among the books i am presently reading (i usually have around three on my plate at any given moment – 1 non-fiction book on various subject, 1 work of theology, and 1 work of fiction that i read at night before going to sleep) is daniel pink’s book “a whole new mind: why right-brainers will rule the future.” it is very interesting thus far.
chapter 4 begins with a wonderful story from gordon mackenzie of hallmark cards. mackenzie would often do guest speaking at schools and he would open each engagement with one question. i’ll let daniel pink tell about that question.
(mackenzie) would look around the classroom, notice the artwork on the walls, and wonder aloud who created the masterpieces.
“how many artists are there in the room?” mackenzie would ask. “would you please raise your hands?”
the response always followed the same pattern. in kindergarten and first grade classes, every kid thrust a hand in the air. in second grade classes, about three-fourths of the kids raised their hands, though less eagerly. in third grade, only a few children held up their hands. and by sixth grade, not a single hand went up. the kids just looked around to see if anybody in the class would admit to what they’d now learned was deviant behavior.
mackenzie uses the story to connect with the corporate hairball that he saw as the defeater of creativity. i think there is a great deal of truth in his thought but right now i want to use his story to briefly consider what happens to our questioning nature.
when we are kids we ask tons of questions and people celebrate our questions. it seems as though somewhere along the line we begin to think that only trouble makers continue to ask questions. we see questions as threats. we start pretending like we know the answers and staying silent lest someone discover that we don’t.
i think this is particularly true in faith communities. we expect and celebrate people asking questions before they are followers of JESUS. we continue to encourage people to ask questions when they are brand new followers of JESUS but it seems like at some point we start to consider asking questions a bad thing. we act as if questions are the opposite of faith.
it actually seems to me that it might be impossible to have faith without some form of questions. after all, “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (hebrews 11:1). to me “hope for” and “do not see” seem to imply action in the face of not knowing completely (i.e. questions). instead of bringing my questions out and trusting and acting in the midst of them i often find myself pretending like i have all the answers. what a sham! i have tons of questions. i may know the ONE WHO is the ANSWER but i still have more questions than i can express during my waking hours.
so i am going to steal an idea from all these “30 days of …” memes there seem to be on the internet and start my own. for me the next 30 days will be “30 days of asking questions.” i hope to ask some good ones and i would love to hear some of the best questions you have recently heard or asked.