I have been skimming through a new book, (When Donkeys Talk) and want to throw out a few thoughts from it. Here, first, is a few tidbits about the author and the book: Tyler Blanski, the author, is also an American singer and songwriter. He sets out in this book to rediscover the beauty of the Christianity of yesteryear and reunite it with the twenty-first century. When Donkeys Talk is a true invitation to become enchanted again with Christ and the world He made. The book reminds us that God’s work is unexpected, unusual, and miraculous – and that He uses His creation to speak to us today. Using the wisdom of the church fathers, respected theologians, and Christian thinkers from centuries past – Blanski helps us find that the wonder of our ancient faith is still alive and well – even in our post-modern age.
Here is an excerpt from the book:
“Hobbling around a world of talking donkeys plants within a person a new hunger for the body and a new thirst for the blood of the incarnate Word. Enchanted Christianity is a medieval bludgeon to our imaginations. It might even inspire us to again call our bodies ‘Brother Ass,’ like Francis of Assisi, that skinny saint who scampered naked through the woods to worship the Lord and love those in need. To him the world was alive with the activity of God. To him, miracles, like electrons, could pop up anywhere, and not every ass was a dumb ass. My one goal for us is to believe like that: to believe better. Belief is not easy, but it shapes our whole lives. For a lot of us, it can seem downright impossible, and it does not help that many churches today are making Christianity confusing.”
Blanski’s work is an assault to our modern sensibilities. It asks for us to suspend our modern disbelief and put down our jungle-stripping, parking-lot-erecting view of the world. He asks us to put down the microscope and dust off the crystal ball, as it were. For me, as a researcher, amateur anthropologist, and theologian – I find that hard to do. I don’t like to put down my critical thinking. But I find that in order to engage God, I have to let go of my need to understand. Here is another quote:
“The idolatry of [this world] says, “Because I think, therefore I exist.” It says this because godlessness naturally leads to nihilism, narcissism, and inflated self-love. In [this world], I come first; I decide what is truth. Students in the kingdom of God, however, say, “I am because God is. I love because he loves me. Because I love, I think; and because I am sinful, sometimes I think idolatrous thoughts like, ‘I think, therefore I am,’ as if I were God.” When we live in the love of God, allowing Jesus to renew our hearts and minds, our loves are reoriented. We are no longer the harbingers of truth. We live in the trail of God’s salvation stories, of his love. When we apprentice ourselves to Jesus, we are enrolling in a class of love.”
How choicely put. Our obsessive need to “know” can just as easily be idolatry as anything else. Sometimes letting things be “magical” again is to see the world for what it really is – the handiwork, tool, and mouthpiece of God.
Now I am not about to cast off my years of study and careful research. But this book reminds me that all my years of page turning are but a grain of sand in God’s universe of knowledge. In fact, all of our combined knowledge is but a drop in the ocean of what God has yet to reveal to us. So why not revel in our ignorance and acknowledge that this world, this universe, this God – is wondrous and worth exploring with innocent, hope filled eyes.
To check out the book, follow this link.