Fear of Wonder

“Wonder,” I think, always carries with it a sense of questioning. How can you look at anything with wonder, and not be filled with questions? How? What? Why? Who? When? We have all used “wonderful” to describe something we’ve experienced that we thought was great. But is that all? Something wonderful is something beyond our normal experience or expectations. It should invite us to ask what made it so? Why was it beyond ordinary? If you don’t have any questions about something–no sense of wonder about it–can it truly be described as wonderful?

The Fear of Wonder

I’ve been thinking about this in relation to God. As God can certainly be described as wonderful, the process of considering God should invite questions. However, it seems that much of modern Christianity is about having a belief in certainty: That what we know and what we believe is solid and firm, removing any room for doubt or questioning. We can sing about our wonderful God and his wonderful works, but our framework–our theological boxes–prevents any real sense of wonder.

I believe that our boxes limit our view of God, so that our mental picture of God is something less than wonder. We know this God. We’re comfortable with him. I wonder, are we doing God a disservice by not wondering? Are we missing that part of God that invites wonder and questioning? Do we, in fact, limit our ability to glimpse into that sense of wonder that reveals more of God than our little theological boxes can handle?

God is bigger than our boxes

I firmly believe that God is able to handle our wonder, our questioning, and yes, even our doubt. We should not have to fear that God is somehow not capable of dealing with the “realities” of our modern lives, that questions of science and philosophy and history are too much for God. Our theological box might be too small, but God isn’t. Perhaps it’s time to move outside the box and discover a bigger God.

To see God as truly wonderful is to wonder, and we should not be fearful of seeing God as God.

For more on this topic and more, look for my book Unboxing God–An Unevangelical Guide to Christianity, due out this fall from W. Brand Publishing.

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