Ravi Zacharias: Recapture the Wonder (With Audio)

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Well, our next guest has been described by Chuck Colson as “the great apologist of our time.” He has, in fact, defended the faith in strategic settings including Harvard, Princeton, and Cambridge. He’s written best-selling books including Jesus Among Other Gods. His radio show, Let My People Think, is a refreshing and thoughtful oasis for people who desire to love the Lord completely, including with their mind. So it is refreshing to me to know that even Ravi Zacharias was hesitant to take on such a grand and central theme as the subject of wonder. And it is to our benefit that he overcame his hesitations because the result is a wonderful book titled, Recapture the Wonder, published by Integrity.

Q. Ravi, thanks for joining us today.
A. Dick, always good to be with you. Thanks for having me.

Q. In the introduction of the book you talk about three men who introduced you to Christ. And I don’t know that I have ever asked you how that happened.
A. Well, actually you’re talking to me from very close to one of them, geographically at least. And I came to know the Lord when I was a teenager, Dick. I was living in India, I was only 17 years old at that time. In India, you lived with a lot of pressure from-from the strain of academics just to make a go of it. It’s not good enough to pass, you’ve got to come in the top three or four because of the competitive nature of the culture. And I really wasn’t doing that well. I had no interest in studies. And one thing led to another, and I ended up on a bed of suicide when I was 17 years old.

Q. Oh man.
A. And in that suicide attempt, as I lay on my bed, somebody brought me a New Testament and the gospel of John, specifically John chapter 14. But it is really through the blending of three lives Dick. It was Sam Wergamouth, who first preached the message that I heard. Sam, of course, hailed from Illinois, was the Youth For Christ International President. And then John Taber (or Table) is a missionary from Canada living now in Calgary. And Fred David, an Indian Youth For Christ worker. Between the three of them, one link put into another, and it was on that bed of suicide I made my commitment to Jesus Christ.

Q. Wow, what a wonderful¢â‚¬¦ What a wonderful testimony to God’s presence and active love on our behalf. What was your hesitancy in taking on the subject of wonder?
A. Well, as you well said in your introduction there the challenge was it’s one of those better felt than “tel’t” (as in ‘telled’) issues. And the last thing you want to do is get into some kind of a fluffy feel in the midst of it all and lose your way trying to deal with something that’s real. But at the same time, as I’ve said many times in interview now that it would be so self-defeating to write a boring book on the theme of wonder. You know, great minds have dealt with this in different ways, incidental I think rather than explicitly. So people like C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton, G.K. Chesterton, probably more explicitly than anyone else. So dabbling with this in our time where this culture is so visually driven ¢€œ

Q. Yeah.
A. ¢€œ and technologically sophisticated, how do you put into words that which stretches the imagination yet stays within the boundaries of truth? I think that’s where the challenge was all about.

Q. Now, your very first chapter “We Miss It,” but what is it kind of gets at that issue. You say, “Deep within every human throbs the undying hope that somebody or something will bring away to retain the wonder.” And we have this kind of, this sense that there’s a universal longing for wonder. I mean, how have you seen that universal longing in your travels and in your speaking?
A. Well, first of all, one senses it individually. Every one of us does. I think this is one thing that links us from one culture to another. I was raised in India, in Asia, raised in an Indian home as an Indian youngster, and yet I went to Canada when I was 20, moved with my family. The questions didn’t change. The hungers didn’t change.

Q. Yeah.
A. And now living in the United States ¢€œ and I’ve covered nearly 60 countries in my lifetime of travels ¢€œ what I’ve sensed is that no matter what direction we go to, Dick, to try to bring this fulfillment, it always falls short no matter how good it is. And of course you can hark back all the way to our Lord himself talking to the woman at the well about the fact that he would give her a drink of water so that she would never thirst again. This longing that we have, we understand. What it is that fulfills that longing and keeps legitimate hunger still in place, I think that’s the tension we need to really find.

Q. 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-how do you define wonder?
A. Well, this is probably the most difficult aspect and so I put it in one paragraph. And if I may just read it and then I’ll summarize it in one statement. I put it at the end of that first chapter, I say this, “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, Dick, is to say that it is the balancing of enchantment with reality, without violating either.

Q. That’s wonderfully put. It’s interesting that you make reference to childhood. It’s not exhausted by childhood, but finds its key there. And this chapter has as its preface this phrase, “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?
A. For two reasons, I think. The first one is we’ve experienced it and we can remember it.

Q. Yeah. So when we’re talking about wonder we’re talking about something that we feel like we once had and we’ve lost.
A. You know, just this last Sunday I was speaking in Pennsylvania and this is exactly what I saw, my friend and I, who has brought me into church. And a young woman was holding a little girl’s hand walking into the church. And that child was skipping and hopping and just giggling and chuckling, and everybody was noticing it. And there was not a single person who but that smiled and realized 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 or whatever, there’s a newness to life, and that novelty, I think, thrills the young heart. For the want of a better word, the software is pristine as it were and we’re putting it with new wonderful pieces of information.

Q. Yeah. So in a sense when we talk about salvation we understand that we are lost but also that we’ve lost something.
A. Yes, exactly. And it is that sense of what is missing that drives most of us in the first place to know that only God is big enough to fill this heart. But at the same time, when you know that you are dwarfed because of your own lostness, how wonderful it is to be picked up and placed on a lofty pedestal and bring the balance again between spiritual poverty and enrichment that’s given to you as a gift of God.

Q. Wow.
We’re going to be back with some more of Ravi Zacharias, always triggering wonderful thinking but also getting at the heart of enchantment, which is at the heart of what it means to be human as well. Ravi’s most recent book is Recapture the Wonder, published by Integrity. It’s available at your local bookstores and it’s available online. It’d make a great Christmas present, as a matter of fact. We’ll be back with more right after this. Don’t go away.

(Break)

Well, this is Dick Staub back with you. Our guest is Ravi Zacharias. His most recent book is Recapture the Wonder.

Q. His next chapter in this book deals with what he calls “the rules of the game,” and it starts with this phrase, “As our society is walking through a maze of cultural landmines and the heaviest price is exacted as we send our children on ahead. And certainly the loss of wonder is a tragedy under any circumstances, but when we look at the younger generation and we look at the loss of wonder in the next generation, and things that were once holy and sanctified becoming completely pedestrian, and the boredom that is setting in in that generation, you understand why wonder is not only important for those of us that are a little older, but is even perhaps even more important for this next generation. Why¢â‚¬¦ You have this phrase, Ravi, in this-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 becomes part of a discussion of wonder?
A. You know, I often have thought back and I put the illustration in my book there, Dick, how we first wanted to play tennis and had no idea of the measurements of the court of what were the boundaries for singles or doubles. And we built this, got the net, labored long and hard only to find ourselves 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.

Q. Yeah.
A. You know, we have this same thing about life. We change the rules and we think we will find life fulfilling. Instead we come away totally exhausted and empty handed.

Q. Yeah.
A. So we must come to the realization, what David did, he said to every perfection there’s a limit, but the laws of the Lord are boundless. One would never have taught as a law being boundless when it is telling you what not to do, and yet he reminds us when you do it God’s way, the enchantment is perpetual and unending. So the rules and the laws are there to protect the game and life, not the other way around.

Q. Now, when I mention the next generation you have this-this wonderful piece that you picked up somewhere and passed on and then added to about in the ¢â‚¬Ëœ50s the kids lost their innocence, in the ¢â‚¬Ëœ60s they lost their authority. What is it that you’re seeing this next generation losing? And how is it that the violation of rules is, in fact, making them lose their sense of wonder?
A. Well, I believe one of the, as I put a postscript to that, what I really said was that after having lost their authority and innocence and love and hope and all of that, living in the horror of a nuclear nightmare. Those words were so powerfully penned. What I have said is that if he were to have gone to the next decade ¢€œ he just wrote it from the ¢â‚¬Ëœ50s to the ¢â‚¬Ëœ80s ¢€œ if he would have gone to the ¢â‚¬Ëœ90s, I would say they’d lost their power to reason.

Q. Yeah.
A. The ability to think through clearly. You know, Dick, I was¢â‚¬¦ When I was speaking last weekend there was an atheist who came to talk to me after the meeting. And he said he just could not bring himself to believe in God because it was so illogical. After about 45 minutes of talking I asked him how he believed this world came into being if by naturalist causes.

Q. Yeah.
A. And then he finally said that what Francis Crick, the nobel laureate believed was his belief, too, that somehow a space ship from another planet brought spores to seed the earth, and that’s how life came into being. And I said, And you’re telling me that is logical?

Q. It’s amazing.
A. You know, where is the power to reason? The inability to think critically is, I think, one of the sad casualties of our time because the closer we are to proper reasoning, the closer we really get to the mind of God.

Q. You know, this generation loves to talk about the power of story. And we hear the phrase “post-modern” often used in that context. And yet you point out that Chesterton tells that there were certain rules to the good story and involved promises and conditions. Why is that so important for us to understand?
A. Well, well put, because you know, Chesterton said that when you read a fairy tale you notice there’s always a condition. If you don’t come back by such and such you become a such and such. And then he says, but notice, the person never says to the fairy godmother, How come?

Q. Yeah.
A. He says, Because the fairy godmother will say, If that’s the way you want it, then tell me how come there is a fairyland.

Q. Yeah.
A. So insightful. But when you know that there is a story, a true story, you will always find that there are conditions that were invilable if the end result of enchantment was-was to be had. And at the same time, at some point you had to stop the questioning because there is a limitlessness to it. You don’t stop at an irrational point, but at some point you transcend reason. For example, why does a mother love a child? Why does a mother love the baby from the very second she grasps that little one in her arms? Do you go to some kind of Einsteinian formula to explain that? No, it transcends reason, it doesn’t violate it. It transcends it.

Q. Yeah.
A. And so I think we have to know the legitimate place of reason and know when it is transcended and not violated.

Q. You rightly say that one of the reasons we have lost wonder is that we are on passionate pursuits but misdirected searches. And we love to talk about passion in this generation, but-but you point out that seeking new sensations while violating the sacred first desecrates the self and finally destroys the sensation. And you bring up three different ways that we have misdirected our search. One of them is in the tragic sense of wonder in the area of human sexuality.
A. Yes. And which of us has not struggled with that. You know, you grow up, you feel the passions, you feel the energy of the body longing for sudden excitement, and so on. And what happens is you get various options coming your way, because the sensation is so powerful we often lose our sensibility in it. And you know, it takes more and more and more to bring the same degree of satisfaction. And those who have lived heathenistically are the ones who come away the most empty of all. When I wrote the book on Oscar Wilde, Jesus Talks with Oscar Wilde, Sense and Sensuality. I remember going to Paris and visiting the haunts that Oscar Wilde had inhabited. And here was a man who, you know, sort of the hedonist of his time, brilliant in describing pleasure and so on, and yet in his 40’s dying in that little room there and asking for a priest to come. We learn the hard way that as impulsive as sensuality is, if it is not harnessed by the rules for which our sense-driveness was given, you only plunder the thing. So you first lose the-the-the thrill and then you lose the very sensation in the process. You just self-destruct because the instrument and the pleasure both give up after some time.

Q. You say the only way to transcend the physical and the sensual while retaining their essential features is to bind them to the sacred. This is back to this idea of something very sacred about these gifts that we’ve been given, and the wonder is only found when we understand their sacredness.
A. You know, when you look at what’s happened in America, just in the last ten days ¢€œ

Q. Yes.
A. ¢€œ need we just say anymore. I don’t think it is accidental that just a few days ago a judge was disbarred because he was wanting the Ten Commandments in his office. Now, I’m not talking about the legality of it, you know, or the illegality, I’m talking about the philosophical connection ¢€œ

Q. Yeah.
A. ¢€œ between an absolute moral law and the possibility of law itself. So here we disbar a person who wants to hold on to the moral point of reference and then we desacralize sexuality within days after that. The fact of the matter is if you take the Ten Commandments, one word summarizes it, sacredness. The sacredness of worship, the sacredness of the means, the sacredness of property, the sacredness of the body, the sacredness of time, the sacredness of your word, the sacredness of your neighbor’s property. You go on and on and you find out when you have that reverence you actually protect yourself in the process as well.

Folks, I can’t even tell you how important what Ravi is saying here in this area of sexuality. And again I’ve made reference to the younger generation because I-I believe that they are losing the wonder and they don’t understand why sexuality has lost its meaning, and it’s because it’s lost its wonder because it’s not connected to the sacred. We’ll be back with more of Ravi Zacharias. The book is Recapture the Wonder.

(Break)

Well, this is Dick Staub back with you. We’re visiting with Ravi Zacharias. His most recent book is Recapture the Wonder. We miss it, we know that we have lost something. We come to understand that there are certain rules to the game. If you understand and play by those rules you can, in fact, enjoy the benefits of the game, and in this case the benefit is wonder.

Q. We find ourselves in passionate but misdirected pursuits and searches. And we were just reflecting on how that has happened with human sexuality in our culture. Ravi, you also mention materiality, money. And that is certainly something that again has lost its wonder in American life and culture, it really, in the entire western world and unfortunately spreading kind of globally.
A. Well you know, when I first moved to the West, Dick, I was 20 years old and came from India. I first moved to Toronto and then later on to the US. I lived with wide eyes when I first came to know that I was getting my salary, that it wasn’t long before I would be buying a car, and then on to our home. And one thing led to another. Now, we ought not to minimize the legitimate place of this.

Q. Yes.
A. It is wonderful to be living in a country where you can have this kind of success and enjoyment. But if we see that as an end in itself, once again it takes something that was intended to be a means, make it an end in itself, and we find wealth disappoints.

Q. Yes.
A. I remember talking to the seventh wealthiest men in the world living in Hong Kong who had invited me out for dinner and actually come and speak to his-to his staff and so on. And he told me that after he’d reached that pinnacle he phoned his wife one day and said, I’m still empty. We maybe have missed it. We need God. And that very night, it was a Wednesday night, he and his wife walked into a church ¢€œ this was after making his billions ¢€œ he was fully cognizant of the fact that it did for him what it did, but did not do for him what it could not do.

Q. Yeah. And folks, we’re just scratching the surface here. You can spend more time with Ravi Zacharias by picking up your own copy of the book, Recapture the Wonder. We’ve talked about the misdirected search for human sexuality, for materiality. Religion is an interesting one. You talk about the plunder of souls captured by beliefs rooted in falsehood, and you make reference to Charles Hirschhorn who said, “Everything has been said and we need to understand which to deny.” This is huge right now in our very own culture.
A. My, is it ever. You know, I had back surgery, Dick, a year-and-a-half ago and those various therapies after that. I’ve been fascinated by how many have bought into certain pantheistic assumptions on the healing of the body. You know, the energy that is there in the universe, the Chakra system. Half of the words they don’t even know what it means but they go ahead and talk about it. Spirituality is a very seductive thing because it makes your conscience feel fulfilled both religiously, but at the same time can be violating the fundamental truth of what it is that communion with God really means.

Q. Yeah.
A. So all over the world, whether it’s an eastern pantheistic monosome or religious extremism that we’ve seen in our world, or even the abuse of the Christian faith in historic Christendom the way it has often portrayed itself and actually masqueraded as spirituality but rather was nothing more than politicized religiosity. We must know when Jesus said, “Ye, they that worship me must worship me in spirit and in truth,” he made sure it was not just the existential fulfillment, but done within the nature and the character of God himself.

Q. Yeah, which is¢â‚¬¦ It’s no mistake or accident that we move next into wonder unwrapped. And this chapter starts with this phrase, “Enchantment in life can never be realized in some thing, it must ultimately culminate in a person.” And in this chapter we move from the lack of gratitude that represents life without God, through to Andre Sakharov understanding the importance of truth, and then us coming to an understanding of who it is that is truth.
A. Yes. And that’s the way it is. I think the coalescing of the components of wonder will ultimately be found in a person and ¢€œ only as Chesterton said ¢€œ only God is big enough to fill that deep-seated quest for wonder and the hunger of that which our material pursuits and all cannot satisfy. So when you bring together those components as you have named, and one or two others that I have put there, that’s when you have the, what I think, Dick, what moves you ultimately to the heavenly realm which, to me, is the consummate fulfillment of every sense that God has given to us within the purpose of which those senses were given.

Q. You know, it’s so interesting because when we talk about-about truth, it’s often in what the western world viewed as a propositional matter. And-and people in the “NewAge Movement” like to talk about the kind of the mystical and so forth, and yet the person of Jesus and the idea of Jesus as truth in this very phrase, that it is not in some thing but ultimately in a person that we find truth, I mean, there is a very, very deep mixing of reason and enchantment, as you described it earlier, that is what makes it such a moment and experience of wonder.
A. There’s nothing like it on the face of the earth, the gospel. When word¢â‚¬¦ In the beginning was the Word and, yes, truth is a property of propositions. But then when you see how the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, now you’re seeing truth in body.

Q. Yeah.
A. How does truth enfleshed and truth embodied actually live the truth?

Q. Yeah.
A. That’s what Jesus points to. And then knowing him and having him live within you, you get then the outworking of that which he does within the human heart.

Q. And life without God is, by definition, life without wonder. And it’s interesting because you point out that Ghandi and Nietzsche ultimately, when they tried to describe truth, they could not do it without reference to God.
A. That is correct. Well put. You know, Ghandi saying, “Truth is God and God is truth,” as sort of this reciprocal thing. And one is not quite sure exactly what he even means by that. It sounds very lofty. And even Nietzsche said that even though he didn’t believe that there was such a thing as metaphysical truth and all. But he says even I have to say I bow at its altar. It’s a little bit like Bertrand Russell saying even though he didn’t believe ultimately that there were absolutes in right and wrong, but one cannot live that way and, therefore, you smuggle in the ethic in order to make life livable. That’s the way life breaks down in a naturalistic, all the pantheistic framework. When you’re in communion with the living God in that I/you relationship, Jesus said it. He said, “If you abide in my word you are my disciples. Then you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” He did not set the latter in a vacuum, he said it in the context of his word and his person.

Q. You say in this book, “There is no such thing as free love. Love is the most costly expression in the world. But the wonderful thing is that it has already been paid for.” And you describe wonder consummated in terms of-of understanding and experiencing love. And you tell a sad story of John Donne, who had a very heavy heart, in fact, in part because he never really understood that, evidently.
A. No. You know, he of course, was a later comer to Christ and very short-lived in his ministry and yet what magnificent pieces of poetry and all he has written. But as you leave the life story of John Dunne and, actually today even, when you go to St. Paul’s you’ll see his statue there. And that statue actually was based on a picture that he had had made of himself with a shroud, mainly because he was living with an awful lot of guilt all the time. And when he lived with that guilt, it was because his past life continued to haunt him when he had written sort of, you know, blasphemous things.

Q. Yeah.
A. Though it were done before will thou forgive the sin through which I run and do run still, though still I do deplore when thou has done, thou hast not done for I have more.” He goes through every season of life, as it were, and then says, “But swear by thyself that at my death thy Son shall shine as he shines now and heretofore. And having done that, thou hast done I fear no more.”

We’ll pick up right there when we come back. Don’t go away, folks.

(Break)

Well, this is Dick Staub back with you. And we’ve just been enjoying some wonderful time with Ravi Zacharias. His most recent book is Recapture the Wonder, published by Integrity.

Q. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to-to recapture the wonder. It’s-it’s-it is something that can happen in your life, and this book explores why it is that we’ve lost it, how it is that we can recover it. We were just talking about John Dunne, who was so burdened by his past, and ultimately wonder is consummated when we understand and experience love. And as a matter of fact, we experience it when we come to understand ¢€œ in part we experience it ¢€œ but when we come to understand that we are forgiven and that the price has been paid.
A. Well, when you know that¢â‚¬¦ You know, a friend of mine told me once how he was a very successful man but went bankrupt. And when he faced that bankruptcy he was not able to pay any of his mechanics or builders. This was one of my dearest friends who actually helped me co-fund the ministry. And while he was staring at this huge seven-figure debt and he was declaring bankruptcy, another friend of his, for whom he built years before, phoned him and just said, he said Dave, I hear you’re in trouble. And he said yes. He said, How much? He said, Big? He said, Very big. He said, I’m going to send you a check, blank, you fill it out, pay yours bills with it and, David, pay it back for me. Whatever you need, take now, return it whenever you can. And my friend DD said to me, he said, I cannot tell you the feeling of despondency that changed, and hopelessness that changed, into the wonderful gift of pulling you out of there. Now, the marvelous thing is when God gives us that forgiveness, we don’t pay back the way he’s paid it for us.

Q. Yeah.
A. But as Chesterton once said about Oscar Wilde, Oscar Wilde said, “We don’t appreciate sunsets because we don’t have to pay for them.” Chesterton said, Wilde was wrong. You can pay for sunsets by not living like he did.

Q. Yeah, which is part of what you’re getting at when you say, “Wonder is enjoyed in total commitment and service.”
A. Absolutely. I think that is a key and that’s why we very often miss it. We¢â‚¬¦ Anything great in life, Dick, as we well know, whether it’s a great piece of writing, whether it’s a great piece of music, whether it’s a wonderful marriage, whether it’s raising your children, or whether it’s studying and succeeding, all of them have the component of time and hard work.

Q. Yeah.
A. It just doesn’t happen.

Q. Yeah.
A. You have to work at it if you’re going to reap the results. And wonder is one of those things.

Q. It’s kind of a wonderful contrast to how we often think about wonder, particularly in the eastern religions where it’s kind of, wonder and a sense of wonder is achieved through contemplation and inactivity, whereas in our Christian experience and in the example of Jesus, it is-it is enjoyed in our-in our service and in our giving and in our commitment to others. And that it kind of, not that we’re, not that we are not thoughtful, but we are active as well as thoughtful.
A. Exactly. And you know, when you think of the words that are used in the New Testament for worship, one of them is the word liturgia, from which we transliterate the word, liturgy. But technically speaking, liturgia is more than just a theoretical word structure, it literally means service. This is your liturgia.

Q. Yeah, yeah.
A. When we serve God, it is sort of like the liturgy of a life working itself out day to day. I love that word, in the use of worship and when it comes to the Old Testament, you shall worship the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and him only shall you serve. He uses that second word liturgia there. This is what he said to the enemy of our souls when he was tested in the wilderness.

Q. You tell the wonderful story in the final chapter, “To the Past,” Nathan’s balloon. And you have this sentence, “The older we get the more we need somebody bigger than we are to restore what we have lost.” Just for people that haven’t heard the story, remind them of the story of Nathan’s balloon and how it helps us understand our need for somebody to restore what we’ve lost.
A. Well, I remember we were living in Toronto at that time. And our little guy ¢€œ he’s the youngest of our three, now he’s a big guy, taller than I am ¢€œ and while we were living in Toronto, it was Sunday morning, he was playing with this helium balloon in the living room, having a ball. It would go up to the ceiling, he’d jump up on the sofa, grab the string, pull it down. Let it go, jump up on the sofa, grab the string, pull it down. G.K. Chesterton has said that God’s infinity is revealed in our capacity to exult in the monotonous, and a child’s capacity to exult in the monotonous. So he’s exulting in the monotonous, then he thought he’d try something new. And he went out into the driveway and let it go. And all of a sudden, when he saw it go higher and higher, there he was sobbing and then saying, Daddy, I know how you can go up into a plane and bring it back for me. But that was, that great sense of enchantment that he had and found out that there were rules by which you live. But for the three children I always say, When you tell a story ¢€œ it was Chesterton who might have told us this ¢€œ the older one may need a dragon to jump in front to get their eyes widened. The second one you just go up to the door and open the door without seeing the “dragon.” To the little guy it’s a big enough thing just to walk up to the door. The older you get the more it takes to fill your heart with wonder.

Q. Yeah. You talk about words being bridges.
A. Uh-huh.

Q. And the centrality of word and understanding how a word and even wonder retained by wise pondering. Talk about that.
A. Well yes, and it’s one of those sad realities of our time where language has lost its genuine grandeur.

Q. Uh-huh.
A. Because of the visual we have ¢€œ and the visual is fine, you know ¢€œ but it is not meant to eliminate the word. In the beginning was the Word, in the beginning was not video.

Q. Right.
A. We need to know that words have beauty because they bridge you to the reality being reflected and give you the sovereignty of your imagination.

Q. Yes.
A. And that’s what I think God wants us to understand, that the words that he gives to us and the truth that he gives to us, retains the beauty of our own imagination. You tell a story about a man, say, running through the woods to find this ball that he’s lost. You know, a five-year-old may just picture him in long trousers and in a jacket or something, a ten-year-old may picture him in a pair of shorts and a pair of sneakers, or whatever. Each one has come to it with a different sense of connotation. But the truth is not lost in the process. And I think words do this marvelous thing of giving us the privilege of our imagination.

Q. Well, and you really are getting at something so important in terms of what it is that we are, with what are our minds are being filled. And you talk about delighting in discussion and imagining that conversation with C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, and the kinds of things that mattered to them in contrast to the lack of wise pondering and superficial discussion, sadly, that represents so much of our lives. And we can be more than that and we won’t experience unless we strive for that.
A. I agree wholeheartedly, and that’s why I brought that three-point, you know, how one must read to feed the mind.

Q. Yeah.
A. That one must reflect to enlarge the thought, and then how one must talk and discuss. Anytime you’ve talked with somebody or written anything, when you’re discussing it you find how it takes you to a higher level when you’re discussing it. We’ve lost that sense of discussion. And people ask me what I love to do for enjoyment. To be very honest with you, I love to sit around a table with some people who’ve read some common books, or whatever, over a cup of coffee or tea or whatever, and a cookie in your own hand, and you’re munching on that enjoying the cup of tea and talking about the great themes of life. I love the wonderful idea of discussion and growing. Thinking can be fun if it’s properly done, and that’s where Tolkien, as you said, and Lewis and many of the others that they got together which sitting around the table, Chesterton was part of discussion groups as they talked. And you find the themes they deal with are well enriched with meaning because they have enriched the thought through discussion and reflection.

Well, and Ravi also gets into prayer and worship in this book. There is so much to recapturing the wonder. But the good news is it can be done and we’ve got a wonderful engagement of the subject in Ravi Zacharias’s new book, Recapture the Wonder. It’s just out. It’s available at your local bookstore or online. This will be well worth some wise pondering. We’ll be back with more right after this. Don’t go away.

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