An honest question

Disciples, disciple-makers must create space for real questions, speaker tells conference

January 27, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG. Fla.

We always hear that there are no stupid questions. But as a student at Princeton Theological Seminary, the Rev. Pam Driesell was surprised to hear about a professor who was hard on people who asked questions.

When she finally took that professor’s class, a fellow student asked a question that was arrogant and dogmatic, and the professor cut him down to size. It was then that Driesell realized that the professor didn’t like expressions of a closed mind and limited theology that simply masqueraded as questions.

“It is imperative for us as students of Jesus to ask real, honest questions,” Driesell said, speaking at the Disciple-Making Church Conference Jan. 18.

Driesell preached on Matthew 28:16-20, in which Jesus sends out the disciples to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.”

“What does it mean for us to teach others while we ourselves are students?” Driesell asked.

Jesus is always telling stories that evoke more questions, she said.

Our challenge as disciples and as those who disciple is to “learn to ask honest questions — real questions — and to create space where those questions can emerge,” Driesell said.

An honest question is one that you ask without thinking that you know the right answer. An honest question doesn’t nudge in one way or the other. “Have you thought about seeing a therapist?” is not an honest question, Driesell said.

And like entering a search term on Google, you will get results based on the questions you ask. We should open ourselves up to ask the big questions — not “how to come up with a good program,” but “how to make better disciple.”

“Every question possesses a power that does not lie in the answer,” Driesell said. “There is no limit to what might emerge.”  

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