devozine

Spiritual Practice

WHALE OF A QUESTION

Darren Wright

“Daddy, why would people kill whales?” my son asked. I almost broke into tears.

My family recently explored the Albany Whaling Station, the last operating whale station in Australia. While there, we heard the history of the whaling industry as well as stories of the people and communities that used to hunt, kill, and process whales.

Some of the stories and images were alarming, so I tried to distract our 4-year-old son from the most graphic ones. But when he and I decided to take a break from the tour, we accidently encountered a photo of a whale being processed. That moment sparked his painful question.

So we entered into a difficult conversation about our world and money and how we fail to care for the world around us. I think we will be exploring big questions like this for most of our lives—questions that ask more of us and our faith than one simple answer could ever provide.

I’m glad I was there with my son. And since I was asking the same question, I suggested that we could help each other work through it together.

Hard questions often require a community to process.

 

Engaging Questions

I certainly found that to be true when I began studying theology at university. Theology is the study of God and is often a required course for someone preparing to be a pastor, priest, or youth worker.

Every year, a new group of students would begin searching for answers to their questions about God. And every year, some of them would leave disappointed that they were not given the answers they were looking for—because theology invites us to ask questions more often than it provides answers.

devozine Questions from God FTR TS 78617331I love asking questions. I loved being part of a community that asked and explored difficult questions about life, meaning, faith, God, Jesus, and the Church. The more I studied about God, the more questions I had.

Jesus loved asking questions too. And instead of giving a straight answer to other people’s questions, he often practiced a well-known teaching method in the Jewish tradition: answering questions with a question or a story. Though sometimes frustrating, this process invites us into relationship, into story-sharing, into a space where God can speak and help us work through our questions.

 

DIG DEEPER

I am thankful to devozine for being a dedicated space for people to work through questions together without feeling the need to have all the answers. I hope that you and your youth group have used devozine to help you grapple with questions about your lives, your community, and your faith. And since this is the last issue of devozine, I hope you continue to find safe spaces for questions to be asked and explored.

To that end, I challenge you to try an exercise with your youth group. Ask people to write on a separate sticky note each of their questions about life, faith, God, Jesus, scripture, and the Church and to post them on the wall. As the wall is covered in sticky notes, take some time to marvel at the depth and breadth of the questions held by your community. Then invite your youth group or church to find ways to engage, to explore, and to live with these questions together.

We also invite you to share your questions on Instagram or Facebook @devozine #livingthequestions—not for us to answer, but so that devozine might honor the questions asked by young people around the world.

Darren Wright serves a worshipping community in Gungahlin, Australia. He loves storytelling, reading books, and building train tracks and marble runs with his children.

—from devozine (January/February 2020). Copyright © 2019 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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