Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sunday Morning Questions for the Pilgrim and the Skeptic

Psalm 8:3-5 (King James Version)

“3When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
4What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.”

I read a short devotional piece from Frederick Buechner’s “Listening to Your Life” this morning. It was titled, appropriately, “Questions.” It follows, now, for your edification, especially those of you reading who might be skeptics:

“On her deathbed, Gertrude Stein is said to have asked, “What is the answer?” Then, after a long silence, “What is the question?” Don’t start looking at 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 where and whens and hows that face us daily at home an at work – but at the same time we tend to lose track of the questions of the things that matter always, life-and-death questions about meaning, purpose, and value. To lose track of such deep questions as these is to risk losing track of who we really are in our own depths and where we are really going. There is perhaps no stronger reason for reading the Bible than that somewhere among all those India-paper pages there awaits each reader whoever he is the one question which, though for years he may have been pretending not to hear it, is the central question of his own life. Here are a few of them”:

“What is man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? (
Matthew 16:26)”
“Am I my brother’s 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 a man be born again 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 thy 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.”

I began this post with questions the psalmist asked. What is man? And, why would God even want to have anything to do with him? They’re good questions and they have good answers. They can be found in the Bible.

I’m sure you have questions. Ask them. As it’s written, “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find.”

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Marti said...

Hello Phil,

It's always a pleasure to read your thoughts. Your questions and hypotheses give me pause, and make me grateful for those who ask.

I wish you joy.

I don't know why, but Blogger has locked me out of my old blog. It still accepts comments, but I can't get it to publish anything new, or make any changes to the template. I even attempted to use FTP to upload it to my domain, but that also failed.

I struggled with it for days, writing letters to Blogger Help and Support, all for naught, so I’m starting over at:

Trying to notify all of my previous links. Trying not to think evil thoughts - LOL

Two Write Hands said...

You have a great blog here. A refreshing respite from the typical "surf".

Himself said...

As always I can count on you to encourage me and give me food for thought!
Grace and Paece,

pepperdeaf said...

great blog. the time and care you put into your posts is evident.

a pilgrim

James Fletcher Baxter said...

Q: "What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son
of man that You visit him?" Psalm 8:4
A: "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against
you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing
and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and
your descendants may live." Deuteronomy 30:19

Q: "Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?
Or the son of man, that you are mindful of him?" Psalm
A: "And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose
for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the
gods which your fathers served that were on the other
side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose
land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will
serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

Q: "What is man, that he could be pure? And he who is
born of a woman, that he could be righteous?" Job 15:14
A: "Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He
teach in the way he chooses." Psalm 25:12

Q: "What is man, that You should magnify him, that You
should set Your heart on him?" Job 7:17
A: "Do not envy the oppressor and choose none of his
ways." Proverbs 3:31

Q: "What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son
of man that You take care of him?" Hebrews 2:6
A: "I have chosen the way of truth; your judgments I have
laid before me." Psalm 119:30 "Let Your hand become my
help, for I have chosen Your precepts."Psalm 119:173