When people ask me what are the gifts of a Christian journalist, I tell them sanctified nosiness and redeemed skepticism. While most everyone else is going “Hallelujah!” and “Praise the Lord!” at something they are told, I am invariably thinking , “Yeah, but I have another question…”
We need more Christians in journalism, bringing faith to the hard questions. Yet, we also need more journalism in Christians, bringing the hard questions to faith. Just because someone looks good, speaks well, and has a cool website, it doesn’t mean we should uncritically swallow everything they have to say.
And yet, there comes a time to stop asking questions. This may seem to fly in the face of the journalism mantra I have always espoused—that there are no dumb questions—but it actually doesn’t. Away from my professional life, personally, I am learning that it’s all about determining who is really asking the question.
I was reminded of this powerfully at a men’s conference this past weekend, when we were exhorted to be more aware of the unseen battle that is going on around us. (Anyone who doubts the existence of evil surely can’t have heard or seen any world news for, oh, the past few decades or so).
This supernatural clash is not merely an external conflict. We also contend within, where it is essential to recognize that not all thoughts are created equal.
Some come from God.
Some come from ourselves.
Some come from the enemy of our souls.
In this light, a question could be clarifying or confusing, helpful or harmful, life-giving or deadly, depending on who’s really asking it. Determining that makes all the difference.
The evaluation is based not on what you are asking but why; intent rather than content. God isn’t afraid of (seemingly) tough questions. But what is the motive in wanting to know? Is this about casting doubt or shaping faith?
It’s interesting to see how Jesus sometimes refused to answer questions; the Bible says that this was because He knew what was in the questioners’ hearts—that they were trying to catch him out rather than catch His message.
It’s OK for me to ask another question in seeking clarity and understanding. If the likely outcome is blurring and confusion, it might be that I am actually asking another’s question.