Hunting Magic Eels

Recovering an Enchanted Faith in a Skeptical Age

Hunting Magic Eels

Recovering an Enchanted Faith in a Skeptical Age

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We live in a secular age, a world dominated by science and technology. Increasing numbers of us don't believe in God anymore. We don't expect miracles. We've grown up and left those fairy tales behind, culturally and personally.

Yet five hundred years ago the world was very much enchanted. It was a world where God existed and the devil was real. It was a world full of angels and demons. It was a world of holy wells and magical eels. But since the Protestant Reformation and the beginning of the Enlightenment, the world--in the West, at least--has become increasingly disenchanted.

While this might be taken as evidence of a crisis of belief, Richard Beck argues that it's actually a crisis of attention. God hasn't gone anywhere, but we've lost our capacity to see God.

The rising tide of disenchantment has profoundly changed our religious imaginations and led to a loss of the holy expectation that we can be interrupted by the sacred and divine. But it doesn't have to be this way. Hunting Magic Eels shows us that with attention and an intentional, cultivated capacity to experience God as a living, vital presence in our lives, we can cultivate an enchanted faith in a skeptical age. This new paperback edition includes a foreword from Sean Palmer as well as four new, additional chapters, including "Why Good People Need God," "Live Your Beautiful Life," and "The Primacy of the Invisible."


"For us late modern people, who often feel like we've outgrown the meaning systems that claim that people, places, and even things can draw us into transcendence, Richard Beck invites us back. Not necessarily to return to the old superstitions but to rediscover, maybe for the first time, that all around us the finite participates in the infinite."

Andrew Root, professor at Luther Seminary and author of The Pastor in a Secular Age and The Congregation in a Secular Age

"What Richard Beck has done in Hunting Magic Eels has lit my soul on fire! What a refreshing reminder that we can never be without God--we just lack the vision to see God's presence moving among us. I'm paying attention now! I don't want to miss out on any more than I already have."

Julia Speck Attalla, director of Professional Doctoral Programs, Fuller Theological Seminary

"In Hunting Magic Eels, Richard Beck challenges us to see enchantment as a matter of attention, a matter of where we point our mind and heart. Recovering sacramental wonder--recovering enchantment--is about paying attention to love, grace, and the presence of God everywhere. This is one of the most important books I have read in a very long time, and one that everyone should read."

Graham Joseph Hill, principal of Stirling Theological College and author of Holding Up Half the Sky

"Richard Beck's ability to put complex ideas into simple, accessible terms is a gift to the world. Beck diagnoses the spiritual malaise that all of us in the Western world feel with precision and hope. This may be his most important book yet."

Jonathan Storment, Preaching Minister at Pleasant Valley Church of Christ and author of How to Start a Riot: Support Your Local Jesus Revolution

"In Hunting Magic Eels, Richard Beck serves as a trail guide on a journey of re-enchantment, through territory simultaneously familiar and surprising. Along the way, he trains us in holy recognition of the God who is present everywhere and in everything, for those who have eyes to see."

Naomi Walters, Chair of the Department of Theology and Ministry, Rochester University

"With a counselor's care and a prophet's fire, Richard Beck invites us to pay attention to the holy ground right under our feet. In doing so he offers us a powerful antidote to the poison of our secular age: the presence of the crucified and risen Christ, breathing on our dry bones and calling them to live again."

Kevin Makins, founding pastor of Eucharist Church and author of Why Would Anyone Go to Church?

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506487670
  • eBook ISBN 9798889831648
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 301
  • Publication Date January 2, 2024