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The Curious Christian: How Discovering Wonder Enriches Every Part of Life Paperback – March 1, 2017
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Routines are easy. They’re comfortable. They’re the old sweater with holes and missing buttons that fits you just right. But that sweater’s ugly and it probably smells a little, and it’s time to get a new one—or at least start incorporating some other pieces into your rotation. Similarly, without curiosity our lives “grow as stale as the open package of saltines at the back of the pantry and as musty as the forgotten boxes in your grandmother’s attic.” Curiosity doesn’t create a better life; it makes for a bearable one.
Piper explores curiosity as it applies to work, leadership, ministry, and relationships. He provides tools for encouraging curiosity to flourish without compromising standards in what you read, watch, or engage with, helping separate the permissible from the profitable. He floats in the theoretical just long enough to justify the expedition before quickly diving back into the practical.
Perhaps most valuable in Piper’s book is the way he connects curiosity to empathy. To be curious, he claims, is an act of humility—it’s admitting that you might not understand something fully. And to be curious with people is to invest in them, to reinforce that they are made in the image of God. “Every relationship requires empathy, the ability to put oneself in someone else’s experience and understand it. Empathy is impossible without curiosity.” This is the heart of social justice. Whether we’re discussing racial reconciliation or refugee care, we’re affirming the inherent dignity in all people. And then curiosity demands we don’t stop there. We seek to understand more fully the oppression and passion and weakness and success of each person, filling our lives with fully rounded characters instead of the flat ones we’re so easily satisfied with.
We need to cultivate curiosity because “if you believe the world is uninteresting, it will be for you,” and what a sad world that would be to live in. But ultimately, and most importantly, I now ascribe to what Piper claims in the conclusion of his book, the greatest justification for 160 pages of writing and months of editing and years of dreaming: “Curiosity is about God and for God. It is an expression of worship and it honors Him by exploring the depths and breadth of His creation and nature.” And because of that, I think we could all stand to be a bit more curious.
Reading this book opened my eyes to just how routine and dull my Christian life had become...how uncurious and skeptical I'd become. Don't think you need to be curious to be an effective, kingdom-advancing witness to the lost world? Piper says, "Curiosity is a primary tool for fulfilling the mission of Christ. Without it we are distant from and clueless about those who need Jesus most."
The author discusses how to be curious in every aspect of our lives, how to balance things like being in the world vs of the world, doubt and skepticism and the role they play in being curious, and believing all things while believing nothing. I especially appreciated the characteristics of a curious life discussed in the last chapters and also the discussions of how being curious is not how we lose our faith, but how we strengthen it because curiosity is "about God and for God. It is an expression of worship and it honors Him by exploring the depths and breadth of His creation and nature." Amen!!
I received this book as an ARC in exchange for my honest review and am very thankful I was given the opportunity to read it.
The book itself was mesmerizing. Piper poignantly points out some of the flaws in our modern ways of thinking. Our rigidity has stomped out the childlike wonder and curiousness that we all possessed as kids, but we lost along the way. Sadly, Christians have seemed to be the forefront of this battle against curiosity. We tend to focus on the negatives (curiosity killed the cat after all) without embracing all the good (curiosity also cured polio). Piper makes the solid case (which is 100% Biblical) that follower of Jesus should be among the most curious and at the forefront of innovation and creative change. The book challenged me to think in new ways and it seemed to unlock a part of my brain that had laid dormant for far too long! I will certainly be a more "Curious Christian" as a result of reading it, and I encourage you to read it too!
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