Rob Bell was an evangelical megachurch pastor in Michigan until he authored a book titled Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. His ministerial career imploded when he questioned the reality of Hell and whether people who do not believe in Jesus are condemned to spend eternity there.
Eventually he grabbed a surfboard and headed for Southern California, where he now resides and is trying to gather a flock who remain true to the Gospel while keeping up with the waterline of culture.
Not long ago Bell was quoted in a national magazine as lamenting that our generation is suffering from “a crisis of wonder.”
Perhaps we always have. Augustine once wrote that “men go forth to wonder at the heights of mountains, the extent of the oceans and the courses of the stars and omit to wonder at themselves.” Augustine lived in North Africa 17 centuries ago. Our wonderlessness seems to be a cultural universal.
Some suggest that an explosion of knowledge, and the rapid dissemination of it via the internet, has removed the sense of wonder around us. A good case for the opposite could be made. Discoveries of science and technology actually reveal to us how little we know.
Imagine sending a rocket into space that manages to rendezvous with a speeding asteroid and bounces its payload onto the asteroid’s surface and starts sending back photographs. I have trouble getting my Toyota between the lines in the Kroger parking lot. Wonder.
Imagine taking your seat on a crowded aircraft and learning that the man next to whom you are seated is a research scientist who happens to be the national authority on a medical condition suffered by a member of your family. Everyday occurrences and small miracles are sometimes one and the same. Wonder.
We just completed Advent, a season whose central story is chock full of wonder.
And we embark on 2015, a new year that will be filled, among so many things, with wonders that will amaze us. May 2015 be a wonder-full year for each of you.