A Theology of Wonder

M.C. Escher said that "wonder is the salt of the soul." The implication is that souls that lack wonder are bland and prone to spoilage. We saw the truth of this in the Modernism of western culture: a radical sense of disenchantment with the world led many into a kind of soul atrophy that made the world seem to be nothing more than an engine of despair. As we recover from the cultural hangover of the Modernist nightmare, we are reawakening to the truth that the world is the kind of place best approached in wonder, and that the best human life is one well seasoned with an expansive sense of wonder.

And yet, there has not been much sustained theological reflection on the nature and role of wonder in human experience. The lack of special attention given to wonder in the theological tradition left the Church without a ready-made response to the Modernist crisis of wonder. Now that society is turning back to enchantment, it is even more important that the Church be equipped with a rich theological understanding of the dynamics of wonder and its role in grounding human lives on the truths of spiritual reality.

This course will attempt to do just that. Wonder is a response: therefore, it must be a response to something. We will look at the created world and examine the aspects of it that make it the occasion for wonder. We will also look at the soul itself, examining what the proper conditions for wonder are. And we will, most importantly, examine the phenomenon of wonder itself, developing a theological account of it that places it into the context of the life of Christian discipleship.

Saturdays, September 14 - November 2, 2024
9:00 - 11:00 am CT

$400 / student
Scholarships are available!

Topics:

Week One: An Apology for Re-enchantment
Week Two: The Nature of Wonder
Week Three: The Ground of Wonder
Week Four: Miracles: The Concentration of Wonder
Week Five: Wonder and the Youth of the Soul
Week Six: Seeing the Glory: The Rectifying Power of Wonder
Week Seven: Wonder and Compassion
Week Eight: Wonder as Doxology

  • Dr. Johnson uniquely combines his analytic thinking with his vast theological knowledge and his love for wonder and imagination to expand our view of reality and what is possible.

  • Dr. Johnson’s 12-week online course “The Wisdom of Possibility: the Practice of Thinking Through the Imagination” offers up a virtual gourmet buffet for any person hungry to explore a deeply Christian and highly intelligent theological treatment of the creative impulse so central to human experience. Small class size, accessible readings, and robust interaction under Johnson’s keen grasp of the critical issues at stake together offer up a deeply satisfying immersion into the world of wondering about the world. For the price and the substance, there is no better value on the continuing-ed market.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this investigation into the Christian imagination! As an active musician and teacher, I have wondered about how the imagination works, how the mind uses both reason and imagination in concert to solve problems and invent new ideas. Junius took us deeply into these subjects, helping us discover philosophical truths, logical connections, and practical applications. I cannot “imagine” a more thoughtful and masterful teacher than Junius and would highly recommend this class. The readings were interesting and do-able, the discussions fascinating, and the content truly formative.

  • I was already deeply into writing a trilogy of science fiction novels when I heard about Wisdom and Imagination. So, I was a little hesitant to detour. But, following the Lord’s prompting, I registered. I am ever so glad I obeyed! Junius Johnson’s genius in weaving together science, the arts and music has inspired me to even greater creativity. And his sound theological perspective has challenged me to expand my universe. I highly recommend this course to anyone desiring to bring our Creator’s creativity into their life, work and service.