By Dylan Walker, Junior at Grace Calvary
So earlier today I was reading a book, Wishful Thinking by Fredrick Buechener. This book is sort of like a dictionary where Buechner writes in passages for different words pertaining to religion like faith or hope. While reading through I was struck by his passage on the word "Questions." What he writes reminds me of how I felt a few years ago when experiencing some questions of my own faith. Buechner writes,
"On her deathbed Gertrude Stein is said to have asked “What is the answer?” then after a long silence asked , “What is the question?” Don't start looking in the bible for the answers it gives. Start by listening for the questions it asks.
We are much involved, all of us, with questions about things that matter a good deal today but will be forgotten by this time tomorrow, the immediate wheres and whens and hows that face us daily at home and at school, but at the same time we tend to lose track of the questions about things that matter always, life and death questions about meaning, purpose and value. To lose track of who we really are in our own depths and where we are going. There is perhaps no stronger reason for reading the bible than that somewhere among all those pages there awaits each man and woman, whoever they are, the one question which (though for years may have been pretending not to hear it) is the central question of his or her own life. Here are a few of them.
What is man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own sole? (Matthew 16:26)
Am I my brothers keeper? (Genesis 4:9)
If god is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
What is truth? (John 18:38)
How can man be born when he is old? (John 3:4)
What does a man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? (Ecclesiastes 1:3)
Whither shall I go from my spirit? (Psalm 139:7)
Who is my neighbor? (Luke 10:29)
What shall I do to inherit eternal Life? (Luke 10:25)
When you hear the question that is your question, then you have already begun to hear much. Whether you can accept the bible’s answer or not you have reached the point where at least you can begin to hear it too."
This passage sort of hits home for me because when I was taking a walk in faith myself one of the things I did was to try reading the bible. I found myself only finding more questions when trying to look for other answers. Through this I found that the bible isn't some kind of answer sheet for a pop quiz on faith, it's more of a study guide to help you find the answers on your own.