Last Saturday, I got to spend the day with about 144 of our 10th graders at our Sophomore Day Away at Gustavus Adolphus College. It’s a one-day ‘mini-retreat’ that helps to prepare them for the service of Affirmation of Baptism at the end of October.
We spend a lot of time talking specifically about what we, as people of God, of the Lutheran variety, believe. The goal is to help them to prepare to take ownership of their faith as they grow into the gifted young women and men that God has created them to be.
One of the sessions that I do with them is an opportunity to ask questions. Any questions. They write their questions down on a piece of paper, fold it up and drop it in a box. Then we try in 30 minutes, to talk about as many of these questions as we possibly can. As you can imagine, we don’t get through the majority of them.
This year I promised them that I would try and take the questions that we didn’t answer, and would try and answer them as best I could on Lord of Life’s sr. high Facebook page.
The questions are interesting. I thought I’d share them with you. These are the ones that we did not get to answer while at Gustavus (the number after some of them represents the number of times the question was repeated):
- How is Jesus real if there is no bodily proof of him?
- Why did they kill Jesus?
- How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?
- Who put the Bible together as a book?
- What is heaven like? (3)
- Who is Jesus? (2)
- Is it bad that sometimes I struggle to even trust my closest friends?
- How did God come to be God? Who created him? (3)
- How come the dinosaurs aren’t mentioned in the Bible?
- Do you feel closer to God because you work at a church?
- Do you believe in evolution and that it created everything? (2)
- Does everything happen for a reason?
- Did God create the actual planet?
- How does God show that he loves me?
- Is being raped a sin?
- Why did Jesus have to die on the cross? Why would it have made a difference?
- Is abortion a sin?
- What is your favorite part of religion?
- If God forgives everyone, how is there a hell?
- Are homosexuals accepted by Lutherans?
- If God judges us based on our individual faith, by our own choice, and by our own actions, how do we know if we’re good enough to go to heaven?
- Does God have a God?
- Why should I believe in god? More specifically, what can he do for me and what proof is there?
- If you are gay, do you go to hell?
- Was Judith really bad? (I think they meant Judas…)
- Is masturbation a sin?
- Why does God/Jesus have powers and we don’t?
- Why does God take people we love away from us when we need them the most?
- How did God create the earth in 7 days?
- What came first, Adam and Eve or dinosaurs/cavemen?
- How are there white people, Asians, Mexicans and African Americans?
- Were Adam and Eve white?
- If I tried to commit suicide, and want to talk about it, who could I go to?
- Is there proof that Jesus was real? Did he actually exist?
- How did God become God, and Jesus become Jesus?
- Since different religions believe different things, how do we know what is correct?
- If everyone is a child of God, how are there other religions?
- Why do we go to Gustavus for this? Why this college? (It’s cool and all, I’m just curious)
- What exactly is the meaning of confirmation?
- How old were you when you accepted Christ into your life?
- I’m confused about angels. We didn’t talk about them at C3 but I hear about them a lot.
- Why were we made?
- Why are we confirmed at our age?
- How is God real if science doesn’t support it?
- Why did God do what he did to the earth?
- If Jesus was Jewish, why is he talked about with Lutherans and Catholics?
- What is the requirements to get into heaven?
- Does everyone go to heaven?
- Why do we do this? Are the 10 Commandments still relevant Why didn’t we learn about the Book of Revelation?
- Why does God do what he does?
- If God showed himself, there would be no wars about religion. If we are children of God, why doesn’t he spare our lives?
- When you’re going through really hard times, how are you supposed to keep your faith in God?
- Is it bad to say that I’m scared for death and what happens after?
- Why does God forgive us just because Jesus died on the cross?
- What are some tricks for forgiveness?
- Does God only answer someone who is faithful?
- Do we think God made the Universe, or just earth?
- Who made the original Bible, and has it been changed over time?
- How did they come up with the Bible?
- Why do teens like us try to stand out and be brave, but we are afraid, or instead, why do other teems try to put down or make that teen feel awkward or left out after they try being brave?
- Is it wrong to falter in your faith?
- Is gay marriage frowned upon in the church?
- How can you be a good Christian with so much greed and war and opinions that have different groups claiming that they are superior?
- What is hell like?
- Why is drug use frowned upon? If it comes from plants then isn’t it put on the planet for us by God? (PS – I never would do drugs. I am just curious.)
- When is confirmation?
- How do we know what the Bible says is true?
- Why is God so forgiving?
- Why has God not given the cure for cancer? Why does he let people suffer so horribly from it? And then die…
- How can you tell if God is always there for you?
- Is December 21st, 2012 really going to happen? (2)
- What is the average age people know what they believe regarding faith?
- How do you deal with drama?
- Why does God love us, BECAUSE we’re imperfect? Why did he make us imperfect?
- How will this all end up to be? (The world and all of creation?)
- What things do you do to stay close to God? (besides church. I want stuff that actually works)
That is an amazing listing of questions. To be honest, it’s a little bit overwhelming. But I am so glad that our young people feel comfortable asking these questions, and that their church is a safe place to do that.
So I am going to (slowly) work my way though the questions. Lord of Life has an active senior high ministry, and an active senior high Facebook page. There, one question at a time, I’m going to work my way through the list and try to get to as many as I can. Because when young people ask questions, it is essential that we honor those questions. For some, there might not be clear answers. And for some, the answers might not be what people want to hear. But it’s critical that we address the questions. Parents and friends are welcome to go to the Facebook page, and “like it” in order to see the questions, the answers, and to chime in with thoughts as well.
Questions are how we grow in our faith. God gave us freedom to ask questions and to make choices. Our questions challenge us to ask and to grow. We give God thanks for the ability and the places to ask our questions.