I think that at this time, I am going to attempt to list things that I think are a wonder. It may seem random, but each in the list is really a part of the set of wondrous things. I am going to start with natural things. I will go on the assumption that what the Bible says about the relationship between God and nature is truth.

The result of that assumption is that where there is wonder on our part, it points to the one who understands it completely.

Often times, while riding my motorcycle home from the Oregon City way, when I reach the top of the hill just before the decline into Mulino, the sun will be setting. The display of light beams and colors of all sorts of hues of red, blue, green, orange and yellow are breathtaking. The wonder for me is that I have the capacity to appreciate it and almost loose my breath over the radiant display that is ever changing.

One day I see it and it is mostly orange and the clouds are gone so I can see the tops of the coastal mountains. Another day beams of yellow light fill the darkening and grey sky as the sun is lowered just below the clouds that cover us, but is still high enough to be seen over the mountains to the east. Another day, the lightly clouded sky is turned to strips of fire as the sun shines below the clouds to give me just a little bit more light for the day. The exhibit of light is so glorious that it seems to have a sound of trumpets signalling it's arrival.

I am riding on my motorcycle through the growing darkness of the trees that cover the path to that point from the city and my eyes see the glory and my ears hear the trumpet fanfare. That is amazing. I can see it because of my eyes, my location and the time that I have arrived there. Some may think that is accidental because other explanations might seem incredible. But, there are just too many variables throughout my life in relation to where I've been, who I've known, what I am doing now, my education or lack of it and the fact that I can ride a motorcycle all culminating in this one magnificent display of beauty at the end of the day as I am heading home from the labor of the day.

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Sometimes, people don't want to think of God in that way. They don't want to think that God is that much in control of things and that he would make decisions that would be life critical for animals or people. But, those who wrote about God in the Bible don't seem to have been that concerned with defending God's honor by making his actions line up with what we think is appropriate for a loving God.

In the old Testament, we see that the author of the Psalm thinks that God provides life giving situations to the animals and also death giving situations Some may think that this may be that the author in question simply didn't understand the truth as we do because we have Jesus and his revelation. Some may think that the author was ignorant about things we know about because we have science and research on our side. The idea is that, even though this has been accepted as the truth about God for centuries, now we know better about what really happens, so we know that the author was simply stating his opinion and that his opinion was wrong.

But, in the new Testament, we find Jesus saying the same thing. We think that we are being instructed that we should believe that God will take care of us. And, indeed,  we are. Jesus is telling us that God feeds the sparrows and God will certainly provide for us as well. However, Jesus also said that the food the birds get depends on God giving it to them - just like the psalmist said. It appears that Jesus agrees that God controls the environment which results in some dying and some living. Even though Jesus believes that our life and, subsequently, our death depends on God, he indicates that this power God has over the birds and us is a reason to trust him. This is a difficult thing and it talks about the wonders and mysteries of nature, the wonders of God in nature, and the wonder of trusting someone who holds your life in his hand.

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These articles are speaking about wonder and aren't speaking of learning, technology or knowledge. But, somewhere it is written that we should not lean on our own understanding, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. This isn't the basis of these articles, but it does state what I've wrote about in "The Wonder V".

We can see that God is at work when we see nature at work. Even in this day when there was a perfect storm off of the east coast of the US, We read that God uses the winds as his chariot and the winds are his messengers. My intent isn't to interpret current events or the Bible. I am not wanting to explain what God meant by what he said or if God meant something in the storms on the east coast. But, I do want to acknowledge that God uses the winds as his chariot and his messengers. The winds go everywhere, so he does too and listens to the reports from his messengers, the wind.

We read that God gives rain to the grass to provide food for the animals in the wild. If he doesn't supply the rain, they perish. They die of thirst and they die of hunger when God doesn't provide the rain and they thrive when he does. We not only think that the wind and rain are random, but we also think that we are the ones who are responsible for the weather and what it does. We would rather think it was our doing or the doing of luck than to think that it is God who is doing it.

These are just a couple of examples of things that we feel we must explain. Somehow, it is up to us to explain why God either does or doesn't save someone's life, does or doesn't bring a storm or send rain for the wheat or provide the sun for our pick nick.

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I think that, by this point, if anyone is reading this, they may be asking, "Does this guy think we should not learn things?"

That isn't at all the point. As we all know, you can't talk about everything all at once. So, when we are talking or writing about one thing, other things are left in the drawer to be brought out later.

This series isn't really about learning. It's about wonder. Not the verb. The noun.

Someone may be able to explain the physiological process for oxygen to enter into the blood stream through the lungs. But, for me, it is a wonder. Not only is it a wonder, but I also believe it happens. Not only do I believe it happens, but I am not embarrassed that I don't know how it happens. I don't even feel like I would breath easier if I knew. I don't feel like my intelligence or credibility is in question if I don't know how it happens.

Now, if I claimed that I could create some process or supplement that that can improve the process and didn't know how it actually worked, then I would be questioned. The thing is that since it was God who made it work and put the process into place and the general process doesn't need improvement, it is sufficient for me to know that he knows. I also don't improve my ability to breath by knowing any more about it than I do.

If I had a disease that kept my blood from from getting oxygen, I would certainly want to have a medical person who is knowledgeable in the process diagnosing and treating me. But, if there were no one who knew how to fix it, I wouldn't really be able to hold anyone to task about it. It would simply be beyond our knowledge and skill. It would simply be a wonder.

LaFonda's explanation of what I am really talking about is that our understanding of things moves our faith from trusting God to trusting the understanding. We trust in our understanding instead of God. Then, when something happens that is beyond our understanding, our faith is challenged and often shattered. Not only does our faith in our understanding fail us, but we have lost the practice of faith in God. We can't lean on him because we no longer know how and we can't lean on our understanding because it has failed us.

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Another thing we do is that we flip light switches on and off to produce light or darkness at our will. And we do this without the slightest understanding or concern of how that switch makes the light come on. Some have an idea that it is electricity and that without paying the electric bill, the switch no longer works. Some know the theories behind how it all works. Others even know the infrastructure that must be in place in order to make that switch work correctly.

But even if we only consider the electricity itself, no one really knows what it is and how it works. We have lots of theories and even though some of those theories contradict each other, they all prove true in the work of electricity. This is not logical, yet we all still use it and talk about it as if we know what it is and what it does.

Even though we don't feel intimidated by people who know we use electricity we still use it without being able to explain it accurately. But, we feel we have to have grand explanations that show we don't do things without knowing what we are doing when it comes to the things of the Bible.

We read that Moses was placed in a little boat on the water of the Nile. This definitely needs an explanation especially when we consider that his parents were exemplified as being full of faith because they hid Moses from the king as long as they did. The act of putting them on the water must have been a continuation of that faith. Well that kind of logical deduction is for the purpose of not appearing ignorant to the question of, "If they had such great faith, why did they put him in the river?" My question is, "Why can't we just believe that they defied the king as long as they could, then put him in the river?" We are lead to believe by what is written that they didn't have any idea what would happen because his sister stayed at a distance to watch and see what would happen.

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The argument of chapter four was that we don't discredit other things we don't understand even though there is no value attached to believing them, but when it comes to God and beliefs such as the trinity of God, we have to explain it, ignore it, or debunk it.

We see a leaf fall to the ground and we think that it is because it is fall that it has happened. But, in reality, we are accepting with no wonder in it at all the fact that all the trees know to drop their leaves at the same time and that they lose their green before they fall and create that colored carpet on our lawns, forests and fields. We don't think of the fact that it falls and that, when it falls, it doesn't fall like a rock to the ground. It falls leisurely to land softly on the top of the grasses. We not only don't know why or how this whole processes happens, but we don't even care. We just accept it like that is what it is supposed to be.

If we are asked by someone, "Do you believe that leaves fall to the ground during the fall season?", we would answer that they do. If we were asked if we know how that it can possibly happen, we just point to the ground and say, "There it is." We aren't concerned with debates and we aren't concerned that someone may think little of us if we can't explain it. There really isn't anyone who can explain it even if they think they can.

Science is the answer to all our questions. But, it seems that it is only true for those who are not scientists. Scientists know that for one item that they are able to prove as a discovery, they create many more questions to be answered in that discovery. To answer why a leaf falls to the ground, I can think of several things that a person would need extensive knowledge in.

I would have to be able to explain how the anatomy and chemistry of a tree works, how and why the tilt of the earth affects the tree, how and why the earth is considered to be tilted, how gravity works and how friction affects falling objects. Even if I had intimate knowledge of those things, I would still be at quite a loss when the question of why is put into place. So, we know we can't know and we know it happens, so we just accept it without the understanding of how and why.

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We read chapter four of the book that we are reading on Thursdays with our friends. I wasn't planning on enjoying any of the book because the author is as dry as an author can be. I may be as dry as he is, but I wouldn't know since I don't read what I write.

Chapter four was the surprise chapter. It pretended to be about the trinity. But, I saw right through it as time went on through the night. This chapter was about faith the war between faith and knowing. Of course, we don't feel like they should be mutually exclusive of each other, but the idea of that was presented and that is what began my interest in the whole thought process.

I believe that the author wrote that, if we need to prove through some test or logic the validity of the thing we have faith in, we are demonstrating that we don't really have faith in it. And he said that, if we actually do validate our faith by these proofs, then our faith has been minimized. I would go so far as to say we don't need our faith any longer in this case because we have empirical, theoretical or logical proofs.

I then realized that this is where I am going and want to go. This is my passion (if we can only have one and it can't be family).

I couldn't sleep that night thinking of all the things that I don't really know anything about and how they are all wondrous, or mysterious, or require me to have faith with regard to them.

The author's point was simply that we use science without understanding it, and we accept the activities in nature without knowing their cause or process, but when it comes to the things of faith, we feel that we have to have a complete understanding of the thing in order for it to be valid.

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Who has gone up to heaven and come down?
    Whose hands have gathered up the wind?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak?
    Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is the name of his son?
    Surely you know!

Since we have read the Bible, we know that this was answered in Jesus. Jesus is both the Son and the one who has gone to heaven and come down as well as having established the ends of the earth. What's more - he is the son.

The mystery of this passage of the Bible is, first of all, to know the one who gathers the wind and holds the waters and, then, to know that he has a son and we know him.

We don't know where the winds come from and we think we know that something other than God creates them. Our preference is that we know how and why the winds exist and we no longer believe that it is God who gathers up the winds. He makes the winds his messengers and flames of fire his servants.

In all of this writing, I know that I haven't actually begun to say what I want and, yet, I feel as if I have already made it insignificant in the light of what I feel that it actually is.

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I suppose it comes down to the discussion of what "church" is and isn't. I believe that the religion that is presented to the world is not the church.

I realize that this is not a safe thing to say because the culture of the world over the past 1700 years says differently. I realize that people who were associated with that religion have accomplished good things. But, I think the religion inhibits the church from living.

It is like a Start Trek episode. Of course, you knew I was going to refer to a movie or a song - right?

In the story, people lived on this planet and they were perfectly happy. They lived the way they wanted to live - even if they wanted to do bad things to people. When someone became damaged or dead from the things they wanted, the owners of the planet would put them back together. Everyone was happy with the situation. But, Kirk discovered that these people who lived on this planet were really in a cage and were there for the entertainment of the owners of the planet. They people had the illusion of freedom because they did what they wanted. But, in reality they were restricted to living in an illusion instead of reality. Even though they lived happy lives, Kirk opposed them because their true potential that is there when they are truly free was not there. They were allowed to do things that they were permitted to think they did, but in reality, nothing was actually done.

So, even though we can list lots of people who have done really good things for God, it is my belief that they were permitted to do what they did only within the restrictions of the religion and weren't accomplishing their true potential. This was permitted in order to support the illusion that they were doing what the church should be doing.

When missionaries went to other countries to show them the way of salvation, the result was that the religion was established in that area, and just like the rest of the world, some of the people who joined it were actually part of the church and others joined the religion. But, both are duped and both are being constrained by the religion - even if the physical head had changed (Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, etc...). The real owner of the religion is keeping his guard on it to only allow enough activity for those who are in the church to believe that they are free and those who are only in the religion to believe they are in the church.

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As I continue to ramble on about faith I realize that it's probably because I haven't said enough about it to make it so that I feel I have completely covered what I want to cover. So - on I go...

The problem of faith doesn't rest on what faith is, or even who the faith is attributed to or who or what I have faith in as much as it is what I think about it.

If I have faith that a cow can produce milk for me or even that I can go to the store and purchase milk with the money I have in my pocket, that faith will probably prove true. It is faith that makes my hope real enough that I act on it and head off to the store with money in my pocket. I am resting my faith in the cow and I attribute the faith I have in my experience that milk comes from a cow, so, I have faith in the cow.

Faith is faith is faith is faith. No matter what you are putting your faith in and no matter what the goal of your faith is. So that isn't a problem.

It's hard to explain the problem, but I think that it is a serious one. In the center of a faith without this problem, swirls hope, honor, love and humility. The problem arises when faith is considered to be a status symbol or an indication of rank or accomplishment. This seems to happen very easily in the Christian religion.

The whole of faith rests in grace and grace is started and finished in love, honor and humility. And it is really grace that I want to talk about because if grace is our badge of honor, then faith turns from a badge to a beam of light that displays the glory of the one in whom I hope. It is faith, hope and love that animate grace.

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