Wonder Bread
I know this is a rather long post, but the thoughts within have altered my path so much I had to share them. let me know what you think.

Imagine a scene: Pharisees Debating theology….a somewhat heated argument…all the sudden it’s over. “You too have interpreted the law,” the one says to the other. Because although they may disagree with each other’s interpretation, they respect the fact that, at least, each other HAS an interpretation. They think along these lines because they have a healthy view of a singular principle. “God has spoken; EVERYTHING ELSE is commentary.”

You see, in their world, they don’t take pride in their interpretations of the eternal word of G-d. They have too much respect for Him…so much respect they won’t even speak or write His name, for fear they may take it in vain. This is a healthy respect, passed down through generations of a people who had experienced a tangible God and lived to tell about it. There is a sense of awe of a God who could part mighty seas for His people, then swallow their enemies with the same waters that moments before had been their own salvation. They possessed a fear of a God who would do anything, no matter how reckless, to pursue His people and show them the error of their ways…even if that meant allowing their captivity, or sending famine and pain to push them back towards true life. Their understanding of this God could easily be summed up in one word: Wonder.

A while back I had a visit from a young man who was exploring the option of moving to our city. He was a young idealist that reminded me of myself when I was his age. Knowing my potential for questioning and arguing everything under the sun in those years, I wanted to see where he was at in his theological journey. After I interrogated him over several topics, he turned to me and said, “Even though theology is important, right now I’m focusing on getting back to the wonder of God. I just want to stand in awe of Him and be wowed!” Honestly, when I heard this, my first compulsion was to feel sorry for him. Then the more I thought about it, the more agitated I got. I was thinking things like, “He needs to be grounded in his belief before he goes off chasing lofty ideas like wonder. He’s going to get confused and become a Universalist or something” I honestly just didn’t understand him.

The following month, 3 components came together to humble me and show me that I was so wrong and he was more ahead in the game than I.

First, I was reading a book in which Tony Compolo said, “All theologies are in a sense heresies…” This is because a theology is simply a view or understanding of God. It’s taking an eternal, incomprehensible being and describing Him in limited terms. Even terms like omnipotent or omniscient fall very short of God-reality. We can’t fit Him into our human constructs. Although we have valiant attempts, our finite minds just can’t comprehend an infinite God. Though some theologies may be more true or accurate than others, they all pale in comparison to the reality of God. Compolo went on to say, “the only true theology is wonder.”

Next, Brennan Manning’s masterpiece, “Ragamuffin Gospel” talks about our loss of wonder. He points out that a hundred years ago men still ran for cover and shivered with fear at nature’s fury manifest in thunder and lightening. But we have lost our sense of awe in creation. With science, we have broken down lightning to the chemical level and laugh at the notion that thunder could be God expressing his anger. The mysteries of the ancient world are now sentences in textbooks, and words have stripped them of their splendor. Knowledge is opposed to Wonder.

Finally, in “Confessions,” Augustine asks God where his soul was before he was conceived. He wonders if he was alive somewhere in heaven, or if he even existed. After asking this question (and discussing other people who ask similar questions) he says, “Let them…be glad to ask: but they may content themselves with the question alone. For it is better for them to find you and leave the question unanswered than to find the answer without finding you.” There are so many people who search for answers. What happens when they find them? What happens when they don’t? Does it lead them closer to God?

Proverbs 9:10 - "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."

Fear here is also interpreted Awe or Wonder

It’s the Beginning of Wisdom. In other words, the basis of wisdom/ theology is wonder. We mentioned that all theologies fall short of God-reality, but that doesn’t mean we throw out theology… It means we bathe it in wonder of a God of grace and His miraculous love, having all experienced His love first-hand.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: AND the knowledge of the holy is understanding. We still have a natural, God-given desire to understand God more! This is central to our development as Spiritual beings. God has revealed Himself more and more to us through the ages. I'll wager you understand more about God now than you did 10 years ago

I think I’m finally beginning to really grasp this concept for the first time! What does it matter if I’m more correct than all the rest of the world, and in all my knowledge about God, I’ve lost Him. What does it matter if I have the most established view on theology, but that view is a list of beliefs floating around in my head somewhere, never becoming action…never accomplishing what it was meant to accomplish – Life more abundantly! What if my Orthodoxy never leads to Orthopraxy – Beliefs never turn into Action! Sadly, that sums up a greater part of my life, growing up in church.

Our beliefs about God should produce delicious fruit in our lives. The more we see of God, the more we should grow. In the light of His glory, all our excuses should be confronted; all our poorly constructed choices and actions should change. In the power of his presence, the idols of our hearts should be toppled from their thrones. When we begin understand His goodness and His power, how can we continue to worship at the altar of fear and anxiety? When we begin to see how much He loves us, that true happiness only comes from God, and the fact that all resources are at his disposal, how can we still make materialistic decisions, hoping to find lasting joy by fulfilling our own desires? Doesn’t the truth of Who God Is confront the lies we believe that drive us to selfish pursuits time and again? As we walk in His light, the things that hid in the darkness of our hearts are exposed for us to deal with….it’s a life-long process

One day, finally, we will see Him as He truly is. In that day, when every knee bows and tongue confesses, all our lies, excuses and false gods will ultimately be melted away because of the confrontation of the revelation of God and the truth of who he is. In that moment we cant help but fall on our knees and acknowledge that He is God.

Until that day, we grow in wisdom, which has not only it’s roots in wonder, but entire life-source & environment.

1 Interesting Statements:

PastorSam said...

Great thoughts. I understand this experience of God as ever being excited by what he does next, what he shows me next, what he reveals next, where he leads next. The focus is not on what has already taken place not that that is not important but the realization that there is so much more to know, learn, experience and act on.