The Asking of Holy Questions
It had been a full day of listening to theologians lecture about the biblical call to love your neighbor, watching improv, and visiting sites around Nashville to see the lecture concepts in action. After a time of worship and reflection at the end of the day, I joined my dear high school friends in a circle of chairs to begin our nightly debriefing conversation. The safety of this circle held the questions the students dared to ask –– the difficult ones about community, current social issues of our day, and the intersection of faith and calling and missional living.
In their questions, I heard myself. In their frustrations, I heard myself.
Some five years prior I sat in a similar seat. But I sat with no circle of peers around me, and with no training or means to process these thoughts other than a deep conviction of what I thought was right or wrong at the age of fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen years old.
When my peers in high school celebrated their 18th birthday by going to a strip club, and when they communicated their lack of interest in caring about anyone different than them, I was stunned and alone in my vastly different opinion. Alone, I wrestled deeply with these perplexing questions about faith and the human condition and about words that Jesus spoke that were so confusing to understand. What does he even mean? Why does Jesus talk about caring for the poor and then it seems like the church doesn’t? Where do I fit in any of this?
Where do I fit in any of this?
Isn’t that what every one of us are constantly asking?
When I sat across from my dear high school friends as they pondered the same core-shaking questions –– the very same ones I wrestled with not so long ago –– I knew they were in the very best place they could be. I knew they had peers gathered around them who were, and continue to be on the same journey of discovery. I knew they had mentors and theological resources to guide them as well. I knew they were so deeply cared for by their home communities, and by program staff.
Most of all, I knew these students and friends weren’t alone.
As I watched students from all different backgrounds, places around the world, faith denominations, race, socioeconomic status, I realized the world would tell these students that they were more different than they were similar. But as I watched them in this circle run directly into their questions, into their passions, and into justice, I was reminded just how much those factors connect us to each other if we allow them to. And that’s why this program exists. Six8 Fellowship is for the dreamers and the doubters, the wonderers and wanderers, for the people who want to get their hands dirty, the activists and creatives, for the learners and scholars and thinkers, the ones wrestling with the hard questions and those who don’t even know where to begin. Six8 exists because while the world tells us there are a million reasons why we’re separate from one another, we say something different.
“You can sit with us. There’s room for you at our table.”