Recently, I caught up with Christian author and speaker Margaret Feinberg. Some of you know Margaret from my book Jesus Manifesto – she was one of the endorsers. For those not familiar with Feinberg, she has released a fascinating new book called Wonderstruck. Here’s my interview with her.
Frank Viola: With all the Christian books on the market today, what motivated you to write Wonderstruck?
Margaret Feinberg: My husband and I had just gone through one of the roughest years of our lives—the financial, familial, health, and personal losses were overwhelming. In the aftermath, a prayer emerged, not for more faith or trust or grace, but a prayer for wonder. Essentially I was saying, God reveal yourself, your whole self to me. I want to know you like I’ve never known you before. And God did not disappoint. I wrote Wonderstruck book and 7-session Bible study for anyone who has been knocked down in life and wants to reawaken to the reality of God all around them.
Frank Viola: Who, specifically, would be interested in this book and why? Speak especially to those who have never read a Margaret Feinberg book before.
Margaret Feinberg: I write to those who long for the ancient truths of Scripture to be expressed in such a way that they ignite the passion and joy and delight of being a child of God. I write for those who long to live in wild pursuit of God despite living in a world filled with countless distractions, multitudes of brokenness, and many unanswered questions. I write for those who choose to pursue God despite all the obstacles. Even if all you have is a dim ember of faith left, my hope is that Wonderstruck will echo the refrain of God’s goodness, presence, love in your life until you can’t help but respond with a holy whoohooo!
Frank Viola: To give readers a flavor of what’s in the book, give us three points, principles, or illustrations in it that you feel are unique to other books about being near to God and living life to the full.
Margaret Feinberg: I would be very sad if I had written a book about wonder that boiled down to three points or principles. You would be, too. Right? What I can give you is imagery—of the Northern Lights, of a life in the wake of a plane crash, of alpenglow evenings, of forgiving a robber, of discovering vulnerability, of losing a fiance, of finding God in a casino, of learning the power of an afternoon nap, of learning to live wonderstruck.
Frank Viola: What has been the best compliment to the book so far from a reader and what has been the worst criticism? Feel free to respond to the latter.
Margaret Feinberg: I’ve received very generous words for the book from everyone from Publisher’s Weekly to readers from around the world. But the best compliment is when I see people living wonderstruck—making their own image on Pinterest, snapping a photo and hashtag #livewonderstruck, sharing on their blog or a letter how their lives are now awakening to God’s wonder. Seeing God move in people’s lives as a result of the writing is the best compliment anyone could receive.
As for the worst criticism, the topic of wonder isn’t easy—it’s a nebulous, hard to wrap your mind around concept. The truth is that many Protestants and particularly evangelicals are weary of the wonder and mystery of God. Criticism abounds for those who want to drink in the fullness of life and of God through all five of their senses. Sometimes the displays of God’s presence are grandiose, but more often He reveals Himself in the mundane. God wants us to peep on Him. That’s right—sneak glances of Him and His handiwork and His glory throughout our every day. Such language makes some people uncomfortable, particularly those who want God to follow rules or fit in a box. Wonder reminds us there is no box that can contain the magnitude or the magnificence of God.
Frank Viola: I love the cover design. Tell us a bit about how it was created and what message it seeks to convey.
Margaret Feinberg: Wonder is such a hazy topic by nature. Some of the first cover designs included images of clouds, an enthusiastic child, a budding tree branch. But none of the images captured what I wanted to communicate. Throughout the book, I define wonder as “Those moments of spiritual emphasis that make you curious to know God more.” Those are gifts. So the black cover with a red ribbon across the front is symbolic of a gift. The color reminds us of the gift of Christ’s sacrifice. And the flowing ribbon is reminiscent of the Holy Spirit who moves as He desires.
May we all receive and unpack the gift of wonder God longs to give us.
Thanks Margaret. I think your book would make a wonder-ful gift for readers and their friends.
Also see Christian Piatt’s post Why Women Are the Key to the Church’s Future