13 Childlike Inquisitor

questioning and struggling with truth

Questions for reflection

What is the one question you always want to ask about faith but never dared to?

What do you make of Jesus’ claim that you have to change and become like children to enter the kingdom of heaven?

What is your experience of wrestling with God in the darkness?

What is your most favourite thing about the Bible? What is your least favourite thing?

What do you make of the statement, “ … if the church is unique it is only because Christ is. If it ceases to witness to him, it ceases to have any value to the human race”?

Further reading and further thoughts

“Great is the person who does not lose their child’s heart” – Mencius Book 1V

“The reluctance to put away childish things may be the requirement of genius” – Rebecca Pepper Sinkler

“Children ask better questions than adults” – Fran Lebowitz

“Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; its an element of faith” – Paul Tillich

“Faith which does not doubt is a dead faith” – Miguel de Unamuno

“Doubt is a pain too lonely to know faith is his twin brother” – Khalil Gibran

Read: Ecclesiastes 1:2-10; Romans 11:32-36

Mike Yaconelli, Dangerous Wonder: the adventure of childlike faith, NavPress Publishing Group 2003 (2nd edition)

Oz Guinness, In Two Minds: the dilemma of doubt and how to resolve it, Inter-Vasity Press 1976

Marco Marsen, Think Naked: childlike brilliance in a rough adult world, Jodere Group 2003

A peacemeal idea

Share a Peacemeal with equal numbers of children and adults. During the meal go around the table taking it in turns to tell everyone your favourite joke, your happiest moment, your favourite story, your saddest memory and what you think about God (you may want to add to the suggestions). What does this mixture of child and adult responses reveal to you? What can you learn from them?

Living it out

Develop the quality of childlikeness. Spend time just quietly watching children and how they behave, whether on their own or in groups. Try to distill what is natural to them and attractive about them and think of ways that could be true of you to. Jesus speaks of ‘becoming like little children’ – what do you think he means?

Face up to your questions and doubts. In our desire for certainty and truth our natural instinct (conscious or unconscious) is to push our doubts and questions to the edges of our mind. Identify them, reflect on them, share them and as appropriate engage with them with the help of others. Be gentle with yourself. Take your time. Remember the aim is not necessarily to answer the issue (this may be impossible), but to try to come to a place where you can live with it in a way that is both wholesome and open, where questions and doubts are out in the light not hidden in the dark.

Invest in friendship and community to nurture your spirituality. Find people, places and ways that are life-giving and allow your individuality to thrive. Build on positive experiences and see where they take you. Share your journey with others.

A meditation

A meditation on the desert – you can use a pile or handful of sand as a visual or tactile focus.

Think about the desert – where battles are fought against human and nature. Reflect on those in scripture who went into the desert to fight and contend with man and God. Reflect on your struggles and remember that you are in a sacred place.

Think about the desert – barren, lifeless. Reflect on those in Scripture who went into the desert alone, afraid, bereft, full of doubt and despair. Reflect on your doubts and remember that you are in a sacred place.

Think about the desert – full of quietness, solitude and deep peace. Reflect on those who went out into the desert to meditate, to find a space away from the voices of the city. Reflect on your questions and remember that you are in a sacred place.