How to be…a Curious Quest-ioner on this Journey

Reflections from Dr. Howell

People regularly ask me, as if they’re embarrassed or worried, What if I have doubts? I get the concern, but being spiritual isn’t having all the answers. Spirituality isn’t certainty as much as it’s curiosity. God wired us and wants us to wonder, to peek behind what seems obvious, to ask questions of ourselves, God and the world. Doubt has been the path to all great discoveries, and is the secret to creativity.

Smart people can be spiritual! and the smart people might help us see what is spiritual differently and more fully. You don’t check your intelligence and learning at the door of spirituality. Dig in. Press hard. Never say You’ve just got to trust… Entertain questions – from little children or big smart grownups.

Some in our church are discussing Magrey DeVega’s great book, Questions Jesus Asked. {Not too late to join!} Jesus asked plenty of questions, and welcomed them. No doubt, no line of inquiry bugs God. Being spiritual is mixing it up in a safe space for questions and doubt – with God and with life, and even with yourself.

To ask a question implies humility – the fertile ground-soil of the spiritual life. I don’t know what I hope to know, I don’t believe as I hope to believe, I don’t understand what I may begin to understand, I don’t yet live as I dream of living. The spiritual life isn’t having arrived, but the quest (which is the first 5 letters of question!). I know people who exhibit a confident certainty about the things of God – and I don’t begrudge them this mood. But I worry, and don’t want to be that person myself. It’s God! It’s a complex world. It’s pretty messy and complex inside me. And things even the wisest firmly believed a century ago are now laughable.

Our questions inevitably return home; the spiritual life is taking pleasure in being questioned – trusting that the hard questions coming later in our series, about attitudes, habits, negativity, and even the foolish mistakes of thought we treasure so lovingly, will only bring truth, healing and freedom. Spirituality is asking, and being asked, with an overflow of candor.

So, like little kids, let’s laugh at ourselves and ask … whatever. Be curious about how the world really works – and how you tick, and what’s going on in the other guy. Wonder what’s on God’s mind or in God’s heart – and questions we’ll be taking up soon in this series, like Why am I here? Why is there a world at all? Will I have a friend in this spiritual quest?

TRY THIS: jot down your questions about life, the world, God, and you. Notice how cool and holy they are.