“Stop it. You’re still alive.” That’s my go-to line for whiners. Especially whiners in the church van who don’t like it that their driver ran over a pothole or hit the brakes a bit fast.
“Questions, comments, suggestions, rude remarks?” (that’s a pretty standard teacher line.)
(in a whisper) “You do realize we can’t eat until someone volunteers to pray, right?”
I have others, as well, and probably if I gave my group the opportunity, they would delightfully mock me for hours. They probably already do. That’s likely what they’re doing when they tell me they’re playing sardines at a lock-in.
Or they’re making prank phone calls…not sure which it is, actually.
Here’s another that I use a lot: “This book is a book of questions and if anyone tells you it’s the book that will answer all of your questions, they are lying to you.”
I say this while holding up the Bible. That usually grabs their attention.
My theory is that if you read the Bible, any part of the Bible, and you come away with more answers than questions, you should probably reread whatever you just read. See, I don’t think the Bible was ever meant to make us feel confident or comfortable or content. I believe the Bible was meant to stir up questions, cause us to struggle with its hard words and ideas, and stump youth directors and students alike. It is a book of truth, but it is not a book of easy truth. And I believe we have to dig and contemplate and study and seek out cultural context if we’re going to find that truth.
I sat with a couple of young people on Tuesday and talked about the resurrection account in Matthew 28. “What does that mean, Jesus raised from the dead?” came the question. “How did that happen?” “What did it look like?” “How did the stone move?” “How did Jesus get out?” Now, I know some people who would have quick, short, simple answers for these questions. I do not. I’m with the kids who find more questions than answers in that passage.
I believe God’s big enough to let me ask questions. I believe God’s too big to figure out simply, completely or even at all. I believe this is where faith comes in–I don’t have all of the answers, but God does…and it’s okay that I don’t.