Most people, when they see something that makes little sense to them, instead of engaging it, cringe away, cross the street, and hustle on their way, leaving it for someone else to deal with. They treat ideas or events that “are not really in their wheelhouse” the same way whether it’s art, sports, science, politics, current events, or whatever. Basically, most people avoid most complex ideas and happenings that do not directly relate to their immediate needs or interests. They go about their business living in their narrow view of life.
Going about life in this manner is what I call “uncuriosity,” and it has consequences. Severe ones. It dramatically affects how we see the world and all its inhabitants.
There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who divide everything into two groups and those who don’t. Binary thinking takes the grays of the world and insists they are either black or white. It responds to sensitive and complex situations with either/or thinking and in the end creates far more issues than it resolves.
Most people in the world are strangers to us. We do not know them and because we do not know them we fear them, for the unknown and the different are scary. Instead of seeing the potential for gaps to be bridged uncuriosity sees the gaps as protection from the the foreign and frightening.
True friendships are among the rarest of commodities. We have buddies and co-workers and neighbors but not so many friends. We lack connection with others because we fear letting them close or digging into their lives. Uncuriosity tells such behavior is risky, messy, and terribly uncomfortable. It is much simpler and neater to leave people in the acquaintance zone.
Marriages are powerful and fragile, and they are incredibly difficult too. Marriage takes remarkable effort because love gives into the intertia of life. It stalls and stales unless we intentionally, passionately, actively fight to keep it going and living and sparking. Only curiosity will do this because it recognizes the unknown depths of the spouse and the relationship and seeks to learn and love it all. Uncuriosity sits idly by and lets the love grow still, cold, and dead.
God Is . . .?
Some of us know much of God, but how many of us have a vibrant relationship with God? We know the phrase but not the reality. We know of God but we don’t know God. In the same way that friendships never start and marriages fade we fail to draw close or stay close to God. Because we are uncurious – uncurious about the depths of His goodness and the mysteries of His ways. Our uncuriosity settles for flannel graph depictons of God instead of relentlessly and eagerly seeking to know Him.
I Don’t Care
The world is so much larger than us. It holds the lives of seven billion unique image bearers of God from tens of thousands of cultures and millions of subcultures. It is beautiful and terrible and majestic and sublime. And none of this matters to the uncurious because all he can think about is what’s for lunch or when new episodes of Daredevil will be on Netflix for his binge watching pleasure. Uncuriosity not only doesn’t care. It cannot.
This is an excerpt from my forthcoming book, The Curious Christian: How Discovering Wonder Enriches Every Part of Life, that is due to be released in early 2017.