Eat, Pray, Love. No, Really.

15 Jun


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.

United Methodist General Conference 2012

 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 and see how Zion UCC and the United Church of Christ are eating, praying, and loving.


Posted by on June 15, 2012 in Blogging With Jane


9 responses to “Eat, Pray, Love. No, Really.

  1. John Helt

    June 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm


    I would not have accused your earlier blog-version (“bloversion”??) of narcissism.
    But injecting this trinitarian structure seems like another good idea.

    I have this Margaret Helt twin in my congregation, Inez Grade, whose birthday is two days after Mom’s. I just saw her in the hospital and she joked that she was a perfect 97: 97 years old and 97 pounds.

    John Helt

    • janewillan

      June 15, 2012 at 8:50 pm

      John, you are lucky to have a Margaret “twin”! she is very missed. thanks for readingthe blog!

  2. Peggy

    June 15, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    I LOVE this – and I didn’t read the book, but I love Julia Roberts and I loved the movie. It was part of a critical turning point for me – and moved me through a period of introversion. It helped me (sort of) (begin to) find myself again. I hadn’t had time to REALLY focus on it – so, it’s perfect timing for me Jane….that this is your new theme. I will look forward to it!! It’s what I need – to sustain me through my change. I also look forward to how GOD guides me to — learning how to eat, pray and love… be continued….

    • janewillan

      June 15, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      I am excited to see where God leads you! I am sooooo glad you are at Zion! I keep hearing more and more positive raves about Sunday!

  3. Lisa Mauer

    June 16, 2012 at 10:48 am

    I think you’ve got a good theme here Jane! Your humor is refreshing!

  4. Rich Pleva

    June 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I’m a bit late…..but I’m waiting with bated breath to see where this takes you, Jane! Keep up the good work!

  5. janewillan

    June 27, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Thanks Rich! Are you writing from the tundra or are you home?


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