- closed: These questions have yes or no answers. They are the questions with simple answers that children love. Is there a God? Is there a heaven? Am I saved? Did Jonah really get swallowed by a whale? Yes or no. You can’t stay here. It is only the first step.
- swinging: These questions are ambiguous. They are a step removed from closed questions. This represents a very anxious time for people as the firm categories in their minds begin to get challenged. Is this person who is so good and gracious but isn’t a Christian still going to Hell? If we have concluded it is unjust to condemn homosexuals, then what does the bible have to say about morality in our time? These questions are disruptive and begin to open the mind to mystery. Sometimes people revert back to closed to avoid the anxiety.
- open: These questions are without a clear answer. They are open precisely because they continually let the air of mystery in. There is no yes or no answer, but neither are they filled with anxiety. What does it mean if there’s no God “up there”? Are the Buddhists right that the soul is a mental construct of the ego? If there is such a thing as immortality, what does it look like? The mature understand that these questions don’t need answers. They are comfortable with the mystery and experience a peace that transcends certainty.
I’m really looking forward to our Potluck on Sunday, 1pm PST, called “Changing In Front of Our Children” because, for example, how do you move to level three kind of questions when your kids want you to stay at level one? Join us!