When questioning becomes trendy

Rainer Maria Rilke, one of the patron saints of The Shepherd and the Knucklehead, writes in Letters to a young Poet:

You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers which cannot be given you becasue you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. (Italics mine)

In my world of shepherds and knuckleheads, emergents, deconstructers, philosophers, writers, and dreamers, the questioning often becomes the most important thing we can do. “Live in the question,” we say. One of my own central purposes in life is to hold space for people to ask the questions. I am not the one with all the answers. I am not the authority. Let’s discover together.

To live in the question… to live into the answer, seems to me to be the wondrous journey itself. But when do we go too far? Questioning is never wrong… and may we never stop asking questions of the absolutes we are given. To stop, though, with the constant deconstruction and questions… this seems to me to be to be settling at a place of answer. We have decided that the answer is to question… to deconstruct. These resolutions tire me… and I am feeling increasingly disconnected with a lack of positive resolution.

It seems to me that we must continue to ask ourselves, “What am I going to do about it? How is this going to effect my life NOW?” Now that I have the question, now that I doubt this, or am skeptical of that… what am I going to do? How am I going to live with this? This is how we live the question. This is how we can continue to question without resolving to stay in the same place. To stay in one place is to live a slow death.

Question can easily become trendy… deconstruction a popular fad. To resolve to always question and never do anything about it disconnects us from reality and relationships. I will hold space for you to question. I will welcome the questions, and no, I will not settle on an easy answer. But know that I am also going to be asking a question of my own: “What are you going to do about this?”

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