Two questions have haunted me the past eight years, refusing to let me go. Nagging me and spurring me on. The first was asked to me by a beloved mentor as I lamented the poverty and drugs and violence that were occurring in my neighborhood:
- Jared, what is the Church going to do about that?
And she didn’t just ask it to me once. She kept on asking me, over and over and over. Summer after summer. Season after season. About this problem and many others. “Jared, what is the Church of Jesus Christ going to do about that?”
She asked it to me when I told her about the young girl who lived in the trailer park up the street from me who was afraid to step outside her home when her family was gone due to the sexual predators that lived around her. She asked it to me when I grieved the teenage boy who stabbed another in the parking lot a few blocks away. She asked it to me when I told her about the food insecurity that plagued our county and the food desert that existed on the south side of my community. She asked it to me after our fence was broken into as a result of gang-initiation activities. And she kept on asking me after I had been sent to a new community. What is the church going to do about the mental health crisis among students and adults in your community? What is the church going to do as the epicenter of the “corridor of innovation” coined by the mayor and his team? What is the church going to do in a community that doesn’t know what to do with its affluence? What is the Church going to do about the human trafficking epidemic affecting Indianapolis and its surrounding communities?
Over and over and over and over: Jared, what is the Church going to do about that?
What an annoying question.
The second occurred ’round a breakfast table with a couple friends and colleagues. They are big dreamers, ambitious for Christ, entrepreneurial in spirit, refreshingly opportunistic. But then one posed a question to the rest of us:
- How are you stewarding your age?
That was a new one for me. And it’s an annoying one too.
Questions like these force me out of chairs of self-pitying passivity and place within my hands the work of personal agency. Work that was once assumed for others to do, was now being placed into my spheres of influence. Questions that made following Jesus a whole lot bigger. And a whole lot more intriguing.
Questions like these won’t let me go because they invite the whole and best parts of myself into them. They invite me to dream far bigger and they expand the possibilities of my imagination. They are questions that demand the very best of my heart, soul, mind, and strengths.
They are so dang annoying, because they are so dang compelling.