Monday, March 31, 2008

Questioning God

We’re getting ready for our monthly case study at work. That’s where one of us presents an in-depth look at one of the congregations we’ve been working with and drill down deeply into it so we can learn what we’re doing and grow our ability to work well with congregations. As part of the getting ready, we’ve been reading “The Art of Powerful Questions: Catalyzing Insight, Innovation, and Action.”

The article is a little more exciting than it sounds – but then I guess it would have to be. I did find myself thinking about my recent blog on “To Be or Not to Be – Together In God.” In it I posited that it might be a good idea for faith groups to stop and ask questions – the prime among them being “What is God calling us to do and be in this place at this time with this people?” In “The Art of Powerful Questions,” the author say that compelling questions

  • meet people where there is the most energy and relevance for them
  • are simple clear and penetrating
  • involve people’s values, hopes and ideals
  • and shift from a fix-it focus to a possibility focus

As I reflected on those ideas, I found myself saying, “Yes” in relation to gathering people of faith and asking that “What is God…” question framed in such a way that it does the above four things. I think that would lead, as we open ourselves to the Spirit, to a new way of being the people of God in a specific locale.

That doesn’t mean such a conversation would be easy. Good answers to good questions rarely are easy (except for when I asked Nancy to marry me over nineteen years ago – I found the question easy, she thought it was a good question, and I though her answer was equally fine). But I do think that the asking, with the guidance of God’s spirit would take any congregation to a new place of discovery about God’s will and would open up the idea of possibilities rather than fixing what’s wrong. Perhaps we would learn, to our surprise, that we are doing what God wants and nothing needs to change. I think it’s more likely though that we’d find ourselves and our fellow worshippers called to step out in faith in new directions and to do some new things. What they might be, I can’t imagine – but God can.


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