October 4, 2009
St. Paul's United Church, Richmond, ON
18th Sunday After Pentecost 2009
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The Rev. Dr. George Hermanson
Asking questions is important. We learn by asking questions. We test ideas and actions by asking questions. Yet not all questioning does that. For there is another type of question, where insight is not looked for. It is to challenge the speaker. The challenge comes with a hidden agenda. One of the response I have to such a question is, “What is the statement that you want to make?” For the question comes out of settled worldview, a sense this is how it is and I want to trap you with the question. It is not asked with sincerity but with “I am going to get you.”
Jesus’ encounter about divorce illustrates such a question. He is being tested to see if he is an authentic teacher. There is no sense of, “I want to learn,” in the question. It is clear from how Jesus responded that he understands the question as a trap.