Common Ground Editorial: October 2020

Welcome to the October edition of Common Ground; and to the long weekend. We hope the weekend provides you with an opportunity for rest and refreshment, time with family and friends, and some moments to savour the season of Spring.

This edition is focused on the theme of wonder. Our lead article, written by Luke Fenwick, reflects on wonder as reverence and wonder as astonishment, and the relationship between the two. It’s a piece that has already moved a few of us to tears! We hope it moves you too. After reading Luke’s piece, you may want to move to the interview with alumnus Andrew Das in which he reflects on some of his experiences of wonder as a research scientist and on recently becoming a father. There are a number of resonances with Luke’s article.

Be sure to also check out Andrew Shamy’s article, “There and Back Again: How Reading Tolkien Can Restore the World to Us.” This article is an edited version of a talk that Andrew recently delivered at a Conversation Evening in Auckland. In it, Andrew explores how fantasy literature can open the world to us in surprising, fresh, and helpful ways. If this article whets your appetite—and you want more—keep a look out for the upcoming Venn Presents series in which Andrew talks more about Tolkien and what he offers us as humans and Christians. We understand that wonder and delight can be found in both the extraordinary and ordinary moments of life. To explore this idea, we asked a group of alumna friends from Wellington to capture small moments from their lives and offer a small description of their significance. You’ll find these moments in this month’s Alumni Offering.

Finally, Julia Bloore shares about cultivating wonder in our children by developing the habit of paying attention. Julia writes, “There are so many wonder-full things in our world and… many ways of helping our children to notice them.” One thing she suggests is taking children into nature and getting them to draw and/or write about what they notice. What a great suggestion; and not just for children. Is there an opportune time for you this long weekend to pick up journal and pen, head out for a walk, notice the many wonder-full things in God’s good world, and give him thanks?


The Venn team