If you know me, or have come to me for answers or insights, you have learned to be somewhat initially disappointed. Not because I have no answers and no insights – I do. For example, here’s one of my best answers: “Alternate interior angles are congruent when two parallel lines are cut by a transversal.” Impressive don’t you think? I have others.
Returning to the point, you will be disappointed because I try not to offer answers until I have first asked good questions. I find the journey of discovering answers so much more enlightening for people than simply receiving answers. My father taught me this. In seeking his advice about a particularly difficult situation his response was, “I don’t think you’ve asked the right questions yet.” When I asked what I should do once I asked the right questions he quickly responded, “Ask another set of really good questions!”
I have found this technique powerful. Questions get you first to the origin or center of the problem. Without good questions we too often solve the wrong problems. Questions help clarify the context of a problem and ensure that a thorough understanding of all the factors surrounding an issue are brought forward and considered. Questions ultimately cause thinking. And where there is thinking, often better, original and unique answers emerge. My father didn’t invent the technique. Socrates gets credit for it…but I suspect it existed before he documented and taught the Socratic Method. Plato, one of Socrates most notorious pupils, used the technique. And, as you might suspect, Aristolte (Plato’s student) wrote about it in his works on Metaphysics (the science which investigates principles of reality transcending those of any particular science). Aristotle wrote, “Those who wish to succeed must ask the right preliminary questions.”
Two of my favorite questions are these, “Where are you?” and “Who do you say that I am?” The first, recorded in the book of Genesis, was posed by God to Adam when Adam chose to forsake the Father and go his own way, and the second was asked by Jesus and implies, “Do you know that I am the Son of God sent to offer you eternal life?”
So, Where are you? Who do you say that Jesus is?