it all starts with a question

‚ÄčAbout four years ago a US paratrooper was given an honorable discharge. He’d had a religious experience which left him convinced that as a Christian he could no longer shoot and kill another human being. Pat was doing talkback at the time, and the event lead to some interesting conversations. He asked his listeners the question “Can a Christian participate in War?” and found that he had several callers who used the same passage from the bible to support both an affirmative and a negative response. It got him thinking about the contentious questions the church has a hugely varied response to. The reality is that we can be sitting “in the pew” next to others who hold completely different views to us on certain issues. Can a Christian participate in war? Can a Christian be an evolutionist? Can a Christian be Gay? These are just a few of the questions to which the response from Christians across the church would not be unanimous.  How can we love each other as Christ commands us to when our ideas about our faith are so different? How can we respect each other as individuals and fellow Christians while we disagree on so many things? The answer begins with a question. Do we really understand each other? Jesus liked questions. Through the gospels we read time and time again that when people came to Jesus with a problem, he responded with a question. After he’d calmed the storm, he asked the disciples in the boat “Why are you afraid?”  When Jesus encounters a blind man, he asks him “what do you want from me?” When Jesus walks by John and two of his disciples, the two disciples follow after Jesus and he turns to them and asks the same question. “What do you want?” What do you want? A question is empowering. It passes the baton of conversation onto the other person, and gives them the power, in that moment, to speak. In the art of conversation a question shows interest in the other person, it puts attention onto them rather than the questioner. But more than anything a question is respectful. A question expects that the person being questioned has the ability and the resources to answer. I’ve experienced in my own life, through spiritual direction, that the right question can be a gift. It can lead to new understandings, new ways of thinking, and a fresh perspective. It can sometimes even be the key that unlocks a whole problem. elephant TV is a simple idea that was borne out of a simple question; “Can a Christian participate in war?” There are endless varieties of that same question, and we’ve set up elephantTV to explore some of them. Our motivation is not to cause division but to help us to understand each other better. To be a resource that enables us as Christians to love each other, despite our differences. It all starts with a question…


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