Monday, April 2, 2012

Asking Why

My son is in the stage where everything we say and do is met with this simple inquiry: "why?" I can understand why many parents retort with, "because I said so."

-We're going to eat dinner now! Why?

-It's time for bed. Why?

-No, you can't watch another episode of Curious George. Why?!

-We're going to church to worship Jesus. Why?

That last one is a doozy.

I've made a commitment that I'll answer him with honesty and clarity, so I steer away from simplistic answers or ones that don't honor his curiosity. The question of "why" addresses the heart, requiring me to clarify my reasons and motives behind my choices and actions both as a parent and a pastor.

In this well-written article from The Jesuit Post, Matthew Dunch points out that both scientists and theologians ask "why" of the universe and come up wanting to create formulaic conclusions. Whether it's E=mc^2 or "God says it; I believe it; that settles it," we have a tendency as humans to want things finalized and in neatly packaged boxes. The problem is that this squelches our curiosity and imagination, our desire to investigate and explore who God is and what He is like. The "why" questions of my son reflect the "why" questions we all have. Why do bad things happen in our world? Why do some people seem to be blessed while others seem destined to suffer? Why am I here and what is my purpose?

On a more practical level, "why" demands that I have have given adequate thought and reflection to my decisions and actions. Why do we do small groups like this? Why do we attend this church? Why are we going on this missions trip? Why do I continue to do ministry? If I haven't prayerfully discerned the answers, I might be missing a critical truth that God wants to reveal.


It's a question worth asking.

1 comment:

  1. Simon Sinel has a great video on WHY at

    Watch it.