2010 Questions

A list of questions to work on in 2010:

  • What is the essence of friendship? What are ten exercises you could conduct today to move toward the personal discovery of that essence?
  • To what degree can “felt” religious experiences be trusted as evidence for any particular viewpoint concerning God, the Holy Spirit, or the miraculous?
  • Which is more likely to be reliable:  a) a one-time overwhelming visceral and emotional experience?  b) an overwhelming “ah-ha” at the end of a long series of inquiries?  c) a simple thought that seems to drop in from elsewhere?  d) an understanding born of long habit and practice?
  • How do my prayers for more frugality and economic wisdom interact with my prayers for job creation?
  • How do markets actually work?
  • What would be the best course of study to better understand the morality of market economics?
  • What is the difference in material prosperity “built on the backs” of the poor and unprosperous and material prosperity that’s not?
  • In discussing the root causes of poverty, which slice of the causal pie is bigger, the spiritual, intellectual, and physical malaise of the individual caught in the cycle, or the surrounding environment in which the poor collectively find themselves?
  • What in the world does “better” mean?
  • What might be the purposes of writing a piece of fiction when people are dying around the world?  (Today, Haiti…tomorrow, who knows where?)
  • Does fiction need a purpose?
  • Was Hans Rookmaaker right when he asserted “Art Needs No Justification?”
  • What are the possible reasons God would give us “His Word” in such an unwieldy text, a text that invites multiple and conflicting interpretations, especially given increasingly apparent cultural biases that shutter and focus our regional and denominational understandings down dangerously narrow paths?
  • Is it necessary that so few find the “straight and narrow?”
  • Do we find meaning, or do we make it?   Argue both sides.
  • Why is it so difficult for me to dance, and what am I going to do about it?
  • What do I have to say that any audience will need or care to hear?
  • What can be done on a practical level to unbind people from the cacophony of fearful voices inside their hearts?
  • What are ten ways to attack depression besides therapy, addictions, and meds?
  • Why metaphor?
  • What is served by the elevation of fact over metaphor, as if the facts themselves were not metaphors, and as if metaphors were not carriers of truth?
  • How do we live the things Jesus knew that we don’t know?
  • Why is beauty so important to me, and what does it mean that I often neglect it in order to serve in a more practical religious way?
  • Are there truly whole swaths of the human enterprise, each written deeply on someone’s heart by seeming divinity, circumstance, DNA, and the entire perceptual process, that God simply doesn’t care about, because he cares only for widows, orphans, the afterlife, and the proper divisions of sheep and goats?
  • What is the essence of love?
  • Could it be that all this is far too serious, and that to go deep is not about answering the unanswerable, but rather to dive in the great, heaving ocean, and in trust, hanging on for dear life?
  • What are ten strategies (or twenty or thirty) by which Jeff could lighten up…?

Finally, where might these six words take a person?

  • Possibility.
  • Journey.
  • Questions.
  • Presence.
  • Beauty.
  • Trust.

We’ll have to see…

One Comment

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  1. Regarding your second and third questions, I would say “all of the above” can be legitimate ex-periences and lead to legitimate life changes. What produces these experiences might depend on what you are looking for. Are you looking for God, are you looking for wealth, are you looking for self-aggrandizement in the name of God? The Hebrew writer says: “Whoever comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6b). I believe the writer spoke from experience. And Paul testifies that he had a life-changing encounter with Jesus. He also spoke of being led by the Spirit in the other ways you mention. Sometimes, maybe always, we have to step out in faith and obedience first. Paul was seeking to obey God even though he was desperately wrong. God saw his heart in spite of his actions.

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