Eat, Pray and Love: Thoughts on God


My recent trip to Europe afforded me the opportunity to read about five books that I’ve had beside my bed this year awaiting a free moment to engage them. One of the books I most enjoyed, perhaps one of my favorite books in a while, is Eat, Pray Loveby Elizabeth Gilbert. The book is a travel journal of sorts and is the story of one thirtyish woman’s attempt at rebuilding her life while traveling around Italy, India, and Indonesia. Every page is a delight, and I found myself laughing aloud on the planes and trains as I read of her journey. She is somewhat irrevent like Anne Lammott, and she writes about her developing faith in an honest and inclusive way that may offend some readers who are searching for a more mature Christian faith. Her faith is one of seeking, and the reader senses that she has just begun this journey. But if premarital sex and “all religions are the way to God” deeply offends you, then this book probably isn’t for you. But if you can read the book as the account of a journey towards maturity, then this book can be read for the delight that it is.

For a few days, I want to share some of my favorite quotes from the book. Today, her thoughts on God:

“I have always responded with breathless excitement to anyone who has ever said that God does not live in a dogmatic scripture or in a distant throne in the sky, but instead abides very close to us indeed — much closer than we can imagine, breathing right through our own hearts. I responded with gratitude to anyone who has ever voyaged to the center of that heart, and who has then returned to the world with a report for the rest of us that God is an experience of supreme love. In every religious tradition on earth, there have always been mystical saints and transcendents who report exectly this experience. Unfortunately many of them have ended up arrested and killed.

In the end, what I have come to believe about God is simple … When the question is raised, “What kind of God do you believe in?” My answer is easy: “I believe in a magnificent God.”

Gilbert demonstrates in this quote the longing of Generation X and the Millennials for a God who is personal but yet mysterious, a God who can be known but whose ways are beyond our knowing. This is exactly the God Paul says is revealed in Jesus Christ. Still a mystery, but becoming known to us in the love of Jesus. In the past several years, Christians are doing better at presenting the grace of God to the world. Now if could only admit that God is larger than our understanding of God.

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