Many of us are members of congregations that use the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) as a guide to scripture readings for worship. Some of us, myself included, use RCL texts for preaching.

Is it the consensus of this community (or the will of this community's organizers) that we may post questions like "How do you interpret Mt 16:21-28 (RCL 22A)?" for consideration by fellow RCL preachers and readers?

I ask because some folks might think such questions are inappropriate. For one thing, I am not sure they have a single "acceptable" answer.

2 Answers 2


A questions like "How do you interpret Mt 16:21-28 (RCL 22A)?" is really an open-ended question which is not well-suited to this type of Q&A. This site is designed to answer very specific questions with specific answers based on prior knowledge and expertise.

The question you ask is really polling the audience to solicit everyone's thoughts on a subject. There's nothing inherently wrong with opinions and on-going discussion in a Christianity forum. But there are already a lot of discussion forums on the 'net set up specifically for that type of threaded discussion. That's not really what we do here.

We specifically forgo open-ended questions because that's what differentiates this Q&A site ("What is the answer to this question?") from most discussions forums ("What do y'all think about…"). The purpose of Christianity SE is to build a canon of specific knowledge on the subject of Christianity.

This site is really much better suited to asking specific questions about problems you actually have. You might ask instead

"I was reading [verse] and had trouble understanding what they mean by [phrase]. What did Jesus mean by "take up their cross?"

  • I understand, but it's too bad. First of all, the practice of most major world religions, Christianity included, involves a seeking for truth that sometimes doesn't yield crisp answers. Secondly, I was really hoping this medium's scheme for handling contributors' reputation could help overcome the typical trolling behavior on other open forums. I guess it is not to be. Thanks for considering my question.
    – user116
    Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 11:43

Lots of us use StackOverflow for programming topics and totally ignore stuff outside our breadth of knowledge.

However, esoteric questions may not get satisfactory answers.

The one thing you can't really avoid is getting answers from someone who just wants to answer your question - who may have no idea what you're talking about. (like me!) You feel bad to downvote 'em, but that's kinda the purpose and if you're nice, you'll tell them why.

But, on the other hand, if the breadth of the question doesn't expand past your mind, then it'll be closed because it's too localized. Your class of questions, however seem just fine.

  • 1
    Well, OK. The charter for the site says "This is a free, community driven Q&A for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more." Many pastors fit the "expert" description having taken four year masters degree courses and served internships. The Revised Common Lectionary is, umm, common. Claiming that it's an esoteric topic among this target community is rather like claiming that integer overflow is an esoteric topic among programmers.
    – user116
    Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 11:37

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