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What if…?

March 31, 2010

The world is full of hatred, anger, greed and injustice. What if you’re supposed to do something about it?

In a recent blog post, Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, Searching for God Knows What, Through Painted Deserts, To Own a Dragon and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, identifies the “Single Most Powerful Question You Can Ask.” Here is what he says:

When novelists sit down to write a narrative, there is a question they ask themselves in order to create exciting and meaningful stories, and that same question can also create a more exciting and meaningful life. That question is: What if?

In part, this blog is my answer to a “what if” question I’ve asked myself for a long time: What if I stopped thinking about writing and teaching, and actually just started to do it?

A few years ago, millions of Americans flocked to bookstores to purchase Rick Warren’s, The Purpose Driven Life. Warren asked a question that all of us, at many times and in various ways, have asked ourselves, “What on earth am I here for?”

We ask ourselves this question and, for many, there is a tiny nagging voice in the back of our minds that calls out an answer, only to be silenced by “reasonable” and “responsible” voices that dissuade us from taking action.

I see these two questions, “What on earth am I here for?” and “What if…?” as two sides of the same coin. We must ask the first or, to be more precise, we must pray the first, asking not just ourselves but the God who created us and called us forth into existence to play a role in his cosmic drama, “What on earth am I here for?

Perhaps you need some help answering this question. During the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI identified our purpose in the world, saying:

But the Lord wishes to spread His kingdom also by means of the laity, namely, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.”From Lumen Gentium, Chapter 4 “The Laity”

If our purpose is to spread a kingdom of holiness, grace, justice, love and peace, then we’re going about it the wrong way. We’re too often trying to find our purpose by asking what kind of work would make us the happiest or what would we do if we had plenty of money and didn’t have to work anymore.

To bring about the kingdom Pope Paul VI describe, we must ask the question in a different way. A few years ago, Rob Bell, a pastor in Grand Rapids, Michigan posed an alternative way to think through the question. He asked:

What makes you angry?
What is it, that when you see it you say, “That’s wrong, somebody should do something about that!”

From NOOMA –Store (embedded in 2 parts below)

When you answer that question, you must then ask the question of yourself that you’ve long been afraid to ask, “What if I’m that somebody?”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ryan Ransom permalink
    March 31, 2010 1:46 pm

    Well put sir. I’m really enjoying them. So often we wait for someone else to act when it should be me! Definitely something to think about. Keep’em coming, Chris!


  1. What If… | Moogy.Org | Blog

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