"The church is a place for answers, not for questions."--Bree Van De Camp, Desperate Housewives.
Yes, it's true. I learned something insightful from the usually shallow-and-smutty-Desperate Housewives. My ears perked up when I heard one of the main characters declare to her family that they should go to church.
Meanwhile Bree is competing for a prestigious position as committee leader and thinks Lynette's improper behavior may have cost her the spot. But when Bree realizes her pastor was refreshed by Lynette's honest questions, she sets out to get Lynette back. But a still hurting Lynette lashes out at Bree, confessing she used to admire Bree's faith. That she thought Bree had a "real relationship with God," and that's how Bree got through the difficult times. But when she got cancer and her family was nearly killed in a tornado, she was puzzled that Bree never shared her faith. It was as if Bree kept the secret that gave her strength all to herself.
Lynette says, "I have survived cancer and a tornado and I don't understand why I survived and so many others didn't." She needs to understand how God fits into all of this.
Bree, stunned, says "Why didn't you ever tell me this?" Lynette shoots back, "Why didn't you ask? Oh that's right, you don't like asking questions."
In the end Bree apologizes. Bree says, "Faith shouldn't be blind. You don't threaten it by asking questions, you make it stronger." The episode ends with them on the porch reading the Bible together.
Throughout the episode, I kept thinking about the growing number of the population that is completely "unchurched." How many people do not know anything about God or Jesus, let alone how church is done. I wonder how the few curious seekers that do wander into churches see our services? Do they feel the way Lynette felt? Do even Christians sometimes feel the way Lynette felt? Like they are trouble-makers or lacking in faith if they ask the hard questions plaguing their hearts and minds? If they don't just sit back and hope one day their answers will come?
Are our churches a place for questions? I realize that in larger churches, it would be quite impractical to have the congregation asking their questions during those meetings. But I think the nature of Lynette's questions is what really made everyone uncomfortable. I've been part of several bible studies where similar questions were posed and the mood immediately changed. The tension was thick and people scrambled to dismiss the questions with simple pat answers and cliches before changing the subject. Slap a scripture on it and move on!