What a gift it was last Sunday to hear good news proclaimed by Josie Fasoldt, one of three lay preachers of our College of Preachers. If you missed her sermon, you can listen here.
I’ve been stewing on her words the last few days: what would it mean for my body to be a place of—and engaged in—justice? My able-bodied, white, cis-gendered male body?
A few thoughts:
1. I’m just now (ok, in the last few years, but it’s so, so recent) waking up to the fact that my body is privileged and has power in our world. Yes, I’ve got back pain and wrinkles and 15lbs that I swear I’m going to lose this summer, etc. But overall the world is built for people whose bodies look like mine and work like mine. If anyone should feel at home in their body, it’s me.
2. I have ample body shame. In fact, I recall doing a “body scan meditation” one time, and I was struck by how many negative messages live in me about almost every part of my body: my hair, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, gums, fingernails, lips, etc. So many negative judgements and stories about my home. Why do I carry them?
3. If I can have a body that (1) the world is designed to cater to, and (2) I have mountains of shame about, then (3) just imagine what other bodies carry! Disabled bodies, female bodies, black or brown bodies, obese bodies, foreign bodies, dysphoric bodies, non-binary bodies, queer bodies…
4. I don’t know how to sit with Josie’s good news without compassion and acceptance. For myself—my body, my sexuality, my marriage—my faults and my shame and glory are all mixed together in my human, tragic comedy-drama. I’m learning to take my body seriously as a dwelling place of God and a place of knowledge, power, and glory, and reckon with how I’ve ignored or downplayed or hated on it.
5. As you read, I invite you to take a moment to use your hands to touch your body: place them on your lap or face or belly. Breathe. And check in: how’s your relationship to your body? (We don’t usually talk like this, but come with me for a moment.) What does your body want you to know? What do you want to tell your body? Can you find words of acceptance and gratitude even now for the work your body does, what it’s been through, and how it shows up (or doesn’t) for you?
Josie was right: one hundred one-minute conversations are just the beginning of how we work out what it looks like to reclaim our bodies as places of justice and our sexuality and gender as places of healing, beauty, and New Creation.
So let’s keep talking, and praying, and wrestling with how our bodies and sexuality are arenas of justice in God’s kingdom.
Your embodied Priest,