I have been involved with an online discussion of Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. In the most recent chapter we were discussing, Miller writes,
Too much of our time is spent trying to chart God on a grid, and too little is spent allowing our hearts to feel awe. By reducing Christian spirituality to formula, we deprive our hearts of wonder. … At the end of the day, when I am lying in bed and I know the chances of any of our theology being exactly right are a million to one, I need to know that God has things figured out, that if my math is wrong we are still going to be okay. And wonder is that feeling we get, when we let go of our silly answers, our mapped out rules that we want God to follow. I don’t think there is any better worship than wonder. (Miller, pp. 205-206)
This got me thinking – am I, is the church, kind of taking the wonder out of God?
So much time and energy is put into programs and events, I wonder if we have turned an encounter with God into something you schedule. Again and again in Scripture, the pivotal encounters with God come at the unexpected moments in the unexpected places: Moses at a burning bush while watching sheep, Jacob wrestling with God while sleeping in the middle of nowhere, the woman coming to get water from the well, Elijah suddenly taken up into heaven. I could go on and on. In all of these events, I think that the unexpected nature of the encounter created a sense of awe and wonder that often led to praise, worship, and service. This seems lost when I look at our bulletin every Sunday and see our “Schedule of Events” and our “Order of Service”.
I agree with Miller: I need wonder in my life, because that is where some of my truest worship of God comes from. Is wonder possible in order, or do we need to deprogram a little bit (or a lot) to recapture the unexpected nature of an encounter with God? Is this solely an issue of the individual believer, or does the church have some kind of role in all this? As a pastor and fellow traveler, I ask the question and search for answers.