990 TO GO
Questions are good. They promote life and inspire change. Asking questions and seeking answers is a primary engine for advancement, growth, exploration, and discovery. Asking questions is a deliberate, conscious battle against the evil Angel of Death named Status Quo. As my hair grays and gives up its fight to exist, I find myself asking more and more questions. However, every answer to every question only serves to birth a thousand queries more, each possessing the potential to complicate my life even further. My mind is nowhere near big enough to hold all I want to know. Are my wanting to know and my desire to understand good? I seek to learn from the great theologians of the past and present but they agree with each other about as often as light and darkness exist in the same space, meaning that even the smart guys themselves are really no more sure of anything than I am. Am I becoming one of those people who is always learning but never becoming godly? Is my pursuit of understanding simply a modern day version of Eve’s reaching for the fruit? Maybe the bliss of ignorance is actually a desirable state of well-being. I can’t help but suspect that my desire to know is masking that which I really want and need: the simplicity of relationship and unity. I saw a bumper sticker once that I believe hints at the true human need and God’s strategy for meeting that need. The bumper sticker said, “God’s original plan was to hang out in the garden with a couple of naked vegetarians.” That bumper sticker exposes what we most deeply want – oneness, simplicity, relationship, stress-free living, no life clutter, no competition to survive, no paperwork, no maintaining of entropy-cursed possessions. However, until King Jesus returns to restore, renew, reconcile and redeem all of his creation, life remains complicated; and I have no option other than to learn how to best live in my current confused reality.
As I wait for the renewal of all things, I have some questions for which I would really like answers. For most of the questions, I am able to parrot back the memorized platitudes which serve as answers. I am able to correctly answer any doctrinal test put before me by any conservative church in America. But I suspect the questions for which I want answers have deeper meaning than can be covered by simple parroted platitudes. Here are ten questions to which I seek honest answers.
1 – Has the traditional American belief in the Rapture produced positive or negative results for planet Earth?
2 – If I believe that all people are equal in God’s eyes and that to him there is nether Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, is it wrong to insist on maintaining national borders? Am I a bigot without knowing it?
3 – Is there an alternate economic system that is not dependent on growth and the increasingly profligate consumption of material resources for its survival which will meet the needs of people without destroying the planet?
4 – Why does the church in America so strongly condemn skin sins (adultery, fornication, homosexuality) but through its silence give tacit approval to the sins of greed, pride, gluttony, hedonism, celebrity adulation, racism and entitlement, those sins which are inexorably destroying our lives, country and world?
5 – Do conservative evangelicalism and gnosticism ever intersect and do the lines between the two ever blur a bit?
6 – Is the debate over young earth versus old earth really about that or is it about winning the argument?
7 – Since evil requires design and intentionality just as much as does good, who or what is its source?
8 – At what point do we who follow Jesus initiate civil disobedience against corrupt, unjust authorities?
9 – When Jesus first sent out the 12 and the 70 to preach the Gospel (good news) of the Kingdom, his death and resurrection were future events not included in the Gospel presentation. What Gospel were the disciples to preach, and are we to incorporate that same message in our Gospel today?
10- The Bible teaches us that Jesus will return and establish one world government under his authority. Is it wrong for us today to desire one world government and to work towards creating the unity that will prevail when that government is established by King Jesus upon his return?
These ten questions are but a minor sample of the questions that run through my mind. Just when I think I understand something, I realize I am merely scratching the surface. Maybe the comfort of certainty in all things is too illusive to attain in our current sin altered state. Until King Jesus returns maybe I should just accept 42 as the answer to my quest for understanding.