Some Aspects of Wonder

Source: Wikipedia - "Starfish"

Colloquium 2012 for Columbia Theological Seminary started in earnest today with an opening plenary that included testimonies about “Awe,” “Fear,” and “Bewildered Curiosity,” a sharing of a blog with a photo and a poem on “Awe,” and a painting of prayers by participants.  We spent much of the rest of the day reflecting on “Wonder.”  We even read through a poem titled “Starfish” by Eleanor Lerman.  I tweeted some of the highlights.  Following are some additional thoughts offered by faculty and participants on aspects of wonder:

Wonder:

  • … can be a sudden reframing of the world.
  • … can be an unexpected recognition (like the disciples’ recognition of the risen Christ when he broke the bread).
  • … can be an “eye-opening” experience.
  • … in the New Testament are mostly mixed experiences, events that destabilize; it is unclear whether the events are good or bad.
  • … may be something sufficiently powerful that it shapes imaginations and lives, which can be destabilizing.
  • … can be a way of engaging the world, a way to ask questions without answering all of our questions.
  • … may “kickstart” our faith, but cannot constitute faith.
  • … can be experienced in the every day; our faith requires that we discard some of our “shields” to experience the divine.
  • … in Christian faith is found in an “unexpected Messiah, unexpectedly risen, unexpectedly elusive, unexpectedly present.”

How would you define wonder?  
What other aspect(s) of wonder is/are important to you?

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