The Dick Staub Interview
Ravi Zacharias's Wonderful World
Ravi Zacharias has been described by Chuck Colson as "the great apologist of our time." He has defended the faith in settings including Harvard, Princeton, and Cambridge. He's written best-selling books including Jesus Among Other Gods, Sense and Sensuality: Jesus Talks to Oscar Wilde on the Pursuit of Pleasure, Cries of the Heart, The Broken Promise: A Tale of Guilt and Grace, The Lotus and the Cross: Jesus Talks with Buddha, Can Man Live Without God?, and Is Your Church Ready?: Motivating Leaders to Live an Apologetic Life and hosts a radio show, Let My People Think. His newest book is entitled Recapture the Wonder, published by Integrity.
When you start talking about the definition of wonder, you say it's important for us to understand what it isn't, and then to try to get a handle on what it is. How do you define wonder?
This is probably the most difficult aspect, so I put it in one paragraph. Here's what I wrote:
Wonder is that possession of the mind that enchants the emotions while never surrendering reason. It is a grasp on reality that does not need constant high points in order to be maintained, nor is it made vulnerable by the low points of life's struggle. It sees in the ordinary the extraordinary, and finds in the extraordinary the re-affirmations for what it already knows. Wonder blasts the soul, that is the spiritual and the skeleton, the body, the material. Wonder interprets life through the eyes of eternity while enjoying the moment, but never lets the moment's revision exhaust the eternal. Wonder makes life's enchantment real and knows when and where enchantment must lie. Wonder knows how to read the shadows because it knows the nature of light. Wonder knows that while you cannot look at the light, you cannot look at anything else without it. It is not exhausted by childhood, but finds its key there. It is a journey like a walk through the woods over the usual obstacles and around the common distractions while the voice of direction leads saying this is the way, walk ye in it.
And I think the best way that I summarize it in my own mind is to say that it is the balancing of enchantment with reality, without violating either.
It's interesting that you make reference to childhood. In the preface to that chapter you say, "The tragedy with growing up is not that we lose childishness in its simplicity, but that we lose childlikeness in its sublimity." Why is it that we associate wonder with childhood?
For two reasons, I think. The first one is we've experienced it and we can remember it. When I was speaking in Pennsylvania, I saw a young woman walking into church, holding a little girl's hand. That child was skipping and hopping and giggling and chuckling, and everybody was noticing it. There was not a single person who didn't smile and realize how wonderful it was to see a little one so enthralled just walking into church. Everything is new. Whether it's the teaspoon of an ice cream in the mouth, or whether it's a toy you're playing with, or whether it's a friend, or whether it's a beautiful boat ride, there's a newness to life. That novelty thrills the young heart. For the want of a better word, the software is pristine, and we're putting it with new wonderful pieces of information.
You have this phrase in this chapter, "The game is played not to protect the rules, rather the rules are made to protect the game." How is it that rules become part of a discussion of wonder?
When I first wanted to play tennis, I had no idea of the measurements of the court of what were; the boundaries for singles or doubles. I labored long and hard only to find myself completely exhausted in trying to play the game because of all the wrong sets of rules we had invented in playing it. Once we knew what the right rules were, tennis became an exhilarating game. The rules and the laws are there to protect the game and life, not the other way around.
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