One of the marks of a Gospel centered community is that its members can ask questions—hard questions, ones which make leaders swallow. We take after our Lord in that way. Jesus, in this Sunday’s gospel, looks his mama in the eye and says, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”
Self-criticism and reflection are at the core of our biblical tradition. From the children of Israel cruising in the desert to the kings and prophets, our tradition invites us to question ourselves, our leaders and God. Without this kind of assessment, we fall into evil, group think, and hypocrisy.
We had a bang up visit with our bishop last Sunday, a component of which was a session in which the bishop entertained questions from the congregation. In true St. Stephen’s fashion, the questions were intelligent, provocative, and hard. The topics on the minds of our people involved reaching out to young people, the bishop’s declaration that he will not vote to authorize the blessing of same sex covenants, the role of the Church in Texas in light of the State’s failure to fund basic human needs, the role of leaders to represent or to point the way forward, the selection of the next Archbishop of Canterbury.
Spiritual growth is predicated on asking probing questions and listening for the truth, deep within our own hearts and the heart of our community. Accountability, forgiveness, conversion, transformation all assume that we can face the facts of our lives—the external and the internal reality. In facing the questions, we trust that with God’s help, we will discover the truth and that it will set us free.