Thanks, Len for posting this quote by Richard Rohr:
“Although I have not been able to check it out, two different scripture scholars have told me that Jesus is asked 183 questions directly or indirectly among the four gospels. Do you know how many of these he directly answers? Three! Jesus’ idea of church is not about giving people answers but, in fact, leading them into liminal and dark space, where they will long and yearn for God, for wisdom and for their own souls. This is itself — and always has been — the only answer. He says it so clearly in Luke’s Gospel (11:11-13). Jesus says that the answer to all our prayers is exactly the same: the Holy Spirit. Pray for bread, fish or egg, pray for whatever you want. God might give you these things, but what God promises is that you will always receive the Holy Spirit. That is God’s answer to every prayer and to every question. We ourselves would prefer to give and receive seminary textbook answers, thank you. They keep us liminoid, and we can avoid that terrible space where only God is in control and where God is the only answer.”
Richard Rohr, “We Need Transformation, Not False Transcendence” NCR, 2002
You can read Richard Rohr’s entire article here.
This has some amazing implications. First, answers don’t necessarily bring the appropriate transformation that God calls us to experience. Our western mindset has equated knowledge with change. While knowledge may contribute to change, there is not a direct link.
Second, the pursuit of knowledge is often a form of self-control and independence. There is truth to “knowledge is power” in that knowledge gives us the sense of some control and power over our own destinies. However, the biblical call is to die to ourselves, to our self-will. Therefore, it is absolutely brilliant that Jesus withholds answers to the questions posed to him.
Third, God’s answer of the Holy Spirit takes priority over any question we pose. This strikes at our pride, expressed by our frustration at having our questions left unanswered. But 1) if our questions flow from the depths of our self-control and independence, which God is calling us to be transformed out of and 2) if the answers we seek to our questions simply reinforce our attempts at self-control and don’t bring the true transformation we need, then the last thing we really need are answers. Rather, we need “that terrible space where only God is in control and where God is the only answer.” It is the place of mystery and awe.
One thought on “Jesus’ Answers”
maybe I’m only Dork on the face of the planet, but “liminoid”???? Come on!