Surprises are, in their effect and regardless of content, instruments of wonder and spirit. A surprise lifts aliveness toward consciousness, where it does not (and cannot) permanently reside. There are many reasons to read literature, of course. One very good reason to read literature is to be surprised. In reading, we perform the nearly oxymoronic feat of seeking surprise.
I think one of the more heartbreaking elements of how people read the Bible, is that they're not open to being surprised by it. If only we might more often read with that expectation!
I also like this quote from the essay (all of which is worth reading):
Had my brain been hooked up to the kind of imaging system that is so prevalent and authoritative in our time, I’m certain that some small, desiccated region of my cognitive complex would have glowed like billowed coal. This is the region that handles poetry, metaphor. The region that is in charge of reconciling the irreconcilable, the tiny, underdeveloped region whose impossible job it is to remember the terms of human existence.
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