This year’s Bishops’ Lent challenge sounds straightforward: simply to have conversations with our friends, family, colleagues, or people we just bump into in our daily life.
How can that be a challenge?
Often the conversations we have are on the same topics (you can probably name them!) or they are about practicalities like who is going to get the tea. This challenge provides an excuse to grapple with some simple questions about life, death and everything in between.
In a society where loneliness is on the rise, it’s good to find ways of connecting with those around us and having meaningful conversations.
Are they all ‘Christian’ questions?
No! These are questions, big and small, on a variety of topics about life, the world and faith.
These are everyday questions that many of us wonder about, even if we wouldn’t usually have a conversation about them.
What happens if I don’t know the answers?
Don’t worry, this is about conversation, not about answers! The Challenge is two-fold:
- To listen to someone else’s viewpoint
- To ask ourselves how our own answers connect to what we believe
How do I get started?
You may have picked up a pack of cards at one of our Archdeaconry, but if you haven’t got a pack of cards then you can follow the questions each day in Lent (from 26 February) on our Twitter and Facebook feeds with the hashtag #40questions. We’ll also share some very short videos of people of all ages having a go at some of the questions, just as a conversation starter!
You can also download a set of the questions at the bottom of this page.
Some ideas for using the questions:
You can either pick questions, do one for each day of Lent or randomly or choose a particular card from one of the three themes: LIFE, FAITH and THE WORLD.
Why not seek out answers from different perspectives and generations?
These cards are conversation starters, there are no ‘right’ answers. Here are two suggestions:
- Shuffle the pack, pick a card at random and discuss.
- Set a timer, pick a card and take 30 seconds in turn to talk about the question. The challenge for those listening is not to interrupt!
Have a look at a sample video, which considers the question ‘Is there life on other planets?’, filmed with the help of pupils from Danesfield Church of England Middle School in Somerset.