It seems pretty obvious that my first post here would have to do with embodiment. That is, after all, a large part of why I started Wholly Good. But, it's also important to me because, well, it matters. Our bodies and the way we live as embodied people matter. Not just to us as individuals, but also to God. And, really, they should matter to each other as well -- after all, the way we view the goodness of others as whole people is an important part of who we each are as divine image bearers. Our embodied nature is not an individual thing, but a communal one.
I have to admit, it is a bit intimidating to begin blogging on something that I wrote an entire dissertation on...especially when that work felt like it didn't even begin to scratch the surface on this topic (and to be clear, it didn't). And yet, I feel the need, the desire, the draw to write. I write because this is something I feel I was made to do. I write because I'm continually in awe of the ways the work I'm doing is influencing and affecting the lives of others. I write because there has been far too much negativity in Western Christian culture around our bodies and I want to help spread the word that God actually loves our whole selves - body, mind, and spirit. God does not view our bodies as problems to be dealt with or only good for hosting our minds or hearts. God created us as whole people, who more fully image who God is when we embrace and live into the whole and good selves God created us to be.
So, with that, I want to begin writing and sharing more thoughts on an embodied approach to life and faith. Our spiritual formation is not just something that is done only through our minds or hearts. As James K.A. Smith says, "we are not brains on sticks." Or, as Hillary McBride says, "Our body and our personhood are so intimately connected that they can never be separated. We are not just a mind, or brain, carried around by a meat- puppet of flesh and bones. Embodiment is a kind of re-membering of who we really are... .”
James K.A. Smith, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, 210.
Hillary L McBride, The Wisdom of Your Body: Finding Healing, Wholeness, and Connection through Embodied Living, 14.
I hope you will join me on this journey as we continue to learn and discuss more of who we are as the whole selves God created us to be, and how living into that makes us more fully image the God who created us as good and in God's own likeness.
I leave you with this spoken word poem that I wrote around the time I began working on my Doctor of Ministry project. I hope it empowers you as it did me when I wrote it.
Peace, friends. More soon.
Embodied - A Poem
Made very good from the beginning, yet battered and abused by the words and the voices that say it is not enough. Not good enough. Not strong enough. Not pretty enough. Not thin enough. Not holy enough. Not made in the image of God enough.
My body and I have had enough.
Enough of the lies, of the down talk, and cries that God didn’t make me good as I am and that I have to have it all just right to be who I’m called to be.
But what about now?
What about me and my body, scarred, broken, yet caring…sure footed and certain that we are GOOD. Isn’t my call to love others as I love myself?
Why can’t you let me love myself?
My dimples, my thick thighs, my birthmark, my voice. My whole self.
As. I. Am.
Cause I’m made in the image of God NOW!
I’m made good NOW! Right here, in the mess of things.
I. Am. Good.
Why am I so certain of this?
Because God made me who I’m meant to be. All of me! Do I have room to grow, of course! But when I look in the mirror, I get to see a bit of who God is - and so do you!
Because we are made in God’s image.
Tall, short, fat, thin, black, white, dimpled, furrowed, tattooed, pierced…God is there. In you. In me. Embodied.
And don’t even get me started on the fact that God came to us in a body.
And how is Christ embodied now? In flesh, in me and in you!
And when we embrace our God bearing image, whew…just think of all we could do, as we reflect on the ways we can work together in our bodies, as who we are now. Today.
Called as we are. Fearfully and wonderfully made.