When Jesus stood in the temple as a small boy he did not impress the scribes and pharisees by his answers. Jesus impressed them with his understanding, and he did so by the quality of his questions.
In academia, I took it on the chin that I do not really know how to ask good questions. Don’t get me wrong, I think I’m clever, and I learned a lot particularly how to ask better questions. But I know that my questions that I ask of texts or ask of theology are not as probative as many of my friends. Often I found myself happily surrounded by people that asked questions I would never think of in unfamiliar ways of framing questions.
It’s a great frustration of mine, but it highlights an honest difficulty that many of us have in asking questions.
Most of us conceptualize a guru or a wise person as someone who has answers, and we cast professionals like doctors and lawyers and pastors as people who have good answers to our problems. Even though good doctors and lawyers and pastors have to ask good questions in order to get to the good answers to the problems, the process of asking questions or learning to ask good questions is ignored.
What if we taught questions in our pedagogy?
At a certain point wouldn’t it be helpful if we taught students, followers of Christ, how to ask and seek answers for questions? What types of questions would help them to start to frame their own. If we stopped presenting the difficult passages of scripture with dogmatic answers maybe we would learn from the questions asked by the youth or new comers to the faith.
I for one want to give it a try. I want to encourage people to learn by asking questions without getting immediate answers.