I’m reading a book by journalist Warren Berger entitled A More Beautiful Question. It is a fascinating look at the powerful nature of questioning to ignite change in companies, schools, and individuals. Deep and imaginative questioning can help us identify and solve problems, develop life-changing ideas, and pursue fresh opportunities.
Berger presents a “Why/What If/How” system of inquiry that guides the questioner through the process of innovative discovery.
Why? A person encounters a situation or problem and asks Why?
What If? Person begins to come up with ideas for possible improvement/solutions — What If possibilities.
How? Person takes one of those possibilities and tries to implement it or make it real — this involves figuring out How.
Most of my adult life has been given to one question. That sounds a bit dramatic. But it’s basically true. The question is in great part what led me to theological studies, the pastorate, earning a PhD, living a semi-monastic life, and blogging.
Why do some Christians strive to experience (know) God more fully and other Christians do not?
If I apply Berger’s model to my exploration, I’ve asked What If questions like: What if I experimented on myself and pursued God with my whole being? What if I studied sanctification, appropriate Bible passages, motivation and education theory, and what it means to be human and developed a model that might answer the question? What if there is no answer to the question?
Then How questions: How would I pursue God with my whole being? How can I actually experience God in my inner being, outward living, and ministry situations? How can I contribute to the “knowing God” conversation?
What has happened along the way is that I’ve simply got more questions. Berger says this usually happens: “It’s common for questioners to do this; each “answer” they arrive at brings a fresh wave of questions. To keep questioning is as natural, for them, as breathing.”
Here are some more recent questions that haunt me as I pursue God (they may haunt you as well), informed by Berger’s model of questioning:
Why would Jesus command me to be perfect as my heavenly Father is perfect and yet not seemingly give me a way to get there? (Matthew 5.48)
Why do I rarely deny myself, unsuccessfully carry the cross, and fall short in following Jesus when He asks this of me over and over? (Matthew 10.38; 16.24, Luke 9.23; 14.27)
Why don’t I live as a “partaker of the divine nature” when God has “given [me] all things that pertain to life and godliness?” (2 Peter 1.4)
Why would Paul pray that Christians be “filled with all the fullness of God” if it was not possible? (Ephesians 3.14-19)
What if I could actually be an imitator of God as his dear child? (Ephesians 5.1)
What if I could actually “pray without ceasing?” (1 Thessalonians 5.17)
What if I could “be holy in all [my] conduct because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy?’” (1 Peter 1.15-16)
How can I live as a partaker of the divine nature?
How can I be filled with all the fullness of God?
How can I imitate God as a child?
How can I be holy as God is holy or merciful as God is merciful?
How can I train myself to become godly?
How can I consistently offer my body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God and intentionally not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of my mind?
Applying Berger’s inquiry process to a particular spiritual problem
Ask yourself these questions:
Why do I settle for anything less when God invites me to train myself for godliness?
What if an effective way to train for godliness could be discovered and lived?
How can a training strategy for godliness be developed and engaged?
Why do I continue to fail at partaking of the divine nature and thus live an anemic Christian life?
What if a way to participate in God could be discovered so that I could live more like a Christian?
How can I live more fully in the life of the Triune God?
Why am I unable to deny myself, take up my cross and follow Jesus?
What if I took Jesus seriously and fully devoted myself to do what he asks?
How could I start denying myself in response to Jesus’ invitation?
Why?/What If?/How? Applied to WOW
As I think about the Way of the Warrior, the questions above and many more like them come to the surface. Like:
Why are most modern Christians complacent and apathetic about their own soul and relationship with God?
What if modern Christians prioritized their relationship with God?
How could modern Christians actually “seek first the kingdom of God?”
Why do we struggle to love God with our whole mind, heart, body, soul, and relationships?
What if there was an effective strategy to help transform my mind, heart, body, soul, and relationships so that love became natural?
How could a strategy or process like this be developed?
That’s enough questions for one day, maybe for one lifetime.
The challenge, of course, is to take this questioning format and apply it to the problem areas of your life.
Why the problem?
What if the problem could be solved or at least managed?
How can it be solved or managed?
If one of those problem areas is your spiritual life, I’m here to help you. Stay tuned as I continue to explore the WOW project. Visit (or re-visit) some of my past posts which address aspects of the spiritual life, especially prayer. Contact me and we’ll set up a time for a conversation. Let me be part of the answer to your “How” question.