The Loss of Wonder and the Descent of Humanity

The Loss of Wonder and the Descent of Humanity

What are we to make of the recent attack in Las Vegas that left 58 dead and hundreds injured? What would motivate a man to undertake such an evil?

The investigation into the specifics of his motive are ongoing, and I cannot pretend to have a complete answer. There are; however, some basic facts that can tell us some important things.

The shooter was wealthy. By all accounts, he had enough wealth so that he no longer needed to work, but spent his time in leisure gambling. From the outside, he was a financial success living a life that many people look upon with envy. so why would a man of success, living “the dream” do such a terrible thing?

In part, the answer comes when we realize that setting goals and fulfilling dreams is far different than having meaning and fulfilling purpose. Ravi Zacharias in his book, Recapture the Wonder: frames the question well:

Skeptics would use a tragedy like this to point to the absence of God in the human experience. “Where is God in such disfigurement?” ment?” they will argue. “How can one blame this man for seeing no purpose and fulfillment in being alive?” I think it is here that we make our first very subtle mistake, both in our logic and in our experience. It is shallow reasoning to deduce that because pain or unfulfilled dreams have brought disappointment appointment to experience, life itself must be hollow and purposeless. less. In fact, this conclusion may miss the deeper problem within our common struggle to find something in life of ultimate purpose.

Ravi Zacharias. Recapture the Wonder: Experiencing God’s Amazing Promise of Childlike Joy (p. 3). Kindle Edition.

It was observed by family that the shooter had:

“No affiliation, no religion, no politics. He never cared about any of that stuff. He was a guy who had money. He went on cruises and gambled.”

This, to me, is a picture of depression, isolation, sadness, and sorrow… not success. Ravi goes on to observe something important here we can all take to heart.

You see, fulfilled dreams are not necessarily fulfilled hopes. Attainment and fulfillment are not the same. Many dream and wish for the attainments that would make them the envy of our world. Careers, positions, possessions, romance … these are real goals, pursued sued by the vast majority who are deluded into believing that succeeding in these areas brings fulfillment. But deep within there is some stronger longing, sometimes even hard to pinpoint. We know there is a vacuum, a space of huge proportions that seeks a state of mind that attainments cannot fill. That dream of ultimate fulfillment is intangible but recognizable, indefinable but felt, verbalized but imprecise, visualized but blurred, inestimable but traded in for something less, something daily. I suggest it is the greatest pursuit of every life, consciously or unconsciously, and it is not mitigated by one’s worldly success. That

Ravi Zacharias. Recapture the Wonder: Experiencing God’s Amazing Promise of Childlike Joy (pp. 4-5). Kindle Edition.

Too many people are consumed with living a dream that empties us of our souls. We see poverty as the anti-hope and wealth as the ultimate fulfillment. But if we can learn anything from the shooter in Las Vegas, it is that the size of ones bank account does not correspond to fulfillment. Ravi says:

I believe it is possible that those who have attained every dream may be at least as impoverished as the man at the dump-perhaps even more-as they bask in the accolades, knowing that the charade is shattered by the aloneness within them.

Ravi Zacharias. Recapture the Wonder: Experiencing God’s Amazing Promise of Childlike Joy (p. 5). Kindle Edition.

We can talk about gun control. We can talk about mental health. We can talk about Islamic radicalization or Antifa. These are all important and necessary conversations. But right now, today, we also need to talk about meaning and the value for human life that only comes from God. Without God, there is a loss of wonder that only leads to the descent of humanity. If you are someone struggling to understand why, then the first step is to turn towards Jesus Christ—the one person who has all the answers.

Today, amidst the terror of inhumanity, I am reminded of the old hymn I used to sing when I was a kid.

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conqu’rors we are!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

His Word shall not fail you, He promised;
Believe Him and all will be well;
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Forgotten Gifts Remembered

Forgotten Gifts Remembered

2628_69212082951_676992951_2285436_5092477_nDave was orphaned in Vietnam when a land-mine took the life of the person carrying him–most likely his mom or dad, but he can’t remember now.  Dave lost his leg in that accident, but was rescued by American soldiers and taken to an orphanage. Dave was adopted by a family in America, where he became my roommate, and one of my best friends, at Penn State University.

Even in college 15 years ago, Dave walked with a cane, but since then he has grown weaker due to a degenerative disease that hinders his mobility. Dave shot this picture of these old stairs to represent his struggle. I share both his photo and his comments with you today; first, because they touch me deeply and second, because they remind me to embrace God’s blessings in the midst of my own trial.

“There are gifts that we are unconscious of … until the day they are demanded back from us. It is then that we discover the infinite number of times we had thoughtlessly used them … and it is then that they cease to be gifts. They become … little daily miracles.” — Dave Young

Conversations Using The Home Plate Strategy

Conversations Using The Home Plate Strategy

Learning to ask questions is a skill that leads to the greatest discoveries in life.

  • As a professor, I employ a Socratic method in the classroom.
  • As a coach, I help people discover their own path with questions.
  • As an apologist, I use questions to lead people to discover truth.
  • And, as a friend, I ask questions to build relationships.

But I am far from perfect.

That is why I am so inspired by the Home Plate strategy presented to me by Peter Strople. A few years back, I had the chance to sit in a room with a few select people and hear Peter share how he connects with other people using his Home Plate. These basic questions help anyone start a conversation that exposes both a person’s being and purpose. Here is the essence of each base.

  • Base 1. What is your biggest passion? What do you love to do?
  • Base 2. What is your unique contribution to the world around you? What draws people to you?
  • Base 3. What is the biggest impact you have made in your life?
  • Base 4. Is the impact yo’ve made sustainable? What will be your legacy in life?

Check out the video below to hear Peter Stople himself talk about the Home Plate strategy.

 

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