You are jumping into chapter 4 of a group blogging project of Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity by Mark Batterson. Scroll to the bottom of the post for the list of previous and future chapters.
Chapter four really has one point, that Batterson hits from a variety of sides. The point is that in order to find the lost soul of Christianity we need to become more aware of God working in the world.
There are three ways that Batterson comes at this. One is wonder. We wonder at the greatness of God. Sometimes our wonder is from interacting with nature. My wife blogged a picture and poem earlier this week that is a great illustration of this wonder. We are vacationing at the beach. She told me it is easy to sense God’s wonder when she looks into the ocean or looks at a mountain. But most of the time we forget to see God’s wonder in the greatest of his creations, other people. (The second theme of her post is that we are here for a short time (which is why her picture only has a ghosted image of me in the surf.)
I think we inherently understand the wonder of nature. We may not get out to nature often but almost all of us have experienced wonder in nature at some point. Often we are too busy to really pay attention, so we miss out on what wonders God has for us. I think placing ourselves where we can experience wonder is the point of Batterson’s section on Epiphany. Epiphany is not something we can control. We cannot tell God to appear to us when we want him to. But we can open our eyes, open our heart, and work to see God’s heart for the people around us. I believe God wants to speak to us. But we also have to want to hear from God. If you want to read more about hearing from God. Bill Hybel’s recent Power of a Whisper (my review) is a great start.
Once we have an Epiphany, and sometimes it takes several Epiphanies for us to really get the point, we become God Conscious. Batterson likens this to the point when he fell for his wife. Suddenly he was always conscious of her being around. He looked for her, tried to impress her, wanted to talk to her. I am not sure this is a great illustration. Because we all know that the honey moon phase dies down eventually. It is not that we no longer love our spouse, but that the honey moon just cannot last forever. We have to learn how to love and participate in the rest of the world. So I would like a different illustration.
Throughout this chapter Batterson has illustrations of people that just don’t get it. The colorblind do not see all of the wonder around them. Those without much knowledge of the body fail to see the depth of wonder that it contains. Those that have not gone outside and experienced ‘real nature’ miss out on the wonder that is in this world. Clearly, all of us lose a sense of wonder and it has to be re-ignited. I need to bring romance back into my marriage and be intentional about it. But that does not mean I really want to go back to the dating phase. I like the marriage phase. I do not think we need to go back to our first moments of conversion in order to expand our sense of wonder. (Although remembering has some real purpose.) Even if I wanted to go back to dating, I cannot. We have passed that stage, to want to go back without being conscious of the reason why, is chasing something we cannot have. (I the think chasing this sense of wonder in marriage is the reason some fall into affairs, we confuse the honeymoon phase with real love.) So we must seek God and his wonder, at a deeper level, with more knowledge, more expectation, more awareness that God really wants to communicate his greatness to us.
What is the balance for you? How can we seek God and his wonder, without chasing something that is already past? Or have I missed the point?
9/20 – Chapter 1 – Justin Piercy
9/21 – Chapter 2 – Rob Mcquery
9/22 – Chapter 3 – Chris Goforth
9/23 – Chapter 4 – Adam Shields
9/24 – Chapter 5 – David Norman
9/27 – Chapter 6 – Jenny Wilburn
9/28 – Chapter 7 – Ben Woodard
9/29 – Chapter 8 – Lance Martin
9/30 – Chapter 9 – Jay Caruso
10/1 – Chapter 10 – Phillip Gibb