Don't be afraid to ask questions

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

I write in praise of asking questions.

All of us have questions even though many are reticent to verbalize them. Fearing that we'll look stupid or that we're instinctively supposed to know the answer we either stifle the question or else apologize profusely in case our question might offend, interrupt or insult somebody.

Some people have a great capacity to ask why, how, when, where, who or what. Journalists fall into that lot, as do scientists and children. I can think of very few persons who could not benefit from asking a well placed question. Even those under orders in the military know a time comes when duty demands that questions be asked.

I do not consider myself especially adept at asking questions. Perhaps it came from my childhood training to respect those who were educated or held positions of leadership. This is admirable advice, even scriptural, but it can hinder us from asking things that need asking. Nobody has all the answers, especially those who imperiously think they do.

Because questions can mean so many different things they are somewhat subversive. Jesus fielded many questions, some sincere and others very deceptive. Sometimes we pose questions to throw a person off balance, to accuse (asking "why" almost always puts the other on the defensive) or to bring a person down to size. Sometimes we ask to show ourselves smarter than the other. Sometimes we clothe a declaration in the form of an interrogation as a cowardly way of scoring points.

Reader poll

In the King James version of the Bible, who asks the first recorded question in the book of Genesis?

  • God 28%
  • Adam 6%
  • Eve 11%
  • Cain 8%
  • The Serpent 47%

36 total votes.

Even so we can learn much from asking a question. It is a way of admitting that we don't know everything. It can deepen a conversation and draw us closer to the reality of a subject or setting.

I was grateful in seminary that some classmates eagerly asked questions because I learned a lot from their curiosity. They often asked penetrating questions I'd never even considered.

Many people secretly hope that somebody else will ask the question they are too afraid to ask. When did you last ask a good question? Why not start today? Take a deep breath and ask the question. Those who ask, seek and knock are those who find.

Contact the Rev. Creede Hinshaw at Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church in Savannah at creede@wesleymonumental.org.


billybob 3 years, 8 months ago

Ok reverend, here's a question: Why won't god heal amputees?


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