‘It’s good to talk!’ so the old BT advert (other telecommunications firms are available) used to say. I agree. Who doesn’t feel better after having a good old chat with a friend, or even after having a quick chat with a stranger when stuck in a tedious queue? It may seem then, that this year’s Lent Challenge from Bishop Peter and myself is no great challenge at all as we are simply suggesting that we have conversations with our neighbours, family and friends.
The challenge comes in what we might talk about. We are encouraging all of us, including Bishops, to step outside what may be our normal topics of conversation, and perhaps our comfort zones, and grapple with some simple questions about life, death and everything in between. The challenge is both to listen to someone else’s viewpoint and to ask ourselves how our own answers connect to what we believe.
In order to help us have those conversations the Go Team and discipleship team have produced a handy pack of question cards, and by the time Lent begins, we hope that each church will have received at least one of these packs of 40 Everyday Questions. The questions are suitable for all ages so can be used in a whole host of ways – with friends, family, colleagues, in school, with a Lent group, at a ‘bring and share’ lunch, even in church on a Sunday.
We’ve already been out and about across the diocese asking people some of the questions on the cards. And you can bet that asking school children questions like ‘Should all bad people be punished?’ or ‘How would you describe God?’ has yielded some very interesting conversations. We will be sharing some of the conversations we’ve had with a range of people on Facebook and Twitter so if you are on social media then do keep an eye out for them during Lent, and by all means let our communications team know how you are getting on using the hashtag #40questions.
We really hope the 40 Everyday Questions cards generate some interesting, meaningful and indeed, Godly conversations that will help us hear the point of view of those around us and refresh and deepen our faith in God this Lent.
The Right Revd Ruth Worsley, Bishop of Taunton