I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need an extra dose of levity and delight …and today’s author, Christine Sine, BRINGS it in her new book, The Gift of Wonder. Christine and I actually met and became friends during my family’s Seattle stint – before either one of us had publishing deals or books we were trying to schlep across the Internet. And friends, I can say that she is the real deal. Enjoy this interview with her!
Tell us a bit about yourself, will you? I grew up in Australia, trained as a medical doctor and then practiced in New Zealand for several years. In 1980 I heard about an organization called YWAM that had just purchased a ship with the hope of building a hospital on board and providing medical and dental care for people in disadvantaged communities in conjunction with evangelism and discipleship. I had the privilege of establishing the hospital to do cleft lip and palate and eye surgeries as well as developing training programs for medical personnel working overseas. I spent 12 years living and working on the mercy ship M/V Anastasis in Africa, Caribbean and South Pacific. I also worked in the refugee camps in Thailand with Khymer refugees for a short time.
In 1992 Tom and I were married and I moved to the U.S. deciding not to practice medicine but rather explore a broader perspective of how we can bring health and wholeness to people and communities in mind body soul and spirit. I am increasingly convinced that the health of our spiritual lives depends on the exploration of creative spiritual practices and spiritual rhythms that connect us more intimately to God, others and to God’s good creation.
I started writing, and blogging. I now facilitate the popular blog The Gift of Wonder: Creative Practices for Delighting in God.which has 40 contributors from around the world. My latest book is
Let’s talk about your book: what, in a nutshell, is your book about anyway? Can you imagine a God who dances with shouts of joy, laughs when you laugh, loves to play, enjoys life, and invites us to join the fun? I couldn’t until recently. I grew up with a very serious, workaholic God. Even when my theology changed, I struggled to live into my new way of thinking. Then Jesus’ words, Unless you become like a child you cannot enter the kingdom, began to resonate in my head.
What childlike characteristics shape us into the people God intends us to be? I posted my question on Facebook and was amazed at the response. Curiosity, imagination, playfulness, creativity, awe and wonder, compassion, love of nature, trust and many more emerged. Unfortunately there is rarely anything childlike about our faith. We suffer from play deprivation, nature deficit disorder, awe depletion and compassion fatigue. As a result we are God deprived too.
In The Gift of Wonder I invite you to reawaken your inner child and discover the childlike characteristics that reconnect us to our passionate God who delights in life, celebrates with joy, loves to laugh and exudes a sense of awe and wonder. Each chapter explores a characteristic of children that makes us fit for the kingdom encouraging us to develop fresh spiritual practices that engage all our senses and help us to live a new kind of spiritual life that embraces the wonder and joy that God intends for us. The chapters end with a creative spiritual exercise based on the characteristic discussed in it. These exercises are designed as both individual and group activities and encourage us to think outside the box and enjoy the presence of the fun loving, joy filled God we follow.
Do tell, what was the inspiration behind it? My experiences in Africa sent me looking for a much more whole life approach to faith where spiritual practices were more than a little prayer in the morning and daily bible reading. I started exploring contemplative practices and was introduced to Celtic Christian spirituality, both of which inspired me with their integrated approaches to spiritual disciplines. However my soul still cried out for more. I started exploring creative process like writing prayers, painting on rocks and planting contemplative gardens. I reconnected to my inner child and found my heart and my soul came alive as I learned to use every part of my life as a spiritual practice and had fun in the process.
How do you hope readers will be changed by your words, and also, how have you been changed by writing the book? Writing The Gift of Wonder has helped me to see the world differently. It has changed my life and my understanding of spiritual practices opening my eyes to creative possibilities that continue to enrich me and those around me. I I feel as though I have entered a new world where everything seems more alive and more exciting because of the new practices I continue to explore.
My hope is that The Gift of Wonder will encourage others to develop new spiritual practices that enrich their lives and draw them close to God, their neighbors and God’s creation. In the process I hope they will discover new heights of joy and new depths of intimacy that can transform their lives just as they have done mine.
We oftentimes talk about “coloring outside the lines” on this blog: so, how do you hope your book will help readers color outside the lines? The Gift of Wonder is a color outside the lines type of book. I am concerned that many of us are stagnating in small spiritual boxes that give us little space for creativity or growth because we are afraid to unleash this inner child. We need to think outside the box and move outside the box of what spiritual practices are. I am increasingly passionate about helping others use their unique forms of creativity to discover the joy of practices like awe and wonder walks, play dates and contemplative gardening enriching their faith and their lives in the process.
So, what do you say? If you’re in need of a little big of wonder and delight from the big G-O-D, then leave some love for Christine …and just by leaving a comment, you enter to win a copy of The Gift of Wonder! Also, be sure to visit my Instagram account later this week for more chances to win!
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