Jeffrey F. Keuss (PhD, University of Glasgow) is professor of Christian ministry, theology, and culture at Seattle Pacific University. He is also the executive director of Pivot Northwest.
He is a regular contributor to the The Kindlings Muse podcast on theology and culture and is on the editorial board of Literature and Theology.
His books include Freedom of the Self, Blur, and Your Neighbor's Hymnal. Keuss lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife, Diana, and their three children.
You can find Jeff on:
Live the Questions by Jeff Keuss
Chapter 1 - Doubt is Not the Opposite of Faith
There’s a common fear every human being faces. It’s a fear of being alone, and not just being physically isolated from others, but a fear of not belonging or fitting in with the group. So many times as you follow Jesus you have questions you want to ask. But you may feel like you just can’t. Maybe someone made fun of you for asking a serious question once, or maybe the answers you get from other Christians miss what you were really asking. Eventually, you stop asking questions because it’s easier to pretend you have the answers so you can fit in and belong. If you’ve been here or felt like this before, this is episode is for you. We’re excited about this chapter with Jeff Keuss, because he talks about the value things like doubt and questions have for our growth every day. These things aren’t the opposite of what it means to have faith. Instead, as he argues, absolute certainty is the opposite of faith.
Chapter 2 - The First Question God Asks of Us
Questions have a remarkable way of getting us to respond. It’s easy to ignore statements or even the commands someone is giving. But when we are asked a question, our brains can’t help but jump into action working to provide an answer. We have to spend time and energy working the problem from multiple angles. We invest part of ourselves in coming up with an answer. And this process changes us. We grow because of it. And so when God asks us questions, he knows they will change us if we are willing to wrestle with them. And that’s why Jeff Keuss begins his book, Live the Questions, with the first question God asks humanity.
Chapter 3 - Are You Your Brother's Keeper?
The room you’re in right now is shaping you. It’s forming you into a different kind of person, whether you’re aware of it or not. The lighting in the room, the people around you, and a lot of other variables all play a part in forming who you are as a person and how you’re going to interact with the world around you. God actually designed us to work this way. One of the tendencies every human being has is to be the ruler of our own existences. It drives us away from community and others around us and pushes us into isolation. But this is the opposite of God’s design for our lives. He created us with an intrinsic connection to the people around us. We need each other to survive and thrive in the world, especially as Christians. In this chapter, Jeff explains just how important this connection is, and he finds an important clue in Genesis 4, not too long after God first asks Adam and Eve, “Where are you?”
Chapter 4 - Do You Feel Like a JV Player on God's Team?
Our conversation this week with Jeff Keuss has demonstrated that the Bible really is a book of questions. The characters whom we read about, and sometimes idolize, dealt with very real questions revolving around fear and shame and identity. They were searching for how their everyday lives were affected by the larger questions of life. And that’s what today’s chapter with Jeff Keuss illustrates as we dive into some of the difficult questions he wrestled with at a crucial moment in his life.
Chapter 5 - The Spiritual Discipline of Asking Questions
God calls you and me to trust him. It’s the basic premise behind what we call salvation. Our basic, sinful desire is to take control and rule our own existences. But God calls us to give that up and trust him instead of our own ability to take control. This is exactly what Jesus responded to Nicodemus’ questions in John 3. In this chapter, Jeff talks about some of the valuable things he’s learned from John 3 as well as the value of asking questions as a spiritual discipline. Wrestling with questions like this is a way of moving toward trust in God. It demonstrates we don’t know the answer. It demonstrates we’re looking for an answer from someone beyond ourselves. This is exactly the kind of person God is looking for.