…There are questions behind these questions that are even more fundamental and must be addressed first. Some of these more fundamental questions are as follows:
1. Questions of power and motive. To many people today, we’re just another tribe or interest group, using our logic to gain power.
2. Questions of identity. How can you Christians think you can tell other people who they are? Each person has to create her own meaning and identity.
3. Questions of trust. Why should I trust you? Look at what believers have done: Racism. Sexism. Homophobia. The Crusades. Religious wars. You are constantly drawing lines of exclusion.
4. Questions of community. Isn’t the way you see the world completely dependent on your community and place of birth?
Whenever Jesus faced the tough questions in his day, he responded brilliantly, in ways that led to intense, illuminating moments of decision for the people with whom he was talking. Jesus chose those moments to become confrontational, but in unexpected ways. He didn’t fit the stereotypes or go by the rules of his questioner. He often addressed the questions behind the questions first. In so doing, he broke out of the questioners’ stereotypes and rules. And then Jesus confronted people’s false ways of understanding God and spirituality.
-Rick Richardson in Reimagining Evangelism, p. 105-106