At the moment Rowan and I are working on our times tables. My favourite sum is 6 x 7 because the answer takes me back to a favourite radio play/book/film of mine, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
According to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, some time ago a group of hyper-intelligent pan dimensional beings decided to finally answer the great question of Life, The Universe and Everything. To this end they built an incredibly powerful computer, Deep Thought. After the great computer programme had run (a very quick seven and a half million years) the answer was announced.
The Ultimate answer to Life, the Universe and Everything is…
(You’re not going to like it…)
Which suggests that what you really need to know is ‘What was the Question?’
The tagline to the Alpha Course publicity at the moment is ‘The Meaning of Life Is_______ .’ As Christians we have an answer to this question (and the answer is?) and we’re keen to share it. Of course just as the great philosophers who stood in front of Deep Thought that fateful day, we have to be mindful of the question as well. Sometimes we can be too slow and too shy to share the answer we’ve discovered with others, but sometimes we can also be too fast. Of key importance in communicating our faith is to listen to what others are saying, and answering their questions – not the ones we hope they’re asking, but the ones they’re actually asking. Of course, this may be the same question, and when it is, are we ready? If it’s not, rather than twisting the answer to give our preferred answer (no, the answer to all questions really isn’t Jesus!), it’s better to respond to what is being asked. If people can see that we’re taking them seriously, they’re more likely to take what we have to say seriously.
Incidentally, what do you think the answer is?…
Church Newsletter article for Sunday 3rd October 2010