As the new Youth Director at Highlands Church North Denver, I’ve just started getting to know our youth and among the several things I could already say, I’ve been incredibly inspired by their ability to think deeply and critically. As part of our time together last Sunday, I posed to them a mini-challenge:
=> If you had a chance to ask a question — to God, about God, or about the human condition in general — what would you ask? What is something that gnaws at you when you go to bed at night?
I had them keep the questions anonymous (although I did get the group’s permission to share some of the questions here), and two examples of those were, “How do we pursue justice without hurting the other side?” and, “What does it mean to exist in the world?”
My hope is to come back to some of these in the near future (and I’ll let you all know once we have all the answers, haha) but as we were reading each one aloud as a group, one thing struck me more than anything else: those are the exact same questions I still carry with me. As an adult.
These are questions that, as I grow older, I often catch myself searching for permission to keep asking, especially because we live in a society that anxiously demands we trade our questions for answers that don’t quite satisfy. But hearing them anew from the mouths and pens of our youth was a fresh breath of air reminding me that I, too, should keep asking the things that gnaw at me when I go to bed at night.
The title of this article, then, is perhaps meant to be ambivalent: the questions on those strips of paper were the questions of our youth (as in the youth of HCND), but also, they are probably the questions you and I have had since our own youth — questions that we’ve perhaps come to believe are no longer worth asking.
As for me, I will keep on asking them. And I hope that you will, too.