Obituary For The Question Mark

DEATH NOTICES: The Question Mark died late Monday. While his family history is shrouded in mystery, we know he was born ca. 1650, just in time to contribute to that great quest for ideas in the Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment. He once was greatly admired and widely employed when humans sought answers to the meaning and nature of existence, and wondered aloud what was best. While he will be missed by some, his time had come, as he suffered from dementia, sometimes appearing mid-sentence. Those closest to him reported that he spent his last days in despair, expiring when told that questions no longer were being entertained in the public arena. He already had been relegated to scheduling meetings and to texts, where he was quietly being replaced by emoticons and the Exclamation Point. He was preceded in death by his parents, Reason and Integrity. Public mourning is discouraged, but a few friends will gather Thursday evening to scatter his ashes on the Quadrangle of PCU.

As a teen trying to overcome my fear of public speaking, I joined our high school debate team. I was intrigued to discover that each member of the team was required to defend both sides of the given question, or resolution, at each tournament.

That was good training, and I learned quickly that there are two or more views on an issue, each nuanced and complex, with data in its support. So a wise person is open to questions, dedicated to helping others understand, not parrot talking points.

Proverbs 18:13, 15, & 17 support this reality:
“He who answers before listening–that is his folly and shame.
The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge;
the ears of the wise seek it out.
The first to present his case seems right,
till another comes forward and questions him.”

Today, questions often are ignored if they don’t fit a given narrative. It is not uncommon for some journalists and social media to represent questioners as extremist trouble makers.

But asking a question of government does not make you a rebel, any more than desiring a secure border makes you a racist, or asking God “Why?” makes you an atheist. Only the foolish and power hungry meet honest queries with scowls and insults instead of calm logic.

For the sake of wisdom, we dare not stop being curious. Perhaps rumors of The Question Mark’s demise have been exaggerated. For now, let’s hold off on issuing that press release.

“Father, thank you for the many examples in your Word where you welcome and answer the questions of your people. Help us always to pursue truth, wherever it is found. In the name of Jesus. Amen.”

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