Sunday, March 5, 2017

Becoming Curious: A Spiritual Practice Of Asking Questions

I was raised to take scripture seriously as the Word of God, but when I simply didn't just take what I was being taught at face value, but had legitimate theological questions, I was made to feel ashamed of them. Questions sparked fear in my Sunday School teachers and in my parents. Questions created doubt within me. Doubt, not in God, but in myself; in that I was made to feel that to ask a question was somehow wrong. For years I suffered under that fear. Oh how I wish I had encountered a book like Casey Tygrett's Becoming Curious: A Spiritual Practice of Asking Questions a long time ago. 

As he writes, "Questions require us to see the kingdom of God as it is and as it can be in this moment, this time and this place in our story." Questions begin in curiosity. Curiosity and questions lead someone beyond their own limitations to the endless possibilities established by the creative act of grace. Questions don't necessarily lead to doubt but to deeper thinking. 

So why do so many fear questions? 

The author states, ". . . questions make us vulnerable, revealing that we don't know the answer, and not knowing the answer makes us feel weak. We begin to realize how truly unguarded and fragile we are when we ask our deepest questions." 

Yet Casey Tygrett shows how, in asking, we receive. Not always answers, because Christ came not to give us answers but himself.  And Jesus loved questions. Tygrett points this fact out, "Jesus in the Gospels engages with nearly 183 questions. Sometimes he asks, sometimes he's responding, but what I can't shake is that in the nearly three years Jesus had to transform the narrative of the people of God he often chose to ask instead of tell." I love that. As someone who was born questioning, I love a savior who delights in them, who understands how questions spark more questions and deeper thought to what he was asking or teaching. 

Questions, like the very Incarnation, are unsettling because they force us to expand our thinking. Christ calls us to question ourselves: our identity, our priorities, how we interact with others, how we love God, ourselves and others, and do we forgive as we are forgiven.

Christ understood that when we question, we are actively thinking, not just passively accepting. Questions open up our minds to more than the here and now, that when we question we are not settling for the status quo but striving to make and shape ourselves and the world around us into the kingdom of God (Christ always preached the kingdom not as some future place we go after death but what we are to strive for in our daily lives in the very places that we now live in). Questioning means that the person is not taking anything for granted but wants to comprehend truths beyond the shallow surface that so many simply glide along on. It is becoming like a little child and asking, "Why?" Such is the kingdom of heaven, as Christ reminded his disciples. 

Faith is not about finding better answers but in forming better questions. It's about letting go of expectations to experience the miracle that can be found in my daily life if I am present to it. This book offers followers of Christ the impetus to explore not only the questions that the author raises, but their own and to know that it is not only spiritually okay, it's desired by our Creator. Becoming Curious is a work that one can return to again and again to stir up the sediment of one's thoughts and return to a more reflective frame of mind. 

You can pre-order Becoming Curious: A Spiritual Practice of Asking Questions which will not be released until May 2017 by InterVarsity Press. 

Casey Tygrett's official website:

Official book trailer:

1 comment:

  1. This is so good -- and the book sounds wonderful. It seems so strange to me that questions could be interpreted as a lack of faith. Surely they're the ultimate expression of faith and humility (as opposed to proud certainty) -- and "without faith it is impossible to please God."

    I'm very intrigued by your comment about questions, "like the very incarnation," being unsettling. I have NEVER considered the incarnation being like a question. That really gets my mind racing!