Sunday, April 16, 2006

Chasing Wonder

Somewhere in the transition from childhood to manhood I've lost something fundamental to who I am. I'm a believer in God, but I've seen the wonder slowly slip away. Somewhere along my journey I made an unconscious decision to set aside my heart and focus on the broadening of my intellect. This blog is an attempt to remedy this...

So here I stand, on the most important day of the Christian calendar, Easter, contemplating my relationship to the one Almighty God; Creator, Redeemer, & Sustainer of all. Without this day there is no divine Jesus Christ, and therefore, no "Christianity". There is something about this day that sparks a sense of wonder in me; a sense of wonder that has almost completely dissolved. The wonder a young boy has when he sees his first rainbow, or is startled by the sound of thunder, or feels his heart flutter from the glance of a girl.

Now, I don't want you to think that I've lost my faith in God because that isn't the case. How could I deny the existence of a God I've experienced? It's more of a struggle in relationship, than in belief. When I have a fight with my parents I don't stop believing in them, I just have a hard time seeing eye-to-eye... and so it is with my relationship with God.

The thought of God used to invoke in me a healthy fear, a passion, a curiousity, a desire to stretch beyond myself, a desire to be holy, God was my focus and my motivator. However, somewhere in my path to adulthood I have come to see God more as a puzzle with no solution. This is where the logician in me starts his journey towards insanity. In the words of G.K. Chesterton...

"The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits."

The poet understands something that the logician fails to recognize; that God is something to be imagined, but not understood (at least in fullness). There is no materialist explanation of God's grace, no formula for his love, and no Freudian-psychology that can unravel the depth of His character. The poet takes comfort in this, while the logician shudders at the thought of something which is infinite and incomprehensible.

It is to this end that I seek to suppress the logician and reveal the poet. I want to see the wonder of God for what it is, and not for what I can explain it to be. I don't wish to shed my adulthood, and return to childhood; but I wish to be an adult who maintains a wonder for God. I want there to be a balance between the mind and the heart; between thought and emotion; between logic and poetry.

Part of my struggle is with the Church. There seems to be a dichotomy in what it is, and what it is intended to be. It's the frustration of getting advice when what you need is a shoulder to cry on, or having people present shadows of themselves to each other in the attempt to falsely exemplify the incarnate. I don't think God intended us to be spirits, awkwardly defiant of our bodies; but complete humans (body & spirit) motivated & empowered by the work of God's spirit.

If I'm going to have an impact on the Church, I need to be inspired by God, and this requires a wonder of God. There needs to be an understanding that God is the 'perpetual novelty' (as Ravi Zacharias would say). Not to say that God is new and different everyday, but rather there is never a shortage of things to learn or wonder about God. I leave you with another quote from G.K. Chesterton...

"One of the deepest and strangest of all human moods is the mood which will suddenly strike us perhaps in a garden at night, or deep in sloping meadows, the feeling that every flower and leaf has just uttered something stupendously direct and important, and that we have by a prodigy of imbecility not heard or understood it. There is a certain poetic value, and that a genuine one, in this sense of having missed the full meaning of things. There is beauty, not only in wisdom, but in this dazed and dramatic ignorance."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand what you mean, about losing the wonder not being a loss of faith. You should check out for another similar discussion. It is written by a Christian who is also an English Literature academic.

2:05 p.m.  
Blogger Lee said...

Thanks, I'll be sure to check it out.

3:04 p.m.  
Blogger It's a Nicky said...

The wonder. It is interesting. I have thought about this to. I relate it to my marriage in a way. When i first started dating my wife even if our shoulders touched i would feel those flutters of the heart. however, now having been married for 3 years a touch of our shouolders while sitting beside eachother is normal.

Many of those things that were so WONDERful are now normal. However they have been replaced but much more meaningful things that I wouldn't trade back for those flutters. Such as trust and being understood.

i think this is what has happened for me with God. I was drawn in by his amazing beauty and grace and love and strength and wonder. I committed myself to him and i will stick with him. but now many of those flutters are gone. i believe them still but the wonder is gone. God is working much greater things in me that aren't going to be so comfortable. We learn strength and perseverance through the hard times.

This is why we can know things in our minds but we don't understand them fully. I know that I must persevere because the Bible says so. I can also think in my head that it is a noble and a good thing. However to learn to do it is a much harder thing.

In an age of entertainment it is becoming harder and harder for us to persevere and to trust God in a wide range of things. Because if we are not interested or captured or fluttering it is time to move onto the next thing.

Well there is a wack of thoughts. Harder for me to make sence through my writing skills then if we were one on one but I really enjoy this blog so far keep it up.

11:07 p.m.  
Blogger Lee said...

Are you saying that in a long-term relationships there's no room for wonder?

I can't speak from marriage, but if you stop seeking what is wonderful or wonder-filled about your wife or God aren't you giving up on that relationship?

If you're waiting for the wonder to happen to you like entertainment, then it will never satisfy, and you'll leave when it stops happening to you. But if it is something you seek in THOSE relationships and PERSEVERE in THOSE relationships then you won't seek others for entertainment or for 'wonder'.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks again, Nick. I love reading your comments!

later bra-da

2:20 p.m.  
Blogger It's a Nicky said...

Well i think that you can have something wonderful even though you my not have wonder or it may not cause you to wonder. It is kinda a tricky word.

Marriage gets better with time. But if you are only seeking excitement (wonder) then other things like love, joy, peace.....(gal 5:22) have a hard time developing themselves because these things may take tough situations in your life to be developed. When the wonder is gone the perseverence.

Not to say the wonder is gone in my marriage because that all depends on what images and ideas are shaped in your mind when the word wonder is used. My marriage gets better and better every year. More exciting more intimate.

This is something else to mention...intimacy. Since we are taking about a heart felt relationship with God and not an intellectually based one. Intimacy does not necessarily come through wonder. There is an invisible gap between wonder and commitment that can only be crossed by faith. I was taken captive by the wonder of God I was also taking captive by the wonder of my wife. but I had to put faith in both through love that I would stay committed to someone who similarily loved me.

This is the interesting thing about both marriage and our relationship to God. You never run out of things to learn about eachother. and if you ever start thinking that you know everything that is when the relationship is hindered. Perhaps this is where your definition of wonder is coming from. When you stop wondering you have lost the wonder.

Well there are some more thoughts to chew. i hope you are starting to understand what I am trying to say.


12:47 p.m.  

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