The book Eat, Pray, Love is one of those books that everyone gives as a gift to their minister–especially (or perhaps, only if) their minister is a woman. I received two copies when it was published in 2007. Although I appreciate any and all gifts from parishioners –people kind enough to think about me long enough to choose, buy, and wrap– I never could read the book. It struck me as 364 pages of self-absorbed, neurotic rant. My apologies to anyone who loved the book and according to Facebook, it has been “liked” about a million more times than my blog has been “liked” (fact, not hyperbole).
However, as much as the the book annoyed me, it did have one truly outstanding, compelling feature– its title. I love a good title and the title of Gilbert’s book is awesome. Eat. Pray. Love. Sustenance. Communication with the divine. Relationship with others. The three word title describes the experience of the Church. Are we not a community who spends our time in the state of eat, pray, love? And how about Jesus? I challenge you to find a single page in the Gospels that doesn’t have Jesus eating, praying, or loving.
Eat, pray, love. I like it. I like it so much I am changing the focus of my blog. You may have noticed (all 17 of my loyal readers) that my blog lacks a little focus. Every book on blogging (I’ve read 2) and all the blogs on blogging (many more than 2) insist that a blog needs focus or it fizzles. Or becomes a self-absorbed rant. You might agree that I fluctuate between the two.
Consequently, in an effort to fight entropy (scientific word for “fizzle”) and self absorption(my natural inclination): I am re-theming (new word) my blog. I am calling my blog Eat, Pray, Love. I know what you are thinking–a shameless theft of title. Actually, it isn’t theft at all (I say this to answer my colleagues who want to know why I can title my blog with someone else’s title). There is no copyright on titles. Interested on what you can take off the internet and call yours even when it really isn’t? Here is a copyright link for you.
So how will my new blog format work? Like this: on Mondays I will blog on “eat”. In other words, all things related to the physical–healthy living, good stewardship of our physical world, all and everything related to how a life of faith might inform our physical health (eating, exercise, whole foods, consumer awareness, etc). For example, if today were Monday, I might write about the newly established Coffee Hour at Zion church. Why does food brings us together as a community? I might take a look at the fact that the rate of obesity among Protestant ministers is rising at alarming rates. Are the reasons for clergy obesity different from the reasons our whole society is getting heavier and heavier? As churches could we engage in more fellowship with fewer calories? If we concentrated on physical health, would it improve our ability to do good in God’s world?
On Wednesdays, I’ll blog on “Pray”. In other words, all things spiritual and religious (I don’t separate the two as if they were dipolar atoms)– reflections on scripture, preaching, radical hospitality (a little tired of that term, but it does still have a ring to it, doesnt it?), why I do what I do at the church. For example, if today were Wednesday, I might write about the disconnect between what the clergy say about inclusivity (all people welcome all the time) and what we actually do (establish socially acceptable barriers based on gender identity, disability, and socioeconomic class).
On Fridays, my topic will be “Love.” In other words, relationship within the Church. For example, I might blog about the mega-committees of the Church– the Annual Meeting of the UCC or the Methodist General Conference.
I might ask the question, would Jesus be a voting delegate at the UCC Annual meeting or would he just ask for voice without vote? Or would he spend the whole business meeting sitting outside at the cafe drinking coffee with friends? I might blog about the argument that our big denominational meetings do not really promote relationship. Some might even say (not me, necessarily) that they can destroy it.
My Eat, Pray, Love theme will always be a reflection of my love of the Burlington, Iowa congregation, Zion UCC and my passion for the United Church of Christ. Eat, Pray, Love will have an undercurrent of social justice, an embrace of the perils and joys of a life following Jesus, and an ongoing expression of my tumultuous love affair with the Church Universal.
Mostly, I will do my best to keep it free of self-absorbed rant. See you Monday!
Log on to bloggingwithJane.wordpress.com and see how Zion UCC and the United Church of Christ are eating, praying, and loving.