To stay sane in this obviously imperfect world we live in, I have a deep-seated need to be awed, to be continually amazed and have something to wonder at. It’s so important to me that I actually mentioned it in initial attempts at creating an online dating profile a few months ago, saying something to the effect that I want to be with someone I can wonder with, to be amazed together with. Sometimes, I like to think that God put this need into my DNA.

A few months ago, I splurged on a pile of books at the Regent College Bookstore and picked up Eat This Book: a Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading by Eugene Peterson. Given that my livelihood heavily involves books and reading, I was intrigued by the title. His writing and exposition of truth is so rich and insightful that I am still making my way through the book, which explores what it means to read Scripture formatively, that is “reading Scripture … in order to live.” In a nutshell (though it feels like a crime to put Peterson in a nutshell), we are not only WHAT we read, but also HOW we read. Bad Bible reading (i.e. uninformed, egocentric, literal, self-serving, utilitarian reading) leads to badly lived lives.

Here’s one of many excerpts that thrilled me to bits, citing the need for awe and wonder in the Christian faith:

“Look at the world with childlike wonder, ready to be startled into surprised delight by the profuse abundance of truth and beauty and goodness that is spilling out of the skies at every moment. Cultivate a hermeneutics of adoration–see how large, how splendid, how magnificent life is.

And the practice this hermeneutic of adoration in the reading of Holy Scripture. Plan on spending the rest of your lives exploring and enjoying the world both vast and intricate that is revealed by this text.”

I much prefer curiosity over duty as a motivation to learning, never mind getting out of bed every morning.