There is great value in this book, and the first section is far and away my favorite. It that, Piper brings in some quotes from great thinkers alongside the challenge of remaining childlike (not childish) in our thinking. In this, I believe there is a genuine challenge to curiosity even for the most stymied among us. My favorite Piper quote in the entire book is in this section: “Godly curiosity keeps us from becoming simplistic legalists who just label everything as either good or bad.” This approach toward a more contemplative life view is alive throughout the text. It invites perspectives unlike your own, a message so critically needed at this moment in history, it alone prompts the reading of this book.
Not wishing to stay too far in the stratosphere, Piper gets practical. This almost seems anticlimactic to me. Where he spends so much time (successfully) creating a vision of what it means to be curious, escaping the shackles of adult doldrums, he seems to pare away the lofty vision and try to make it easier.
There is value in this section too. Some of the best parenting advice I have ever received is in there. Yet, some of the concepts which hooked me so completely, in the beginning, are there as well, admittedly hard. A glimmer of the child in me who hoped to come out no longer so hopeful. We are back to being adults. We even come to a point that I find a little sad toward the end: “Curious people create more, find better solutions to problems, overcome challenges, meet needs that arise, make connections, and prepare better for the future.” Sure, it’s really adult. But I think back to an earlier point in the book where Piper talks about guarding your childlike curiosity against the cycle of adulthood which trains it out of you, and it seems we have leashed the wild thing to put on display in a zoo after all.
But some of this is effective. We must live in the actual world, after all. Piper does come to and from a point which Dallas Willard discussed in, “Spirit of the Disciplines,” that the lines of the secular and the sacred can be blurred to create something which is just life. This was refreshing to find near the end. “By pursuing godly curiosity in all of life, Christians bring bits of heaven to earth.” This is the best that could be said of any of us.