God Comes to Earth to Converse with Humans
Chats with God in Underwear – Eduardo Chapunoff (2019)
What a weird little book! Recently, I received a request from this author to review his book, Chats with God in Underwear (translated from the Spanish, “Charlas con Dios en Calzoncillos”), explaining its themes and topics. I was told this book concerned a trip that God makes to Earth, and his thoughtful conversations with the people he meets. I was immediately intrigued, especially after I saw that the author is an eminent cardiologist and prominent member of some very serious medical boards. There are not too many cardiologists out there writing books exploring the nature of man, death, the Universe, and its creator.
This was a quick and lively read. The book is structured almost like a screenplay or stage play, consisting mainly of dialogue between God (who goes by the name Rogelio), and John, a man he meets upon arriving on the shores of Brazil unharmed in the middle of a hurricane. John takes Rogelio to his beach-side home, where he is informed that Rogelio is God, and that he is interested in talking to learned people of various faiths, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, and Agnostic.
The story proceeds to detail the various conversations that God/Rogelio engages in, each of them polite, but intense questions regarding their faith, their specific beliefs, and the way they view the Divine, without avoiding the pain and horror that humans suffer through and must come to grips with if they chose to believe in an all-powerful, all-good deity. No one but John is aware of the fact that Rogelio is God, although they react to him in a way that lets you know they can sense his innate goodness and kindness.
These conversations are great, and likely the type of self-analysis that many devout people do regularly, as they try to understand their god, their beliefs, and how it all applies to the world around us, so full of evil and pain and hate. Many of the people that God interacts with admit as much.
There are sections of this book where the author goes into the personal life of John, and his marital troubles, children troubles, etc. God/Rogelio offers advice to help John in these matters, even though John is not very receptive to it. Several asides are included which try to show the relationship John has with his three children and they are not very successful, apart from being plot devices that allow God and John to continue their conversations. I would have preferred that these sections were omitted.
Other than that quibble, I really enjoyed reading this, and seeing how Chapunoff imagines God would interact with the humans he meets. Many of the questions that God poses to the people he meets are things that all of us should think about, especially the religious among us, for they can help us understand the complexity and mystery that is the world we live in, and our daily existence. Very cool stuff.
(This book can be purchased (Kindle Edition) here: https://www.amazon.com/CHATS-GOD-UNDERWEAR-Eduardo-Chapunoff-ebook/dp/B07RD8Q4YM )