About This Blog

Friday, June 23, 2017

"Becoming Curious" (Casey Tygrett)

TITLE: Becoming Curious: A Spiritual Practice of Asking Questions
AUTHOR: Casey Tygrett
PUBLISHER: Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2017, (192 pages).

An elderly once said: "The older I get, I realize I don't have more answers. I have more questions." As our world increasingly gets more complex, questions have become the norm. Whether it is new technology or novel ways to doing the same thing, we need to keep learning, especially when more individuals are empowered to be creative and innovative. There are many different purposes of questions. The main use in this book is about cultivating and practicing the gift of curiosity. It is learning to comb the mass array of choices and information glut to pinpoint the necessary from the rest. Questions can sharpen our focus. It helps us ponder whether the status quo is worth preserving or not. These are "curious questions." Following that, author Casey Tygrett leads us through various ways in which we can put into practice such "curious questions"; what they are; how they look like; when to use them; and how it affects relationships; how it introduces tension especially when dealing with areas in our lives we are afraid to ask. Some tips for asking good questions include:
  • Being specific
  • Being clear about different uses of imperative and invitation statements
  • Being repetitive using different words and phrases
  • Being bold about uncertainly
  • Being humble
  • Practicing "quaestio divina" or divine questioning
  • ...

Curiosity is the essence of childlikeness. Moving this direction is a good counter to an increasingly know-it-all behaviours that often inhibit learning. Spiritually, it has to do with prayer as we can ask God questions about Him, us, and everything else. Asking questions also clarify our inner longings. When we verbalize something, we are also revealing ourselves to ourselves. Our culture of constant connection and relentless push for fame have ironically made us more alone and less aware of our own identity. Questions sharpen our understanding and motivation. They remind us of our call to love our neighbour and to know who they are. They move us out of our comfort zones and dare to question the status quo. They help us to crystallize reasons why we do certain things week after week, time after time. They also point us toward spiritual practices and the disciplines that keep us learning about God as disciples of Christ. The alternative to sainthood is not simply doing good works but honouring God and letting God shape us. Questions can make us uncomfortable especially when we are talking about matters we prefer to be hidden away in the corners of our hearts. One example is forgiveness which Tygrett helps us face. In order to change, openness is not enough. We need to know how to change as well. 

This is a good reminder that spiritual growth means we learn to change and to grow into Christlikeness more and more. All those teachings about spiritual formation, spiritual direction, and spiritual guidance can be adopted using the practice of asking questions. In fact, the search for truth often go through the gates of questions. Sometimes, it is embarrassing that we need books like this to remind us of the very basic nature of questions and learning. The older we are, the more we need to learn. Such a disposition is life-long. Even of ourselves, there is still so much to discover. With probing questions and appropriate observations, we can grow to know ourselves even as we grow toward knowing God. It reminds me about the biblical references to asking. Jesus said: "Ask and you shall receive." James urges us to ask God for wisdom, and throughout the Old Testament, we are encouraged to ask freely and diligently. Learning to ask questions is a key attribute of childlikeness and an important way forward in spiritual growth. Perhaps the reason why many of us no longer grow is because we no longer ask questions. May this book be used to move more people along the path of holy curiosity and spiritual growth. It is because God loves us that when we ask questions of Him, He will be delighted.

Casey Tygrett is teaching pastor at Heartland Community Church in Rockford, Illinois. He is also spiritual director and adjunct professor and has taught at Lincoln Christian Seminary and Emmanuel Christian Seminary.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book has been provided courtesy of Inter-Varsity Press and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

No comments:

Post a Comment