Exploring Questions of Faith and Life

Faith and Life QuestionsHave you ever had a question, but were afraid to ask it?

Many times I’ve been in classes where asking a question seemed like the dumbest thing to do. Who wants to look stupid? Certainly not me. And yet I’ve heard and said it myself, “The only dumb question is one not asked.”

I wonder how many questions lie packed away in the recesses of our minds that if asked could have changed our lives significantly?

On a regular basis I encounter people who so desperately want to ask questions about faith and life. However, they’re only willing to ask these questions and discuss them if they are given the freedom to do so and a safe place to ask them in.

Now asking questions is no guarantee that there are answers that will fill in the blanks or make clear what is mysterious. For example, “Why is there suffering if God is good?” That’s a great question and one that challenges both faith and life.

The questions you have are probably many of the questions I have too. They are human questions that probe at the mysteries of life and the God behind that life.

Asking questions does not indicate lower intelligence nor do they necessarily suggest a lack of faith. In fact, asking questions are necessary to all kinds of growth, including faith. St. Anselm, one of the early church fathers, is credited with coining the phrase “faith seeking understanding.” Our questions are the way we seek a faithful understanding of both God and life.

Are there black and white answers to questions of faith and life? Some would suggest there are, but I would be wary of anyone who thinks they can put God or life in a box, as if there was nothing left to be revealed or understood.

Christian faith exists because it confesses a particular revelation of both God and life. However, it also recognizes that there is far more mystery around our meager understandings of God and life than actual certainty in terms of black and white facts. Realizing that humbles me and yet I am confident in continuing to ask and explore questions trusting that God lovingly holds all creation in the midst of so much mystery.

If you are interested in exploring these questions of faith and life I invite you to join me at Trinity Lutheran beginning Wednesday, January 16 from 7-8:30 pm. Bring your questions about God, salvation, church, life or whatever, and let’s seek a faithful understanding together.

– Pastor Tim Graff

* This article appeared in the Ponoka News on January 9, 2013

4 Replies to “Exploring Questions of Faith and Life”

  1. The fear of asking important questions, often ones which we struggle with, is an important one to address. I believe this fear comes as a result of concern of being ostracized or rejected or not being heard. Veiws strongly held by others as immutable and unquestioned often allows for little or no discussion to take place on these subjects. Questions for instance of the divinity of Christ and his resurrection are part of Christian creeds. Challenging traditional interpretations of these creeds or offering a worldview that includes significant parts of other religious traditions, has personally been difficult to talk about unless with close confidantes. Creating an atmosphere of acceptance and respect for views that are honestly held involves, in my experience, a significant time of developping relationships of trust in the absence of judgement. My needs this in area are important. I hope these needs will not be minimized.

  2. Further to asking questions of faith and life: recently I was in a group of Christian men and asked what the experience of faith was like, whether it was something that was consciously experienced, an act of will or was it about trust. Maybe even all of the above. I was referred to passages in the Epistles either those of John or James where faith is described as believing in something unseen. As I think about it now, without referencing that particular passage, I believe faith is believing in the presence of love and goodness in the world, in the very structure of the universe, part of our human consciousness. The Christian tradition, through its understanding of Jesus’ life and mission, sees the phrase “the Kingdom of God”, as I understand it, as exactly that place in others and in ourselves where love and goodness exists.

    1. The Christian tradition directs faith at the Source of love and goodness, but considers love, goodness, peace…as the fingerprints of God’s kingdom activity.

    2. The creed “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth” is a powerful, all encompassing statement of belief, like a line of poetry that resonates in memory through its familiarity. I wonder if much of religious belief is this assent, an acknowledge of the enormity of what we are saying, and the wonder of who we are and where we are.

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