in my cabin who had never been to church. She had very little knowledge about what Christians believed. The first night she pulled me aside and asked me to give her the “Low down” on all this “Stuff.” (This is where my heart started pounding...)This was the first of about 200 questions she asked me over the course of the weekend…
Both nights we spent time together sitting on her bunk, walking through what it meant to be a Christian and what we believe. Before I could even get one answer out she would be spitting out several more questions. I could not keep up. As flustered as it got trying to answer question after question (and can we pause for a second and note that these questions included topics like: abortion, homosexuality, heaven and hell, doing good works, why people cry when they pray, whether or not God existed before or after dinosaurs…basically she hit me with her best shots. Ok. Resume.) I was so amazed by her willingness to question everything in order to get the whole picture. She was totally unwilling to take anything at face value. It got me really thinking about the value of questioning things. Through her, God brought me back this weekend to an excerpt from a spiritual autobiography I had to write in undergrad. I structured it as an alphabet, and this was my Q:
"Q is for questions and questioning everything! It took me a long time to understand the importance of questioning the things I believe. But my questions transform my faith into something much more real and authentic. Every question leads to a search for answers and that search makes my faith more honest. In the past year or two, a lot of certainties in my faith have slowly begun to unwind as a result of letting my questioning heart spill open. It is the first time in my life I have let this happen. It is difficult, but the vulnerability of the situation makes me more certain that my faith is real, despite my doubt. Questioning is good because it often implies open-mindedness. And “open-mindedness” is an attractive concept in today’s culture. However, the danger behind both open-mindedness as well as questioning is that minds should only be open with the intent of eventually closing on something solid. Questioning should not be an endless state, but rather a path toward answers. I will not find the answers to all my questions, but I am always questioning with the hope of finding answers. That is why I am comfortable with my questioning spirit. I simply want to understand the heart of God better. Q is for questions and for finding God in the answers."
You may agree or disagree with this view of things, but my new friend had the courage to ask every hard question in the book. She wanted to understand who God was for herself. In order to get there, she needed honest answers to her honest questions. But, my prayer is that her open-mindedness will eventually lead her to something she can firmly believe in. My prayer is that she continues to ask questions and finds God in the answers.

3 comments:

  1. Elise I am so proud that you were prepared and willing to answer questions for this girl. She is in my prayers now, and I agree with you that I hope she will continue to question and find God in the answers.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this experience! I'm glad you were the one there to answer her questions, as I believe God intended. This post reminds me so much of college ministry that it's refreshing to hear about a young middle school girl already recognizing the value of questioning.

    love you and can't wait to hear more.
    xoxo

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  3. Is there sugar in it? Then YES...Hit me with her best shot...WHO ARE YOU WITH A MILLION QUOTES IN HER BLOG POST? oh yeah, my sister. Great post, I re read your undergrad essay again, I love it. You should write about C for camp too, obviouslly...

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