Answering questions with questions

Dear Friends,

What a joy it was to be together this last weekend at Iowa State University in Ames for our Recharge event!

I came home truly recharged by being with all of you!

(In fairness, I was burdened with the smallest amount of “extra” for the preparation and execution of this event among our conference staff.  When you see or talk with Jonna, Diane, or Jo in particular, PLEASE express your thanks for the dedication and work they put into this fabulous event for all of us!!)

I was inspired by you, my sisters and brothers in Christ, who are endeavoring, as I am, to learn and live more fully the life of being a disciple of Jesus Christ, in this messy wonderful community we call the church.  Thank you! Thank you for sharing your wisdom, your experiences, your precious weekend, your prayers, and your questions with me. And a special thank you to my colleague Jonna, not only for her tireless efforts and attention to the details, but for snagging such a wonderful key note speaker for us in Krista Tippett!!!!  She was thoughtful, articulate, challenging, and provoking!  What a profound gift!

I walked away from Krista Tippett’s presentation on Friday evening and carried with me this beautiful treasure from her remarks: “It is almost impossible to resist a generous question.”

It is almost impossible to resist a generous question.

I remember Jesus, answering questions with questions.

I remember his followers, not receiving the answers they thought they wanted, and yet unable to resist joining him.

Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for? John 20:15
Who do you say I am?  Matthew 16:15
What do you want me to do for you? Mark 10:51
What is truth? John 18:38
Do you still not understand? Matthew 16:9

Forgive me.  Those questions are intentionally removed from their context, which is completely outside of how I believe we ought best study our sacred text.  And yet, there is something compelling about the sound bites of our Savior, when we hear these questions laden with God’s generosity of grace, love, welcome, forgiveness, and renewal.

It is almost impossible to resist a generous question.

Thank you, Ms. Tippett.  I will be hearing, and reading, questions in a new light now.  And hopefully also speaking them and writing them with a generosity of spirit that conveys my own recharged and renewed spirit.

Blessings for the Journey,

Brigit Stevens, Associate Conference Minister

One Response to Answering questions with questions

  1. Nadine says:

    I found it interesting at lunch the following day that, sitting with a table of women, everyone was very interested in how to develop the technique of generous questions and having real conversations. Conversations with others that open one’s thinking but may or may not change anyone’s conclusions. My spouse sat in a conversation after one of the workshops where the group was all-male and their conclusion was that Krista never answered a question nor posed ways to be in ‘generous conversations’ nor what she is doing that is concrete to make such conversations part of public discourse. He and I have talked about this but I am uncertain if he is interested in learning such a way of entering discussions and I am trying to analyze how often I open discussions and how I am shutting down the possibilities. Just saying! Thank you for your blog.

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