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How Big Is Your God?: The Freedom to Experience the Divine [Kindle Edition]

Paul Coutinho SJ , Father Richard Rohr OFM
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Do you have a real relationship with God, or do you just have a religion? Do you know God, or do you just know about God? In How Big Is Your God? Paul Coutinho, SJ, challenges us to grow stronger and deeper in our faith and in our relationship with God—a God whose love knows no bounds. To help us on our way, Coutinho introduces us to people in various world religions—from Hindu friends to Buddhist teachers to St. Ignatius of Loyola—who have shaped his spiritual life and made possible his deep, personal relationship with God.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Coutinho, a Jesuit priest who has lived much of his life in India, once was told by a theology teacher at an American university that he was a heretic. He had merely posed a what if, asking what the man would do if scripture scholars should determine that Jesus never existed as a historical figure. The teacher said he would have to abandon his work as a priest because he could never base his life on a myth, but Coutinho countered that he would still die for the myth. Conversant with India's Hindu and Buddhist traditions, Coutinho effectively uses this story to illustrate the differences between the Western and Eastern understandings of truth (one, he writes, sees truth as a set of beliefs while the other views it as an experience). Throughout this volume of short essays, Coutinho draws on Eastern religious traditions, blending them with his own Catholic practice to challenge and deepen readers' understandings of God. Besides asking questions like Can you be religious without knowing God? and Are you running for fun or for your life? he offers practical advice as well, including a PQR (Pause Question Respond) formula for handling difficult situations and BAD (Basement Attic Disposal) days for helping Westerners get rid of consuming possessions. Readers who favor spirituality over religion will most enjoy this book. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book Description

Deepen your experience of God by moving from religion to relationship.

Paul Coutinho, SJ, is an Indian Jesuit priest with a genial sense of humor and a penchant for asking deeply thought-provoking spiritual questions: Do you have a real relationship with God, or do you just have a religion? Do you know God, or do you just know about God? Do you worry about the smallest things, or do you trust God to help you through even the biggest things? Have you ever considered believing in a God without limits, a God powerful enough to enable you to think, love, and live differently?
In How Big Is Your God? Fr. Coutinho challenges us to grow stronger and deeper in our faith by embracing a God whose love knows no bounds. To help us on our way, Coutinho introduces us to his Hindu friends who put him on the path to mysticism; to his Buddhist teachers who broke open his limited views of the divine; to Viktor Frankl, Desmond Tutu, and other enlightened guides who led him to a far more meaningful spiritual life; and to St. Ignatius of Loyola, whose Spiritual Exercises continue to shape his reflection and prayer life.
Each short chapter in this book will draw readers with an open mind and a longing heart into a closer relationship with God and will encourage them to experience the infinite breadth of God in a deeply personal way.

Product Details

  • File Size: 945 KB
  • Print Length: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Loyola Press; Har/DVD edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001T4YTNU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,565 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Bis Is Your God? October 27, 2007
Fr. Coutinho, a Jesuit priest from India, gives us different way of deepening our relationship with God. His joining of East and West in how we perceive God is creative and will open our minds and hearts to start a deeper journey towards God. This book is not for the narrow-minded. St Teresa of Avila once said, "Lord, spare me from sour-faced saints". If one is of this ilk, he/she will neither enjoy the book nor be spiritually transformed. My wife, a Catholic school principal, has purchased several copies to give as gifts to her teachers, several of whom are conservative, but not rigid. The chapters are short and to the point, with many practical helps on how one should grow closer to God. As a convert to Catholicism, this book answered many of my concerns about my relationship with God. A must read.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Played havoc with my day -- but worth it November 25, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book played havoc with my day -- and incredibly enriched my life! When I picked up my new copy it was to just fill 15 spare minutes. But I finished it in one sitting. Can't recall when that's ever happened before. What an incredible journey! I am almost breathless, and yet so full of energy. What's a half day balanced against the rest of a life? This book is both challenging and affirming. More than that, it's so encouraging and insightful. And the little stories -- I am going to steal every last one of them if only I can recall them in the right circumstances. Heck, if I remember only one just once in my life, the world will be better for it. As I turned the pages I found myself making a list of family and friends with whom I have to share this book. Thank you, Paul Coutinho.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Breath of God November 4, 2007
By Angel
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Jesus taught us by telling stories. Paul Coutinho does the same in this wonderful book. The brief chapters are understandable and thought provoking-perfect for daily or weekly reflection. I look forward to reading How Big Is Your God over and over again. It is good to be reminded that we are the breath of God.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing reintroduction to God October 1, 2007
By Lisa
Coutinho has given his readers a great gift, that of introducing us to a God that we don't often allow ourselves to experience, a God of limitless compassion and unconditional love. How refreshing it is as a Catholic to be invited to forgive myself and "not sweat the small stuff" because God's love for me knows no bounds. He doesn't suggest that we throw caution to the wind and live as we please with no regard for others. On the contrary, he challenges us to move through our acts of charity to become compassionate people, living lives rich in experiences of divine wonder and "infinite possibilities" that are only possible for people whose God is "big". Rather than just knowing about God and remaining with our own limited ideas of God, Coutinho encourages us to deepen our relationship with God by living each day experiencing God in all of God's wonderful disguises. He introduces us to Eastern mystics and teachers, fathers of psychology, and everyday people who have done just that, and he does it in such a way that makes us wonder why we hadn't thought of it before.

The format for the book is ideal - a collection of short one- to two-page stories and thought-provokers that beautifully demonstrate his ideas. He has a delightful sense of humor that is evident throughout the book; no doubt you'll want to read it straight through at least once. (It's hard to put down!) But the real beauty of it is that you can open to any chapter at any time and be challenged to rethink your ideas of faith and of God. You may not be able to determine answers for yourself, but as Coutinho would suggest, it is not in the answers but in the questioning that your relationship with God will grow.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dare to think outside the box. October 1, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Paul Coutinho has written a book that is a must for my spiritual library. It is not a book that I would just read once. It is a book that I can use for meditation and inspiration. I now have a better understanding of the eastern approach to God. My narrow approach to Christianity has been expanded and I could never go back.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking Book April 26, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I recommend this book to anyone looking to integrate their understanding of Eastern Spirituality with Western Christianity. No dogmatic, syrupy sermons here: this book is a delightful mix of theology and "out of the box thinking." Fr. Coutinho reminds us that we are each a sacred expression of God. His wonderful stories make the message come alive. I'm a recovering Catholic with eight years of parochial school training. Fr. Coutinho has re-awakened my interest in the religion I abandoned years ago.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Life Changing Book About Spirituality October 24, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Fr Paul Countinho's work will be a classic. This book won the 2007 Eric Hoffer Award given to the best independently (by Loyola Press) published book in America. I wish I had a thousand copies of this book to give away to the poor who cannot afford to buy it. I personally have already given away a dozen copies. It is that wonderful and good.

My mind was beyond comprehension at the God that Fr. Paul describes. So big, so majestic, so filled with the depths of love that most of us cannot imagine. God truly loves us as humans and asks only for our love of him in return. A small idea - but executed in a stupendous Star Wars, overwhelming life-shaking way.

Fr Paul has a very engaging wit and terrific condensed writing style. Every 2-4 page chapter just bristles with insightful content and wisdom. This goes far beyond C.S. Lewis or Thomas Merton into a living, breathing almost mystical sense of God's overwhelming infinite love. Definitely one of the best books of my life.
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More About the Author

Fr. Paul Coutinho, SJ, is an internationally recognized Ignatian scholar, author, and speaker who brings an Eastern flavor to Western spirituality. A native of India and a Jesuit from the Bombay province, he frequently leads retreats, gives spiritual direction, and trains people to lead the Spiritual Exercises. Coutinho currently creates and runs programs in Ignatian identity and mission for Saint Louis University's Mission and Ministry office, he is the editor of Ignis--the South Asian Ignatian spirituality journal--and also shares his gifts as the director of Ignatian Spirituality Programs for South Asia. He resides in St. Louis and divides his time between India and the United States.


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