One does not have to look very hard to see all the “back to school” sales going on.

As I travel from my study at church to my home, I drive by the Pequot Lakes football field and in the mornings I can see the football team running drills and working out. My son wrapped up his summer of working at one of our Bible camps and is now awaiting his return to college to wrap up his senior year. For the past 26 years I have been married to a high school English teacher and by this time of the summer I could tell it was time for school to start up again.

I mention this because even though it has been a while since I sat in a classroom, I love education. I am one of those geeks who likes to read and listen to people smarter than I am discuss lofty and challenging ideas. I find hands-on and experiential education really helpful in my learning process. I like it when I am teaching in my context when people ask interesting questions on matters that puzzle them.

As a matter of fact, I knew this kid, let’s call him, “Ralph.” Ralph, when he was 6, was one of those kids not afraid to talk to adults. He was also not afraid to ask questions, lots of questions. “Why are you watering those trees?" "Why are you going to ride your bike again?” "How tall is your house?”

I, for one, hope that Ralph never ceases to ask questions because curiosity leads to finding answers. As he grows older, I would be pleased if he learns to ask crucial and important questions

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What we learn about life tends to fit the shape of our questions. If we ask shallow questions, superficial questions, we will have a view of life that lacks depth. People who come close to understanding the meaning of life are those who raise and pursue the more difficult questions.

Likewise, if our questions about God are narrowly based, our knowledge of God will be narrow. Too many believers treat God as a mascot, a hobby or an acquaintance. They see God as their buddy, as “the man upstairs," or as a copilot. Such an understanding of God does not arise from reflective, thoughtful questioning.

An example of posing difficult questions comes in asking why an all-powerful and loving God would allow suffering, injustice and evil in the world. Some would say that such questioning illustrates a lack of faith.

But I suggest that asking difficult questions might be the prelude to creating and sustaining a strong and vibrant faith. I know many people who want a simple faith based on shallow, dogmatic statements. Yet, I also know many people who hunger for a faith that allows them to ask tough questions in life. I encourage you to seek a faith that can withstand the tough questions.

To all the school faculty, support staff, administration and above all, students of all ages - embrace the opportunity to wrestle with great and challenging questions. Participate in in stimulating conversations. Indulge your curiosity and imaginations.

Blessed are those who dare to ask the hard questions, for they shall continue to grow and mature in all matters in life.