Questions – Inspired by the Daughters of Zelophehad

This past Sunday (August 26, 2012) at Emmanuel Mennonite Church we had the opportunity to engage the “Daughters of Zelophehad” story found in Numbers 27:1-11.  It’s a story about 5 women who asked a question that changed the scope of their reality and ultimately allowed them a tangible presence in the promised land of Canaan.  The question was then posed to us.  What are the questions of Emmanuel Mennonite Church?  What are the questions that we sit with that could take us to different places and spaces?

We want to be a community that encourages questions that poke and prod at our reality with the hope of facilitating the presence of our missional God particular time and place.  In light of this we asked people who were interested to write a few questions, hand them into the ushers to have them posted here on the website.

As a staff we have reflected on the manner in which to have discussion around these thought provoking questions and are not wanting to limit ourselves.  This means that some questions will be engaged by staff directly on the website.  Others will be answered via sermons on Sunday morning, and we also hope to facilitate some online discussion on some of these topics of conversation.  The ultimate hope is that engage this together as community.  So with that, we encourage you to drop a few comments below.  When you do, be sure to reference the question number indicated below.


1.  Would we accept a homosexual person as a member at Emmanuel?  Would we let the homosexual person teach at Emmanuel?


2.  Why is there a ‘chosen’ people?  Why do some have so much pain and others have none?


3.  I wonder about building community in a workplace that largely wants to maintain the status quo.


4.  What would it be like if we, as a church, rather than individuals, reached out to the community around us?  How could we do it?  What would it be like if we opened ourselves up even more to the work and guidance of the Holy Spirit?


5.  Who is exempt from God’s love?  Who is exempt from our church community’s love?  How can we go about minimizing the number of people we exclude from our circles, or actively trying to welcome them?


6.  Is it acceptable to be gay?  Is the Bible still a tool to instruct and uplift, or have we, as Christians, twisted it into a hammer and used it to beat people down?


7.  Why do we always stand to sing?  Is it so that people who raise their hands can reach higher?


8.  What would happen if all the Christians in the world would oppose war?  Or any efforts to support war effort?  Or not vote for candidates who are hawkish?


9.  What is freedom?  I have never heard a sermon on “Freedom”!


10.  How do you faithfully keep business and personal elements of a friendship separate or together?


11.  Who in our community has no inheritance that leads to a place to live or work?  Can we help, at least one family or person achieve this?  (this question in reference to the Numbers 27:1-11 text, where the 5 daughters of Zelophehad were in big trouble with no opportunity for land inheritance in the promised land.)


12.  Do we leave room for the Holy Spirit to work and move with the structure of our services at church and in the structure of our lives?


13.  How does God send His message to people today? (The Bible has prophets, what do we have?)


14.  How can we transform the inequalities in our ‘Christian’ country?  Are we narrowing inequalities between the haves/have not’s… so we as Canadians could facilitate equality worldwide?


15.  Why do ‘Christian people and communities tend to elect and support government who call themselves ‘Christian’ yet so often enact un-Christ – like lives that support and foster war, not peace; oppress, not help the vulnerable in society; sick, elderly, children growing and learning, the poor?


16.  What can we do to help the Warm Zone stay open?  How do we get the government to use our tax dollars to fund it properly?


17.  Why are we waging a war on drugs that makes the addicts the enemy?


18.  About the Sermon – why did you utilize the numbers in Numbers literally while you examined the rest of the story narratively? – It just threw me off a bit.  Why stick with historic examples of risk and not push forward and risk yourself?   Let’s question + risk + move forward!


19.  If God has the ability to heal, isn’t he morally obligated to do so?  Is God coercive?  How can we as Christians affirm truth that are void of personal experience?


20.  I believe we should be more involved in outreach in Abbotsford to the Sikhs and Filipino’s. 


21.  Prayer – how come some prayers are answered and others aren’t?  E.g. 2 people are sick, one dies; the other recovers.


22.  Where was God when my car was broken into while parked at a church?


23.  Why doesn’t our church encourage us to bring our Bibles to worship service?  And to follow the scripture reading?  How about giving as modes to mission as we spend on vacations and luxury?


24.  What can/could we do to demonstrate acceptance of all peoples (international or local, etc…) from all of us church people?


25.  Why do we have such a problem with obesity in our society when we know what to do?


26.  Are we as a church doing all we can to welcome visitors to want to return?


27.  How do you continue to “parent” your children once they’re grown?  How do you relate?


28.  How can we incorporate more scripture study in Emmanuel?


29.  What will be my role in life when I can no longer walk at all?


30.  How do we find a way to encourage our members and friends in the church to participate in more ways in the life of the church.  Cheques and cash are not used much anymore.  Is there another way? (Just one way to participate?)


31.  Women preachers?  Homosexuals? Self Defence?  Were prophets really psychics?   

If you would like to start a conversation on one particular question, please reference the question number at the beginning of your comment.

*Some questions have been edited for clarity.