"The most frequently asked question in all four Gospels is perhaps the most beautiful: 'What do you want me to do for you?' With this question, we discover not so much a God who demands to be waited on, but a God who is eager to serve," writes John Dear, a priest, retreat leader, author, and peace activist. He has served as the executive director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, an interfaith peace organization, and as a Red Cross coordinator of chaplains at the Family Assistance Center in New York City after the 9/11 attacks. Dear is the author or editor of more than a dozen books including Mary of Nazareth, Prophet of Peace.
The spiritual practice of questing includes a very positive view of questions. As a spiritual teacher, Jesus perfected the use of questions as an art form, as a catalyst to transformation, and as a source of wisdom. In chapters on 125 questions of Jesus, Dear covers important and enlightening topics including invitation, identity, purity of heart, conversion, love, healing, vision, compassion, the meaning of life, the reign of God, God's generosity, faith, truth, understanding, obedience, discipleship, the cross, and the resurrection. The appendix lists the questions according to the Gospel in which they appear.
Although it would have been very easy to make this paperback an erudite study, Dear avoids that error by imbuing the text with lively personal stories and a treasure trove of quotations from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Gandhi, Oscar Romero, Dorothy Day, Gustavo Gutierrez, and many others. Again and again, the author zeroes in on Jesus' love, compassion, justice, forgiveness, and nonviolence. Dear is quite right when he writes: "While the majority of people in the United States profess faith in God and Jesus, when push comes to shove, they place their trust in weapons of mass destruction. Their security is not found in God but in first strike nuclear weapons, in huge armies, in the Pentagon, in the flag." Jesus' questions shift our priorities and enable us to start practicing nonviolence.
Think what positive things could be done if service of others even our enemies was put forward instead of revenge and retaliation? Dear notes: "The only way to insure that such terrorism never happens again is to renounce our own terrorism, to stop our own wars, to dismantle our own weapons, to stop hoarding the world's resources, to share our wealth, to feed the starving masses, and to win over humanity through our loving service to the world's poor, regardless of their race, class, religion, or nationality." Let the questions of Jesus crack you open and send you with zeal on the path of serving others in the name of peace, justice and compassion.