Are You Open?
Curious George was a staple in our home a few years ago. Nora and Max have grown a little too old for it, but once in awhile George will make his way onto our TV screen. Why a show like this resonates with little kids is the fact that George is curious about everything. He gets into everything. He explores everywhere. He tastes or smells almost anything. They can relate to his adventurous spirit because they are in that stage of exploration and curiosity. In fact, it's the best way for them to learn as this study, among many others, reminds us of this God-given truth.
Over time that curiosity begins to fade in us all. We become set in our ways, our opinions, our beliefs, our systems and we leave no room for curiosity. In fact, the opportunity to be curious, or as we as adults would say, "I don't know," is not something that we enjoy sitting in consistently. Thank God for Alexa or Google! Knowing and understanding certain things is important...it's the goal of curiosity, but what if we are called to pursue curiosity even in the midst of some certainty?
Recently Barna Group came out with a study about the spiritual openness that is very prevalent in our country. From one perspective, as a follower of Jesus, I think this is exciting because people are actually more interested in spiritual conversations. From another perspective, as a follower of Jesus, it can also fuel the flame of believing whatever you want to believe, whenever you want to believe it, regardless of its accuracy, validity or source of truth. So, my adult intuition is to immediately reject the openness of others if it doesn't align with my view of truth.
But I see a different way laid out in the Bible. In Acts 16, the Apostle Paul speaks into a very spiritually open group of philosophers in the city of Athens (Verse 21 sounds like their version of Reddit or Twitter). But instead of condemning their curiosity, he enters into it. He speaks in a way that touches on their spiritual curiosity without neglecting the truth of what He believes about Jesus Christ. And their response?
Some laugh him off. Some ignore him. Some ask questions and want to hear more. Some even believe and follow him.
So, the question is, are you more willing to enter into the curiosity of others or are you so appalled by their curiosity that flies in the face of your truth that you disengage from any conversation? Or to make it more practical to our day:
Do you immediately shoot down someone's opinion or belief on a political or social issue because they vote differently than you?
Are you skeptical of Revivals or Awakenings happening because it doesn't fit into your Christian framework or experience?
Do you discredit the value someone can bring because of a past mistake or failure on their part?
Are you open to believing that someone can actually change a thought, attitude or behavior because they "always" regress?
We're living in an era of curiosity, an era of openness. I'm certain that some of it can and will be redeemed by Jesus because He's always in the business of redemption. There will be other "open ideas" that will come and go, but unless we enter into that curious space and not judge it from a distance, we won't be able to see the redemptive work that Jesus has for you, for me, for us all.