ECS Wellbeing: Bishop Martin’s Awareness Practice- Week 5

‘Asking Questions’


I smile at the non-questions that, in the past, I’ve heard used in classrooms and in hierarchical institutions: What kind of time do you think this is? Who do you think you are? What on earth are you talking about? What’s that supposed to mean? Have you done any practice this week? What’s she doing here? Has he had a bath recently? You’ll be able to add to these!

When Jesus was 12, he was in the temple with the religious teachers, who “wondered at Jesus’ wisdom”, because he asked questions.  Questions can show wisdom. Maybe? Notice the photograph about questions and whose looking at you: Albert Einstein!

If I ask you for help, I’m giving away power. That’s easy in supermarkets, but harder where there may be less inclined to appear weaker and more ignorant than the other person. Listen to conversations carefully and you’ll notice how few questions actually are asked.

‘To educate’ comes from the Latin ‘educare’, which means ‘to draw out of…’ Education is a process of drawing out what is already there! How? Questions, perhaps? The drawing out will, of course, include, providing experience, tools, and thinking that aid the process. One of the greatest theologians of the 20th century, the Swiss Karl Barth, described Jesus as ‘The Question Mark that lies over all history”.  Christian history has been too full of statements!

As I look at the terrifying violence from Israel, the Gaza Strip, and beyond, my question is “Can you help me to see where my language and behaviour contribute to separation and perhaps even violence?”

The question: ’Why do fewer people believe in God?’  is, for me, a non-question. For me, the more important questions are ‘What are the things you enjoy and have to cope with? How do they affect you? What makes things difficult? What helps?’ But then the challenge is to wait and listen. Where kindness and love are, there is God.

For the exercise this week, notice your conversations in any age group or a mixture of them: Were there questions in them? Practice asking questions that are not thinly-veiled statements. Please let me know your responses to this.


Bishop Martin Shaw

ECS School Chaplain



18 May 2021
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