Who’s asking?


(Photograph ©  Tom)

There are more questions than answers  or at least so sang Johnny Nash.

 Yet I can’t help thinking that the church is sometimes trying to answer questions which God isn’t asking.

 Churchy questions I have heard are:

  • How can we foster a sense of Circuit identity?
  • How can we fill the preaching plan?
  • How do we recruit new leaders?
  • And How do we pay the assessment?

God’s questions are different. The Bible has many suggestions for what they might be, but I would start with these:

  • What are we doing to defend the oppressed, take up the cause of the fatherless, and plead the case of the widow?
  • What are we doing to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the prisoners?
  • What are we doing to seek and save the lost?
  • Where can we serve, rather than be served?

It might be argued that once we answer the churchy questions satisfactorily, then we will be better placed to move on to God’s agenda, but I don’t see any evidence for that.

Instead I wonder whether at worst it is actually displacement activity.

Thomas Pynchon wrote “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”

So what questions do you think God is asking?

3 thoughts on “Who’s asking?

  1. Never heard of ‘displacement activity’; but another couple of ‘d’s come to mind: distraction, diversion… Another way of saying the same thing? Only one step from there to red herrings… Or in biblical terms, “what’s the greatest commandment?”, “is it right to pay taxes to Caesar?”, “is it lawful to work on the Sabbath?”!!!

    I think the West’s greatest challenge to genuine faith has to be, How do we engage meaningfully and constructively with the most disaffected who view religion as divisive and therefore the root of society’s problems, even evils?

    Actually, I’m not convinced this is even feasible all the while churches, faiths, religions bicker amongst themselves… Consider “…be at peace with all…” alongside “..let us follow after things which make for peace, and things by which we may build one another up.” (Rom 12.8, 14.9) … united we stand, divided we fall…?

    (apologies for negativity, but food for thought at least I hope)

  2. I think I understand Displacement Activity. It is like responding to blogs such as this when I should be getting on with more important things.

    I think the wrong question is being asked David. “What questions do I think God is asking?”
    In my spiritual walk with Him I have found the relationship to be most fruitful when I ask Him the questions. Of course it does mean a ‘discerning ear’ to hear His answers – which may then have to be tested. Some of the answers are indeed questions by return. But they are questions concerning my motivations in being a bridesmaid (service to His church here on earth). He has shown me my giftings and placed me in situations a number of times when I have had to ask “Why Lord?” He has only shown the answer in retrospect…but has never left me completely confused. I recognise He wants us to walk by faith and not by sight.

    At least David, you will be released from those ‘churchy’ questions in your new role to explore God’s questions more. He may need you to ask Him a lot of questions first. I am sure you have. In the new initiative in which you are involved, I trust you will be helped by those who recognise their giftings in administrative support who tend to need to ask the churchy questions.

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