I've been mulling over the relationship between the Church and the world when it comes to questions and answers. I think I see two models which dominate our thinking.
In the first model, the world is thought of as having questions, whilst the Church has answers. The job of the Church, then, is to supply the answers to the questions the world is asking. This assumes a few things. Firstly, it assumes that the world is asking questions, and indeed not just any questions but the right questions. Secondly, it assumes that the Church is in a position of superiority vis a vis the world, as the possessor of answers. Thirdly, it assumes that the world, when seeking answers to its questions, is likely to come to the Church, or at least that the world will be willing to listen to the answers the Church provides. I think this model may have been useful, at some point in the past, when the big questions being asked in the world were in fact largely shaped by the Church, and therefore the Church genuinely was seen as the place to go for answers. I'm not at all sure it is very useful today.
In the second model, the world is thought of as having answers, while the Church has questions. The job of the Church on this model is to question the assumptions of the world, and attempt to make the world think more deeply about the genuineness of its answers. This model is probably more useful to us today, and underlies a lot of our apologetic strategy. Note, however, that this still puts the Church into a position of definite superiority; our questions come from a place of security and power.
I've been wondering what an ecclesiology that is deeply shaped by the cross looks like. I wonder whether in this instance it means not taking a position of authority. I've been wondering whether the role of the Church in the world might be to ask questions of God and of itself, and to be asked questions by God, so that the Church is able to stand in solidarity with a confused world and encourage the world to ask the questions it hardly dares to ask for fear of a lack of answers.
I wonder whether we in the Church could be a community of comforted questioners, and the comforted questioned. Might we not be able to say to the world: we too have questions and doubts, we too would like to ask God a thing or two, we too are confused and baffled by existence and terrified by non-existence, but we are comforted in the face of our questions and our fears by Jesus Christ, who asks the question with us - "my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" And then we might be able to say to the world: like you, we find our very existence thrown in doubt, we are forced to question whether anything means anything, and indeed we find ourselves standing under the great question of whether our being can possibly be justified, but we are comforted in these questions by Jesus Christ, who asks us a bigger question which leads us to hope - "who do you say I am?"
Anyway, I was just wondering what that might be like.