In my travels yesterday I noticed a car ahead of me driving rather erratically. He wasn't endangering anyone, but the driver had a definite case of "wander-itis." He sort of glided along in a fog, oblivious of the other drivers, some of whom were trying to pass and were more than a little nervous about doing so, due to the apparently cavalier attitude of the driver regarding his placement in the middle of his lane.
I wondered at the driver's training (or lack thereof) asking myself if the driver knew what he was doing. A few moments later I had my answer clearly stated by the bumper sticker on the car's rear end: "Jesus is the answer."
Scratching my head at the inadequacy of that answer, it occurred to me that, while Jesus may be the answer to many questions, clearly there are some questions which need perhaps a bit more enlightening (to say nothing of concrete) answer.
So, if Jesus is the answer, what is the question? And what happens to our world if we answer all questions with, "Jesus?"
" Who let the dog out?"
"What's for dinner?"
You can see the difficulties, can't you?
I'm not trying to be flippant or disrespectful to anyone's beliefs, but I believe there is a deeper point to my random (and sometimes faintly amusing) musings.
It is human nature to seek easy answers to tough questions:
"What does my life mean?"
"How should I raise my children?"
"Should I take this job?"
"How much can I afford to give?"
"Is it OK to be angry at my neighbor, and for how long?"
"What are my responsibilities to the community around me?"
Don't get me wrong. I believe that God is part of the answer to many of life's most troubling and rewarding challenges. But I think spouting a universal answer to all of life's questions runs the risk of reducing that answer to irrelevancy.
Asking yourself "What would Jesus do?" as the popular bracelets propose is a good place to start, but it is just that: a beginning, not an end. If we stop at this point, we abdicate a certain amount of our responsibility to use the intellect with which God has gifted us. We accept a pat answer instead of doing the hard searching required by mature faith. We disown our own process of enlightened discernment as well as our accountability to our fellow man.
I believe faith is a question, rather than an answer. I believe there is hard work required of us if we are to have any hope of bringing in God's kingdom. I believe part of that work is admitting that we may not have all the answers, but that we are learning to live into the questions.
I have to ask myself: In seeking facile answers, do we somehow miss seeing the full dimensions of the human soul and the inherent complexity of our world? Do we reduce the infinite until it fits on our bumper?
Isn't God bigger than that?