You know an author is worth reading if he can make stones interesting. But after reading Andrew Wilson’s God of All Things: Rediscovering the Sacred in an Everyday World (Zondervan), you’ll be seeing stones everywhere in the Bible, and you’ll understand their significance in ways you never imagined.
Andrew Wilson is teaching pastor at King’s Church London and has theology degrees from Cambridge, London School of Theology, and King’s College London. He is a columnist for Christianity Today and has written several books, including Echoes of Exodus and Spirit and Sacrament. His newest book, God of All Things, teaches about God through the ordinary, physical things we see every day.
If you don’t normally enjoy reading theology, I recommend this book. You’ll learn a lot about God, you’ll develop a strong biblical theology from Genesis to Revelation, and you’ll see your ordinary world with new eyes in the process.
Andrew joined me on Gospelbound to discuss viruses, pigs, sex, children, trees, and more.
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Collin Hansen: You know an author is worth reading if he can make stones interesting but after reading Andrew Wilson’s God of All Things: Rediscovering the Sacred in an Everyday World, published by Zondervan, you’ll be seeing stones everywhere in the Bible, and you’ll understand their significance in ways you never imagined before. Wilson writes, “The most famous stone in history, more foundational than the temple walls, more marveled at than Stonehenge, is the stone that wasn’t there.” That’s good.
And don’t even get him started on mountains. There are whole books that could be expanded from his chapter about the mountains of Scripture. Andrew Wilson is teaching pastor at King’s Church, London, and has theology degrees from Cambridge, London School of Theology, and Kings College, London. He is a columnist for Christianity Today and has written several books, including Echoes of Exodus and Spirit and Sacrament. His newest book, God of All Things, teaches about God through the ordinary physical things we see every day.
If you don’t normally enjoy reading theology, I’d love to recommend this book because you’ll learn a lot about God, you’ll develop a strong biblical theology from Genesis to Revelation, and you’ll see your ordinary world with new eyes in the process. Andrew joins me on Gospelbound to discuss viruses, pigs, sex, children, trees, and more. Andrew, thank you for joining me.
Andrew Wilson: Thank you. I don’t know how you live up to that kind of an introduction, but thank you very much. I can’t wait to hear myself speak.
Collin Hansen: Andrew, how did you learn to read the Bible this way? I mean, is this a method that other people can learn, or is this a particular gift God has given you?
Andrew Wilson: I learned it in the last few years, I think. Initially probably introduced to it through my friend Alastair Roberts, and then through the work of Peter Leithart, and I think that the two of them, and they would I’m sure, credit James Jordan and others, but the two of them opened a door for me which particularly when I was working on a previous book with Alastair together, I just thought, “Man, there’s just so many… ” And obviously, I think, we’re always aware, aren’t we, that certain symbols have meanings in the Bible and so some of these things you would expect that somebody would be able to see wine as meaningful or bread as mean-, those sorts of things.
But I think that the extent of the connections that the Bible makes between different passages and ideas and the way in which themes and objects recur throughout the story is something I probably encountered more in the last five years. I don’t think I’d really use it this way before then. And so I’d written a book on the character of God before, but done it from the attributes, almost in a more abstract way, like God is good, God is glorious, all those things. Whereas I think in this book, it’s almost trying to cover the same ground but start from the bottom up rather than the top down and say, God’s made a world, and the world reflects who God is, and he’s deliberately put things in it as a means of revealing who he is.
And I just think that’s probably a relatively new discovery for me. I tend to write about what I’m excited about, so it’s something that I’m still excited about because I feel like I’ve only relatively recently seen how intricate and how deep down the rabbit hole you can go, which I think is a lot of fun.
Collin Hansen: Andrew, you even devote a chapter to viruses. How do you expect to show us the handiwork of God in viruses?
Andrew Wilson: Well, the chapter on viruses, I called, “The Problem of God.” So all the chapters are, the something of God, “The Goodness of God” or “The Love of God” or whatever. But the one on viruses I called, “The Problem of God,” and in a way, to me, the virus is pretty much the best expression of the problem of evil that we have. So instead of saying, “Hey, aren’t viruses great. Look at the intricacy of what God’s designed,” that’s the one chapter of the book in which I do the opposite, which is to say, “Hey, look at this thing that God has made and even right now, these little beasts… I wrote the first draft of this chapter before COVID hit and now of course it’s a far bigger, more pressing issue for everybody.
But in some ways that’s only reminded us of something that most of our ancestors knew very well, which is there are these horrible sicknesses which get us. And if anything, the more we’ve learned about viruses, the more of a problem in terms of theodicy and understanding God, it is, because we can’t write them off just as an impersonal disease, we actually have to see these things are being created. These things are sustained. They are part of the created order. What on earth do we do with that?
And effectively, that chapter is an exploration of all the reasons why people typically try and explain away the problem of evil and say, “Oh, it’s all right. It’s not an issue for Christian theology because of this,” and saying none of those work actually, in the end we have to come face to face with the answer, I don’t know why God has made these things. I have to concede my ignorance here, otherwise I’m not going to be able to make any sense of this at all and I just have to stand back and say, “Yep, all of the normal pat answers I’d give to suffering don’t work for viruses. They work for other things sometimes, but they don’t work for viruses, and therefore I’m forced to confront my own limitations in order to be able to answer that question.”
And so that in some ways is the… I thought I had to put it in, otherwise you end up running a little bit like Monty Python, where they do that spoof of all things bright and beautiful, and it’s all things vile and cancerous, and they’re like, “There’s some things in this creation that I don’t understand,” and viruses are a pretty timely example.
Collin Hansen: Now, pigs. Pigs I can understand because they give us bacon, but pork of course, was forbidden for the Jews. How does your book help us understand the relationship between the Old and New Testaments?
Andrew Wilson: Well, in some ways, because of interconnectedness of the whole Bible, I think almost all the time, every time you find a thing introduced in the Old Testament, if you don’t understand what is there for by the end of the New Testament, you probably will. So, you’ve already mentioned examples like mountains or whatever, where you’d say, “There’s a lot of mountain symbolism in the Old Testament,” and then you get into the New and you think, Oh wow, but the story comes to its climax on mountains as well and you’d say the same of rivers and bread and wine and many things.
I mentioned pigs, I think, because pigs are a particularly good example, and livestock. I had to do two chapters on animals near the beginning, one from Leviticus and one from Numbers, going, “Why are there so many farm animals?” My son has a farm animal set out on the kitchen floor at the moment and you walk in and think, Most of those things are in the Bible and almost all the other things in this house are not in the Bible. Why is that?
And I think in some ways, those animals are introduced to us, obviously partly for sacrificial purposes, but partly also to illustrate who we are. And I think one of the points I make is that, whereas when you look at a cow or a sheep, you’d say, “That’s obviously a stand-in for Christ. He’s going to be a bull who becomes a worship offering or the scapegoat or the lamb who takes away the sin of the world.” That’s quite easy to see, and the letter to the Hebrews particularly draws those connections for us. But when you come to pigs, you think, No, pig isn’t a type of Christ. The pig’s a type of me. The pig is the type of the filthy Gentile who’s not welcome in the camp and, in fact, needs to be removed because he’s impure and unclean because he parts the hoof and eats his own feces and does all kinds of other diabolical things.
And in a way, that then becomes a type of me, and then when I jump to the New Testament and I find the demonized man among the pigs who may well have been a Gentile, certainly lived on that side of the lake, and he gets restored to his right mind and the pigs all charge off the hill, off a cliff and die. Or when I see Peter’s dream and he’s, “Wake up, Peter. You can eat anything you want including these vile animals and therefore don’t call anyone unclean.” I think, Oh, I’m the pig.
But instead of a pig who is no longer welcome, I’ve been welcomed in because of death and actually, my death in Christ has turned me into something aromatic and beautiful, just as a pig who stinks is turned into something aromatic and beautiful like bacon when he’s sacrificed for our breakfast. And I just think even there, there’s a powerful symbol of… I think sometimes we struggle to see our own unpleasantness within biblical symbolism and I think a pig is a pretty good way of making that point, and Leviticus does it with bells on.
Collin Hansen: Andrew, as I read your book, I can’t imagine why anyone would want the pathetic little gods that we invent instead of this wild, amazing God revealed to us in the Bible. But then you write this: “A made up God will leave your world undisturbed, conveniently aligning with your priorities, without displacing anything, because ultimately you are more glorious than it is. The real God, however, will land in the middle of your life like an elephant crashing through the ceiling, displacing your sin, changing all your priorities and forcing you to reorient yourself around the weight of glory.” Love that quote.
How do we help people to desire the real thing, the real God, instead of all these counterfeits we manufacture?
Andrew Wilson: I think that’s a big… In some ways, that’s the whole question of Christian evangelism just in a sentence, isn’t it?
Collin Hansen: In two minutes, Andrew, two minutes.
Andrew Wilson: I think there’s a positive and a negative. There’s a constructive and a destructive component to the answer to that question. I think the destructive part is where you expose… and the Bible has a lot of this, actually. You see it in, particularly in books like Deuteronomy and Isaiah, where you have a very strong polemic against the kind of gods you could worship if you didn’t worship the Lord and you have these gods exposed for what they are and debunked and so these guys ultimately don’t deliver. And sometimes that’s done through mockery and satire like, I’m bowing down to a block of wood. Sometimes it’s through exposing their pretensions and their impotence in light of the real God like Elijah at Mount Carmel, “Your god can’t actually do anything.”
There’s many ways of doing it and one, I think in our culture, in some ways, when I transcendentalize this thing that isn’t God, what if effectively, the person who becomes God is me because I’m the one who’s in control? I get to tell this God what I want from it and then I get to do everything that God tells me to do, which is where god of money, wealth, sex, power, those sorts of goals, become effectively things that I transcendentalize, lift up and then look to for meaning.
And I think the way of critiquing those is ultimately the same as what Isaiah and Moses do, which is to expose their inability to deliver what they promise and I think that’s the critical function of apologetics, I think, or of Christian evangelism. I think the constructive function is to say that there is something within you that longs for something beyond even the greatest gods that this world has offered and that’s a good thing that you’re longing for, you’re just looking for it in the wrong place, which is more like the Jeremiah 2, “My people have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and so they now have broken cisterns.”
So you will look for water in the wrong place if you don’t find it in the right place, Samaritan woman and so on, “I want this. Give me this water.” And I think that’s, I was writing a message on it just this morning, and that’s exactly the invitation to say, “Come to the waters. You are thirsty, come and eat food without cost and feast yourself and who God is,” because there are things that you are crying out for in your heart that you won’t find satisfied anywhere else.
You ultimately long for the infinite love of a human person, and you don’t find that anywhere else. You ultimately long for a meaning that suffering can’t take away. You ultimately long for immortality and victory over death. You long for unconditional acceptance, truly unconditional acceptance, which even the best love of a child or parent can’t give you. And those things are good longings, and they’ve been placed within you, and you won’t find them satisfied anywhere outside of your Creator. So I think there’s a positive and a critical component of apologetics and evangelism there.
Collin Hansen: Well done, Andrew, you ran over your two minutes there. Just an FYI, but I do appreciate it.
Andrew Wilson: I need a stop clock or something.
Collin Hansen: No, just joking. So sex is considered a weakness in Christianity for relating to people today. Now it’s actually not new, it’s been going this way for many, many, many, many decades, especially in the West. But you certainly don’t seem to share that view of sex being this kind of vulnerability for Christianity. You write this: “Although we live in a society that prides itself on having a positive view of sex, our cultural representations of it are far more likely to generate cheap simulation or childish snickers than the unashamed bold, beautiful celebration of sexual intimacy that you find in the song that is the Song of Songs or Song of Solomon.”
Andrew, is there a chance we could flip this dominant narrative of sex in a way that would illumine God’s original intent?
Andrew Wilson: I think we have to, whether or not people would immediately find it arresting or compelling is going to depend on some other factors but I think we do have to. I think the Bible does. I think it’s our responsibility and calling to tell the story of biblical sexuality and the way that that shows sex as a signpost, ultimately, and many of us are, I think, trying to do that. It’s probably something you do. It’s certainly something I have to do as a pastor preaching. You’re trying to say this thing in itself is not the end of the story. This is a representation. It’s a picture, a parable, a shadow, a silhouette of something much greater than it and there’s actually of several things. It’s a picture of worship. It’s a picture of the gospel. It’s a picture of what a faithful relationship between God and us looks like it’s a picture of creation and the cosmos.
And I think if we don’t do that, then our constraints on sexuality, which Christians have always held and said, “These are the rules,” really. We don’t like putting it that way, but in the end that is what we have. If you don’t set it in the context of that story, then the rules just look very arbitrary. It’s like saying, “God likes green jelly babies and not yellow ones.” That’s how one writer I read put it. And if you don’t do that, and if you don’t say, “No, no, no, it’s not like that at all. This is not in any way arbitrary.”
This is saying if you enact this story incorrectly, then you’re not playing the role of Christ, and she’s not playing the role of the church, and there’s no exclusivity and fidelity and permanence and otherness and all of these themes, then you are putting on display an inaccurate representation of worship or creation or the gospel of what Christ has done.
And therefore, I think the answer to the question has to be yes, we have to do it. I think some of us will find it easier than others, and some of us will find that we want to avoid talking about sex, but my general experience with any apologetic issue is that it’s better to talk problems up than to talk problems down, which is why I have a chapter on sex and a chapter on suffering and other big problematic issues. Because I think we’re often wanting to say to people… I think you’ve actually understated the scale of the problem Christians have with this teaching. If you’re challenging me that Christianity is narrow when it comes to sex, I’m going to say, “Oh, you don’t know the half of it. It’s far worse than you think. Actually, this is a limitation of the entire life being yielded to Christ, and I don’t have any choice.”
I’m not my own, that’s my claim, it’s not just my sex life that’s not my own. And so almost escalating the problem and then showing why it’s there rather than hoping it will get smaller in the face of cultural objections, which I don’t see happening anytime soon. So I think there’s an opportunity there because it’s so weird to the modern world that I think it gives us an opportunity to give an answer when asked why it’s like that.
Collin Hansen: That was one of my favorite apologetic moves as well, Andrew, is to take the objection and make it way worse, to escalate it. I don’t know where I learned that-
Andrew Wilson: I got it from Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible. Mission Impossible One, I think it’s number one, where there’s a scene where Ving Rhames is saying to him, “Are you telling me you’re going to get in there, past the cameras, past the guns, all the rest of it and then we’ve got to do this and then got to get out,” and Tom Cruise goes, “Relax Luther, it’s far worse than you think.” And then it goes, “Dum, dum, dum, dum,” and I’ve just thought that is such a wonderful movie moment. And that is basically what I think apologists are trying to do is, relax it’s far worse than you think. I think it’s great fun.
Collin Hansen: You went that direction. I was going to go with Dostoevsky, but Tom Cruise-
Andrew Wilson: Oh, you’re so much more literary than me.
Collin Hansen: Tom Cruise is probably much more relatable. I don’t know, this is what we’re talking about here, I don’t know how anyone can make sense of sex without God’s intent. All kinds of confusion about why we would even be this way, with a purpose. Anyway, you write this: “An obvious answer to the question, what is sex? And one we should not overlook is that the primary purpose of sex is to have children and everything that makes it delightful, physical, emotional, hormonal, spiritual, is designed to strengthen the bond between husband and wife and enable us to face the challenges of pregnancy, birth and parenthood together.”
Now, Andrew, I think that is beautiful and true, but I’m not even sure most Protestants would share this view. How do you get away with suggesting such an outdated notion as sex being designed by God primarily to produce children?
Andrew Wilson: Well, I haven’t got away with it, Collin, because it hasn’t come out yet. I have no idea whether I will or be excommunicated. I certainly don’t think that’s the only one, and I put it in the context of, I think, saying that sex means, I can’t remember actually, three, four different things, which is intended to symbolize. But I just think, in some ways there’s that there’s ancient wisdom here again, isn’t there? There’s just this occasionally, who’s that person who made that comment about there’s a certain type… A great writer. He said something like there’s certain types of error that you have to be incredibly intelligent to swallow. There’s certain kinds of things that almost the brighter you are, the more likely you are not to see it.
Collin Hansen: Sounds like Tom Cruise, maybe.
Andrew Wilson: But it is like that, I think, with this. Where you ask anybody who’s been alive in human history to say, what is sex for, until about 50 years ago max, and people would say, well, one of the first two or three things they’re going to say is to have children. In fact, for many of those centuries, they probably wouldn’t even come up with a second, that would be the obvious. And once you say it, you just go through Scripture and say, “If I wasn’t trying to find a 21st century Protestantism-lite compatible version of sexuality, what would I say the scriptures were pointing to? That’s one of the first things you’d say, from Genesis 1 onwards, isn’t it? “Be fruitful and multiply.”
And you’d obviously want to say, “It’s not just that, I don’t think contraception is a sin, and I don’t think that sex must only be for the creation of children. I don’t think that couples who are past the age of childbearing should stop having sex. I’m not saying any of those things, but nevertheless, it’s very obvious, is it not, that this is basically what, in biological terms and in emotional terms, this wonderful gift has been designed to point towards, even if that’s something that because of reasons of age or infertility, whatever, I, myself, cannot realize in my own sexuality, that’s nevertheless, clearly what it’s for.
And I actually think it’s very important in some ways, in the context of a church where there’s increasingly numbers of single people and people are getting married later, a lot of people in my church, single who are wrestling with what place does sexuality have in singleness? If I take the childbearing bit out of it, and I don’t act like that’s part of the story, it really does seem like an arbitrary restriction. It seems incomprehensible to people that a single person’s sexuality is to be channeled in a different way than a married person. So I feel like we’ve kind of got to, but whether I get away with it is going to be… We’ll have to see.
Collin Hansen: I just think what you write is such an encouragement to so many couples with children, and it brings so much coherence to the purpose of God’s design, but it seems like because we’ve been pushing back against, I’ll just say, I think within Protestant churches, we’ve been pushing back against the Catholic notion that we’ve almost divined our theology and practice by simply being not Catholic, as opposed to orienting ourselves toward what you said is fairly obvious from Scripture.
So again, it’s certainly more than having children, but it’s not less than that, and it does not have to be pleasurable. God did not have to design it that way, but perhaps one major reason he did is for the reason that you gave right here, to reinforce those bonds that carry parents through child rearing, which is very difficult. So, anyway, I love that perspective.
Now I know, Andrew, many people can relate to what you write about anxiety, and what stood out to me was what you noticed about your own personal patterns of anxiety. I’ve quoted this already to many people since I read your book. You write this: “My level of anxiety tends to be higher when I spend a lot of time with screens or money and lower when I spend a lot of time with trees or children.” Andrew, how would the Bible support this observation in your personal life?
Andrew Wilson: So the chapter’s drawn from the section in the Sermon on the Mount, obviously, where Jesus says, “Don’t worry,” and he’s talking about consider the lilies. And that’s where I got started, I think, look at flowers. And I think of course, screens and even money as we understand it now, wealth and possessions clearly a big theme of the Bible, but money as we now understand it, and certainly screens or even anything that even remotely approximates to it. Interacting with an impersonal object that has the capacity to convey large amounts of information at once.
That’s a modern development which has… I wouldn’t claim for a moment that Scripture speaks to, except to say that I think it captures and embodies things like what the Bible says about the city and about large clusterings of human beings, which is there’s a wonderful good there because there’s a wonderful concentration of creativity and life, but there’s also a little bit evil there, because a lot of sin gets piled on top of sin.
And I think anxiety is something that happens when we stop looking at the givenness of things and stop looking at the fact that they are gifts created by God and begin to think of ourselves as the architects or the controllers or the creators. And of course, with a screen, we literally do that. We talk about people being content creators or whatever. And we think about ourselves as consuming things which are entirely created by either us for money or other people in the form of what we consume on our newsfeeds or social media or whatever.
And I think both of those things are at risk of making human beings and our agendas the center of our consciousness, whereas a tree and a child are both very given and that doesn’t mean that they’re always happy. I mean, having three children, I don’t feel like children are always making me go, “Yeah, nothing to worry about here.”
But strangely, when I’m talking to a child, I don’t feel the same sense of anxiety, because I see there’s an innocence and a givenness this there that is able to shake me out of that and actually say, “There’s something more fundamental about the world represented in a tree or a child than there is represented in a screen or a bank transfer.” And I have to keep hearing that ,and I have to keep encountering in them again and again. And I don’t think there’s a coincidence that Jesus came into the world at a time when he could continually say, “Look at that animal, look at this thing, look at, like a sheep.” I think there is something… I’m not Wendell Berry, I’m not like we need to all strip away all signs of the industrial society or whatever to live happier, richer lives. Maybe, but I think there is nevertheless, something very natural in the best sense, very created about things like that, which can lift my eyes from the things I would otherwise be concerned about.
And in a world where I spend… Right now, I’m talking to you on a screen and I’m doing things, I’m at a workplace where I make money. So I’ve got to work harder than average to interact with the givenness of things, if I can call it that.
Collin Hansen: Andrew, last question on your book before we turn to the final three, and you make much of the upside-down nature of God’s kingdom exemplified in the death of Jesus. And you write this: “The fulfillment of this vision comes at the cross. Rome, the most powerful military force the world has yet seen, gathers a battalion of soldiers to inspect Israel’s King. They’re armed, he is stripped. They come with swords and spears. He comes in nothing but the name of the Lord God. They are horns. He is a craftsman. They carry the most advanced weapons available. He is carrying the ordinary carpenter’s tools he grew up with nails, hammers, planks of wood.”
It still seems, Andrew, that many of us, especially in the United States, would prefer the Roman way. How do we wean ourselves off the kingdoms of this world for the kingdom of the cross?
Andrew Wilson: So basically, evangelism in two minutes and then Christian discipleship in two minutes. Oh man, I’m not sure I’m the best person to answer this question. I will say this, I had a really good, on another podcast with some friends of mine on Mere Fidelity], where my friend, Matt Anderson, who I think you know as well, was talking about the power of… I can’t even remember if he used this phrase, but what I picked up from it was, of losing happily or losing cheerfully. Basically being able to not feel like I’ve got to go down fighting, but actually being able to say, “I’m going to have power taken away from me and be cheerful about it because I know that that’s the way of the cross.”
And I think that the real challenge is that particularly when, and you and I are probably very similar in age, I expect similar in culture, and basically if you what’s a form of pyramid of human history with who’s got the most cultural power and financial and economic wellbeing. We’re not at the top, but we’re fairly near it and relative, we’re not Jeff Bezos or Barack Obama, but we’re pretty near in a global scale.
And I think for us, even to read Gospels that are written to and for people who are at the opposite end of that pyramid and find that the joy, the people who really hear the message of Jesus in every generation are often the ones who are much closer to the bottom of that pyramid, and it’s the ones nearer the top who worry about it and are concerned about what it might mean for their livelihoods. I think we have to get used to or have to learn how to move down that pyramid in whatever way. It might just be something as little as social stigma or no longer getting the best jobs or promotions or being allowed to say quite what we really think.
I’m not saying those things are for the common good, but I think they might be for my good, in a way, in that they might humble me and force me to see myself more as… On which side of Mary’s Magnificat are you? Are you the person who goes, “He has thrown down the mighty from their seat,” and you wince, or are you the person who says, “Praise God, he has exalted the humble and meek”?
And I think until we’re the ones who are clearly resonating with the second half, rather than the first half of that line, I think there’s always going to be some of the power of Rome and that sort of way of doing warfare that we’re going to be attracted to. And I think that’s not just an American problem, by the way, we definitely have that in the UK as well. And I think that’s one of the things God is doing in this generation, I suspect, is humbling some of us, and there are all sorts of downsides to that and dangerous of it as well for the rest of society. But I think for many of us, it may actually be a very good thing.
Collin Hansen: My guest has been Andrew Wilson, author of God of All Things: Rediscovering the Sacred in an Everyday World, from Zondervan. Andrew, final three. What is the last great book you read?
Andrew Wilson: Oh my goodness. I read one, I finished Leo Tolstoy’s Of Man and Master, this morning. It’s only 50 pages, but it is just so, so good. It’s just the most incredible story. That makes me sound like I’m reading Tolstoy all the time, I’m not, but I happened to be this morning and it was just epic.
Collin Hansen: Well, you chose the shorter of Tolstoy. That was a wise decision. What prompted you to pick up that book?
Andrew Wilson: In some ways I cheated. I’m reading a book called A Walk In the Pond In the Rain, by George Saunders, who is a Booker Prize winner who has written a book about how to write, and he’s incorporated seven Russian short stories in it and then talked about how these guys do tell the stories. And one of those stories is Tolstoy’s Of Man and Master, or Of Master and Man. To be honest, it’s so recent I’ve even forgotten which way round it goes. But it’s so great, and then he talks about how Tolstoy’s craft works and encourages us to learn from it.
Collin Hansen: I like it. Andrew, what brings you calm in the storm?
Andrew Wilson: There’s lots of theological answers, but I think a lot of the time I know that just going for a walk. Outside of lockdown, I’d say, sitting in a coffee shop, reading a book with a pen and a pad. We’re still locked down in Eastbourne, so I can’t go and sit in a coffee shop, but even then, I think going for a walk. And that is actually related to the point I made about trees and children. I do think just being outside is a gift of the grace of God to me. Obviously there’s all the spiritual answers, reading scripture. Those things are all true as well but I do find just being outside is massive for me.
Collin Hansen: And where do you find good news today?
Andrew Wilson: Again, lots of obvious theological answers. I scour the web and newsfeeds for positive stories ,and I’ve basically become quite self-selecting when it comes to the people I follow and engage with online. So actually, although you do get bad news on Twitter and you get kerfuffles on it, Twitter is my main portal for that kind of thing, but I’ve curated it quite carefully. So I mean, you qualify, Colin, for what it’s worth, but a lot of people online don’t. And so I’m really trying… And even with news, I think I’m quite careful about where I read news. And unfortunately, that means I’m always reading optimistic things about what’s going to happen with COVID and vaccines and everything rather than the doom-mongering, which means I actually believe the optimistic stuff. I think I’m wired that way.
But yeah, there’s obviously again, the right spiritual answers, but I do practically find that literally the news I consume is generally positive leaning because of the way I’ve curated it.
Collin Hansen: Well, you have to go looking for positive news, the negative news will find you. So I appreciate that and as somebody who works in that business, I’m the same way. Then again, negative news finds me, I got to go looking for the positive stuff. My guest on Gospelbound has been Andrew Wilson. Check out his book, God of All Things: Rediscovering the Sacred in an Everyday World, from Zondervan. Andrew, thanks for joining me.
Andrew Wilson: Thanks so much for having me.
This episode of Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of Being the Bad Guy by Stephen McAlpine. The church used to be recognized as a force for good, but this is changing rapidly. Author Stephen McAlpine offers an analysis of how our culture ended up this way and encourages Christians not to be ashamed of the gospel as it is more liberating, fulfilling and joyful than anything the world has to offer. More information at thegoodbook.com.