Monday, July 9, 2012


I have been associated with academia, whether as a student, an advisor, or a professor, for nearly my full life. One of the things that students are given permission to do and, in fact, are encouraged to do, is to ask questions of their instructors. Asking questions is an important way to clear up misunderstandings and confusions when they arise, and is a critical avenue to claim ownership of concepts. Further, I am certain that nearly all of us have heard our instructors say something that is incorrect or unfounded. If we do not seek and receive answers to our questions, we may accept such untruth, which can subvert our growth and, in some cases, the very foundations on which we build everything else.

From my own experience going back over several decades, the best instructors were the ones who gave full freedom to ask questions and then took our questions seriously. I would hasten to add that any instructor who eschews questions or who think themselves too unassailable to allow questions, are only inviting revolt and rancor. Neither of which are conducive toward gaining wisdom.

So, when it comes to our faith, why should we accept our pastors as unapproachable? Proper understanding of the Bible may actually be some of the most important instruction that we can receive. Why should we not be able to ask questions and engage in a true interactive dialog with our "professors in the faith"? I would further submit that any pastor who refuses the queries of true seekers of the light from their flock, is no pastor that I want any part of. Theirs is the baliwick of cult leaders or a haughty pride.

I have been part of several different churches over the years, led by sincere, giving servants. These men of God have been more than happy to listen as I asked questions, to give thoughtful and prayerful answers, and to admit when they were uncertain. This type of relationship is important and necessary for me. I need to be able to ask questions and know that I can find safety and wisdom in their replies.