Saturday, January 24, 2009

QUESTIONS: The wisdom of ignorance (part one)

At the start of this year, the guy who is the pastor of the church I attend here in Miami told us that the single most important question we could ask this year would be “Is this the wise choice to make?” We are to ask this in light of any situation presented to us – seeing if wisdom would prevail. Moreso, seeing if we would trust the wisdom grated to us by God and be willing to actually act on the wisdom granted to us; there are a number of times that God has given me the wisdom and guidance I need, but me in my hardheadedness routinely opts to ignore the wisdom presented to me. I’m just a rebellious little cuss like that.

When he first posed this as THE question to ask this year, I thought to myself then, as I still do to a degree now, “Dude – you’re wrong.” For me, there are a number of other questions that could be seen as just as pressing as the one he posed: “Is this milk expired?” “Can I still wear those jeans?” “Is the island moving just in time or in space also?” From both a theological and practical standpoint, while I don’t see his question as THE most important one to ask all year long with every decision I would make, I do agree with the manner in which he suggested we think about our choices.

See – what he did (intentionally or not – hey, there’s some evidence of Divine Intervention here) was say that we should ask in advance “Is this the wise choice to make,” and NOT to look at the decision before us, weigh the options, make a decision, and then state “This is the wise choice to make.” While some people might argue that this is just a matter of semantics, there’s also something much, much deeper there:

One is a statement. One is a question.

And since at church, they’re wrapping up a series on Character, I find it amazingly refreshing – again, intentional or not – that it’s implied that questioning things is not seen as a character flaw, nor is it seen as a bad thing to do.

Or, as I like to look at it – there is wisdom in ignorance. There is a bit of maturity in not acting as an authority on every situation presented and making a declaration as someone who would instinctively know how to act on something. It’s not a character flaw to simply say “I don’t know.” Many people are simply afraid to be seen as someone who isn’t an authority on any choice, situation, or circumstance presented before them. They may believe they’ll be seen as something less than what they may in fact think they’re supposed to be seen as.

Me? I love not knowing everything. It keeps me humble, reminds me of the feet of clay I have, makes me less likely to simply depend on myself for everything and not seek out the counsel and fellowship of others, and I quite honestly love learning. Even if it’s learning about something I know a great deal about, but learning it from a new perspective, from a new voice.

I’ve held a lifetime fascination with the idea of questions and faith. Partially because I was raised to believe that questioning anything runs counter to the idea of and application of faith (“If your faith was stronger, you wouldn’t questions”), but also because I’ve come to understand that those questions that keep me up late at night and make me write really long, rambly blogs about are central TO my faith and to my relationship with God.

[And since this is getting a little long...END OF PART ONE – COME BACK SOON FOR PART TWO]

1 comment:

andysbethy said...

I think I was raised to ask questions. I certainly am trying to raise my boys to do so.
Thanks for sharing yours, in a form that I can come back to and look over at my leisure.
I think I mostly wanted to say, amen . Which in my vocabulary means, I agree, and may it be so.