Sunday, February 20, 2022

Hunting Magic Eels by Richard Beck

Beck believes Western civilization has been moving from an enchanted world toward a secular, scientific, skeptical and disenchanted world. (284/334) God is everywhere but we don't see it. “This pervasive disenchantment, which affects Christians as much as nonbelievers, poses the single greatest threat to faith and the church in our post-Christian world.” (19/334) He wants us to reclaim our ability to see God everywhere. That requires retraining ourselves.

I found many thought provoking concepts in Beck's book. One was his exploration of how science has changed how we perceive our world, as a machine. Another was the impact of the Reformation in eliminating visual cues of God's presence. He also explores the shift of Christian emphasis from mystic to moral. He explores religious experiences, noting the characteristics. He explains how we can journey toward enchantment by reconnecting with some ancient Christian traditions. He also explores the liturgical, contemplative, charismatic and Celtic ways of spirituality.

Beck calls us to a more mystical and experiential Christianity. He also distinguishes the contemporary immanent enchantment from that of the Christian transcendent enchantment. Pursuing God will not lead to to a cozy place with scented candles. “God's enchantment will take you to places where you have to deal with your gag reflex.” (319/334) God's enchantment draws us to self-giving love and points us to the cross.

I think Beck is on to something very essential to the modern church. I highly recommend this thought provoking book to Christian leaders and lay people alike.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Richard Beck (PhD) is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Abilene Christian University. During his teaching career, Richard has been honored twice as ACU Teacher of the Year. Richard has also been recognized as Honors Teacher of the Year and has won the College of Arts and Sciences Classroom Teaching award and Faith Integration award. Outside of the classroom, Richard travels the world as a sought after speaker and an award-winning blogger and author. You can follow his blog at

Broadleaf Books, 250 pages.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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