Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Big Questions

Sometimes in higher education, if a two year college is worthy of being called that, questions are asked that have no clear yes or no answer, and are meant to be debated and discussed rather than answered. Since I do not like conflict or confrontation, these questions tend to make me flustered and I often avoid joining the discussions that surround them. However since they are now being asked in class and I don’t want my participation grades to suffer, I have lately been attempting to begin joining these discussions. A few days ago in one of my classes, we were asked if we believed that racial profiling will ever go away. (We had been assigned an article that argued that it is real ,and a problem, so we were being asked the question with that perspective already established.) My first reaction was to be personally offended by this topic that never seems to go away and dissociate from the conversation, but that must not have been God’s plan for that moment, because a Bible verse immediately came to mind, and in that verse I found the answer to this question and several others I have been faced with lately. “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world. John 16:33”. And suddenly, instead of staying quiet, I could volunteer my answer. No, other imperfect and unfair human tendencies like the one we were discussing will not go away as my generation gets older. The world has always been, and always will be an imperfect place.
 That, I realized, is how I can answer the big questions, and handle situations like sitting through a three hour class discussion of “white privilege” without walking  away bitter and offended (I did at the time, but now I realize that was the wrong way to react). It is how I answered that question about social profiling, stating that it will exist as long as this world does, and how I plan to handle all of those “big question” moments from now on. With the knowledge that the world is not perfect and I do not have the ability to change that, I am free to let God handle the big issues. I don’t have to know all the answers, in fact I’m not supposed to. It is the nature of college courses to discuss complex and controversial issues, and it is my nature to want to avoid controversy. I need to keep that verse in the back of my head and remember that while discussing complicated things is necessary for the purpose of getting the grade I need, having all of the answers and getting everyone else to agree with me is not. As a student, it will sometimes be my job to discuss the big questions, but in the end I think it might be a good thing that there are some questions that only God has the answers for.

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