Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why I Ask Questions And Don't Give Answers

I've had some questions recently about my blog and my approach. My blog is a bit unconventional, which can raise questions. Back in 2008, when I started this, I wrote a couple of posts explaining how the blog developed (which can also be found on the right-hand side of the blog below the picture of Jacob wrestling with the angel). However, sometimes it's good to revisit the purpose, especially as it can change over time.

The biggest question I get is why I ask so many questions, leave them open-ended, and don't give clear stances. A lot of people want the clear, unambiguous answers, particularly related to spirituality. Heck, Wikipedia cites professor Rob Wall as saying Mark Driscoll's authoritative, clear, definitive speech is what makes him so popular. I agree.

This blog isn't for those people. It's also not for people wanting to find out what Christianity is about. It's not for "baby Christians."

My intention is to write a blog for people who have been Christians and have questions. They have doubts. Struggles. My purpose is to provide a space where people can have questions, doubts, struggles, and ambiguity while not having to give up faith.

So often the institutional church creates a perceived and real ultimatum of doctrinal certitude that if you don't believe a certain thing, then you may not be a Christian. I personally believe there is a very small number of issues that really determine a person's salvation. I was talking to a friend just the other day that I have a relationship with God that exists beyond doctrine. Virtually all of my beliefs could be proven to be false, and I would still struggle with giving up my faith because of that relationship.

My faith is based on relationship, not doctrine.

Doctrine, while important, can often lead to impediments in our relationship with God, usually because of man-made wall that our friends construct. While I do believe in walls, I have also found that there comes a time when people have to discover them on their own. Simply being told about the walls and enforcing them doesn't always help growth. Helping people explore and understand and discover the boundaries and mysteries of life and faith is much more powerful.

So even when I do make a more definitive statement or take a position, I also usually attach questions to it. My goal is to get people to think and think critically about themselves and their faith.

I do the same thing in my psychology practice. Many people come in looking for advice. They generally don't get advice from me. I help them come up with the advice they give themselves.

So why do I ask questions? Because millions of people ask the same ones and need a forum to know that they're not alone and can still pursue God in the midst of those questions. Why don't I provide clear answers? Because I don't find that effective for the population I'm aiming at.

You may be one who wants clear answers. If questions or ambiguity hurt your faith, I don't recommend you continue to visit. I have found ambiguity pervades all of life, especially mine. The more I can come to accept and be comfortable with the ambiguity rather than forcing on an artificial answer, the closer to God I get. And that's my hope for those who read this blog.


  1. I'm so glad that you have this approach.
    So much of my fear through the years has been the result of wanting to know for sure exactly what was true! Which doctrine, which way to live . . . etc.

    Now, I am learning to live in the mystery.
    We will never know the mind of God (He being God, and all). we are given glimpses.

    Clearly, there will never be agreement on what scriptures "really say", since that argument has never ceased through the years.

    I live in "God is love" I trust that. I trust that if I need to know something, it will be made clear to me. If it's not clear at this point in time, God must know it doesn't need to be.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Lynelle! You stated it all very well, particularly in your last paragraph!!



Got a question, struggle, or doubt you'd like to see addressed here? Contact me, and I'll try to discuss it (and may even help you get an answer).