For as long as belief in God has sparked life into the hearts and minds and souls of humankind, questions have accompanied those beliefs. Faith and doubt go hand-in-hand, for any firm faith conviction carries with it the reality of human limitations. Just as a phrase from a time-test creed can ignite our best and highest hopes, a well-worded question can affirm for us that we’re not alone in how we struggle to understand the magnitude and intricacies of life as God has given it to us.
Here at San Marino Community Church, we’ve been gathering questions from our congregation about faith, life, and God for the past few months. It’s been wonderful to see them stream in, and many of the usual topics get reframed in personal questions: Why do bad things happen to good people? How on the earth are we supposed to make sense of all the odd end-of the-world imagery in the Book of Revelation? What’s the story with angels? We’ve also really appreciated that our children and youth have joined in, submitting questions themselves. As usual, kids ask fantastic questions! What does God eat? What did Jesus do when he was two? What is life like in heaven? Who made God? And the list goes on!
So many of these questions not only scratch the itch of our curiosities, but they also invite us to delve into the heart of what it means to be humans living together in this world, and living in relation to God who made us. It was A. W. Tozer (1897 – 1963) who penned the famous phrase, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Indeed, the questions that we ask help us to formulate our perspective about who this God is who loves us, and what this world is all about. In our Christian tradition we affirm God as the God who creates, redeems, and sustains. The particularities of how that all works out arises from asking good questions and building conceptions and understandings to the best of our abilities.
So, starting in September, we’re excited to be introducing a sermon series entitled “Burning Questions: Curious Corners of the Faith.” Each week we’ll have a chance to engage with a time-tested question about faith, life, and God framed in light of contemporary concerns. In addition, several Sunday afternoon events are being planned that will help us delve even deeper into the topic of the day so that we not only get a sense of what responses offer the best explanations, but the importance of how we employ our best critical thinking processes when faced with matters of such significance. Dialogue amidst differing perspectives can yield such helpful insights, and we’ll be seeking to model that together.
As you journey through your days encountering the bumps and bruises, the twists and turns, and the highs and lows, we hope you’ll consider being a part of this great ongoing conversation of what it means to live out our lives together in the loving arms of a magnificent God.