Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert...on Oprah yesterday

I don't watch Oprah very much.

Firstly, because the kids don't like her, and secondly, because I disagree with her so much. I watched the first half of her show yesterday, and once again, I was in disagreement.

She had a guest author, Elizabeth Gilbert, on the set. She is the author of Eat, Pray, Love. I've never read the book, so I am speaking about this just from watching the show yesterday. I was disturbed by what I saw!

The entire audience was filled with women who had read the book. There were several that had been videotaped, telling of how the book transformed their life.

It seemed like this book is all about reclaiming yourself and making yourself and your happiness your number one priority. As I watched, it seemed that this book was giving you the okay to be selfish. Someone even brought that up and asked do I do this and not be selfish? Gilbert's response was...If it is beneficial for you, than it is not selfish, if it is greedy or cruel, then it is selfish.

I have an issue with this. The definition of selfish says:

devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own
interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

I'm not saying that Oprah was telling everyone to not be concerned with other people's welfare...but there are a lot of things that might be very beneficial to you that are completely and utterly self-centered.

Is this what the Bible teaches? That as long as you are benefiting from something, then you are not being selfish?

The next issue I had, was about how people were "finding God". There was no mention of Christ (not surprising) and a lot about meditation. I have no problem with meditating in God's word...but I do have a lot of problems when people are being misguided and think that they are "finding God" because they made an ashram in their bathroom or began a spiritual journey in India.

I found this quote most disturbing: (Gilbert was asked how she defines God)

"The perfection that absorbs," she says. "It is the perfectness of the universe which can bring you into that state where you are absorbed in that perfection, then you will know it. … I was absorbed in that perfection for a brief, glorious moment, and I knew something in that."

Is this how you would Biblically define God?

It is obvious that you can be spiritual and not be filled with THE Spirit.

I am saddened that Oprah has such a following of women that raise her up and take her word to heart more then they do their own pastors. These are women like me...that stay at home raising their families and don't even realize that she teaches a different gospel.

Should we also be most concerned with our happiness? If we don't feel completely fulfilled and happy in our marriage...does this mean it is okay to get divorced? I can't even tell you how many women on yesterday's show were single moms or single divorcee's who made that life change because they weren't happy and hadn't yet found their 'soulmate'.

This seems to be what is preached from today's culture. It is all about us. If we aren't happy, then we need to make some changes to get happy. And it's so wrong. Our fulfillment does not come from our spouse or our children. It comes from knowing that we are here to bring glory to our Creator.

God is glorified not only by His glory's being seen, but by its being rejoiced in. When those that see it delight in it, God is more glorified than if they only see it.... He that testifies his idea of God's glory [does not] glorify God so much as he testifies also his approbation of it and his delight in it.

Jonathan Edwards


Dana said...

... and thank you so much! I totally agree with you. My boyfriend and I were watching the show last night and the whole time we've asked (the television) "where is Jesus, Christ, the one who saves us?" And then to top it all off, they called that book "the bible for women". I'm sorry, but there's only one bible and if you need answers you should read that one, not take advice from another human being who obviously mistakes "that light" with God.

Oprah's Things said...

I do you see your points. I think the general takeway is that in order to give more of what we have, we have to make sure that we give to ourself first. Is this selfish, who knows. If you are not taking car eof yourself, how can you take care of others?

W&MGrad said...

I actually just finished this book last night and, well, the book pretty much lives up to her appearance on Oprah! I think I described Ms. Gilbert as a "raging narcissist."

One of my core beliefs is that spiritually (Christianity, in my case), is selfless, not selfish. Ms. Gilbert seems to have that turned around.

Shannon said...

I do think that there is a difference between taking care of yourself and what was described on the show. I take care of myself every day, but I am not leaving my kids for a month to go run a marathon or go on a trip.

I don't think it's wrong to get that time away, but I think the motive behind Gilbert's book is much more centered on self.

Thanks for your comments!

memebee2 said...

You know I was reading these comments about this book and I too feel a need to comment....I could not help but notice the peace that surrounded each and every person, and I also noticed this same thing the first time that Ms Gilbert was on the Oprah Show previously. At that time I was drawn to the reflection of complete peace. I know how today so many are searching and I also noticed that many felt the "power of the spirit.." why is it that we have to specifically say the "Holy Spirit" in order to be on a path of "christianity"? There was also an atheist on the show and agnostic who also found her way to Christ. You know the Bible says God can use anybody.....Instead of always looking for something to be wrong let us always look to the good....and ability we have internally to help ourseslves and then others................
There was nothing slanderous, vulgar, chaotic about this book/show/interview........ Please
in this restless world we live in, please take time to see and seek the good...........

roark said...

:)isn't the fruit of the Spirit love, joy, PEACE? Read this book, you'll understand what that Peace is that Gilbert speaks abt...has nothing ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with being selfish or not. It's a journey...that bathroom or the ashram cld've been her 'dark night of the soul'- her desert. If you haven't read the book and everything Gilbert goes thru, then, how can u even judge her?! Speaking of Christianity...on what basis do you cast that stone?! I'm a CHRISTIAN & this book gave me a renewed courage to 'believe without seeing'...I found it during the most difficult time in my walk with the Lord & before Oprah spoke abt it. I believe that God hasn't given up on us...He still sends books that shine a light on our contemporary world...Gilbert's is among the hundred & more 'hand of God books' (see Og Mandino's 'Greatest Miracle in the World' if u wanna argue abt this)in this world. Thank You Liz for writing Eat, Pray, Love and thank you Lord for the blessing of this book!

Kelsey said...

Seriously-- I don't understand why anyone would think of this book as simply a "selfish" account of Elizabeth Gilbert. After being completely unhappy in her own divorce, she had no other ties holding her back from traveling the world. She does NOT advocate leaving a family or responsibilities behind in order to "find yourself". So just because you may be perfectly happy with sitting at home with spaghetti-o's in your hair, don't degrade someone for going for what they want in life as well.