A Commitment to Questions
By Jill Wondel
As a delegate to the special session of General Conference, when I agreed to write this article, I thought I would write about my experience in St. Louis. But then, near the end of the Conference, someone made a motion to pull a group of petitions called the Simple Plan to be voted on separately. The Simple Plan would have simply removed language about homosexuality from the Book of Discipline and was offered by members of the LGBTQI movement. Because of the way the votes had been going all weekend, it was clear that these petitions probably would not pass, but Rev. Adam Hamilton rose to speak in favor of voting on these petitions separately. He said something that I had been waiting to hear, “… this is the one opportunity to say we care enough to listen for a moment.”
In the weeks before and after the special session of General Conference, there have been a few friends who cared enough to listen for a moment. However, I’ve had a lot of people write me, email me and send me whole books telling me what they believe is true.
Many have come to me with answers, few with questions.
I began to wonder; how would things be different if we began our conversations with a question? If we started being curious in our relationships, with our neighbors and with God? I’ve been practicing this lately, asking God what God thinks about things as I read scripture and pray. I’m reaching back into childhood and asking the prevailing questions of every four-year-old, “Why?” and “How?” Maybe God will finally give me a satisfying answer to why the sky is blue, and maybe not, but I know that in the end, I will be closer to God because I asked.
Last night our small group read the parable of the sower in Mark. There’s an awkward place where Jesus says that he speaks in parables so that the crowds won’t understand. It’s always seemed out of character for the God I know to be relentlessly gracious and loving, pursuing us until the very end. And then I realized – what if he speaks in parables so they will have to come to him and ask him what it means, just as the disciples did. If he spoke plainly, they would go home with knowledge but without knowing him.
In the wake of General Conference, and in the anticipation of the future, I’m committing to ask more questions and to allow those questions to draw me deeper in relationship with God and with others. Perhaps the curiosity of a child is what we need in a time like this?
I meant for this article to share some of my experiences as a General Conference delegate, but instead I think I’d rather just ask about you. What questions are you turning over in your heart? Where have you seen God at work this week? How is it with your soul?
May you know God and others more deeply because you asked.