1: Dangerous Wonder
Lucy is in Narnia and is hearing about Aslan for the first time:
“Is he – quite safe?”
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver, “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”
Later on, once Lucy and Susan have been reunited with the risen Aslan, they play. The have a romp in the fields:
“Whether it was more like playing with a thunderstorm or playing with a kitten Lucy could never make up her mind.”
One of my favourite songs is and will probably always be “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene.” There’s something about the music that sends shivers down my spine, but the words too echo a longing from deep within my heart. But I’ve probably sung it more times recently that I have just stood amazed. I wonder if I have forgotten what it’s really like to stand speechless, stunned, amazed in the presence. Have I forgotten how to be impacted by what I experience from our relationship?
Yaconelli tells a story of a young man who is asked to write a paper for school about his dreams for the future, which he does, and he fails. His teacher told him that if he rewrote and resubmitted a more realistic dream then the grade would be improved. A week later the boy resubmitted the same dream, telling the teacher “You can keep the F and I’ll keep my dream.”
Have we surrendered our dreams about who we could be and how great our God is to fit in with the world around us, to help God to fit into our safe and ordered theological boxes, so that we can explain and understand him?
Being a real Christian is about dreaming. It’s about having a living faith. Humankind has the ability to dream, the ability to be creative and to imagine. But we’re often too lazy. We’re happy to let other people do the imagining for us, a select group of actors, directors and producers who bring their dreams and stories to life, and to sit in front of what they have created and let it wash over us. Maybe that’s why for some more creative people around us there is still a joy at reading, about having to imagine and bring characters to life ourselves… And maybe those people are the ones who are the hope of the future church.
As I look around the church I can appreciate Yaconelli’s summary that the church and Christianity is stunted that too many Christians are “living drab, colourless, dreary, stale, unimaginative lives.” And as the imaginative people, the people who have re-awoken their inner child, those who appear to know the wonder and the voice of God begin to speak up, to share what they’ve heard, their passion, they are classified as dangerous. They are the ones who are a “threat” to traditional Christianity. What I think they are a threat to is the safe boxes that we have made for ourselves and for our churches, the dull, boring and isolated places where we only want what we know about God to reach, where any new experiences or expressions of God and his Spirit are unwelcome.
When I hear of what some of these “dangerous” people are presenting, why is it that I begin to get excited? Why does it feel like there is a spark in my soul being ignited? I think it’s because the messages and dreams that some of these people are having give my faith and my life meaning, fill them with “adventure, wonder, risk, and danger.” These ideas are creating “Holy Mischief”, that is they are upsetting the apple cart for the sake of a Gospel and God who is just as exciting now as he was at the beginning. The one whose voice was able to call eternity into being still has a voice, and is still speaking powerfully, still alive, still active, still mysterious. I think it’s also probably fair to say that anyone who dreams may be guilty at times of dreaming beyond the voice that they hear, but ultimately they are living on the edge, alive in Christ, trying to live the lives they’ve been given characterised by the character of God rather than trying to define God and be defined by the labels we’ve given ourselves.
I think I’d rather be a risk taker secure in the knowledge that God will be there whispering in my ear, be outside the box but covered by grace, be on the front line of the kingdom alongside the apostles and the martyrs rather than somewhere at the back where it’s safe. I want to be more uncomfortable, standing and fighting for justice, mercy, the poor, the orphan, the widow, the alien.
I want to live an adventure.
“Do not give up. Dangerous wonder is still possible for us all. You can still experience a volatile mix of astonishment and terror, awe and risk, amazement and fear, adventure and exhilaration, tears and laughter, passion and anticipation, daring and enchantment.”
I want to live like a child again. Do you remember what it was like?
“Sometimes I think the people to feel saddest for are people who once knew what profoundness was, but who lost or became numb to the sensation of wonder.” Douglas Copeland
Remarcable is one man blogging about Youth Work, Theology, Family, Life and those other random things that come to mind.