Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Advent Thought #25, December 25

I am posting this one a day early so as not to do so tomorrow.  Anyone reading this, I wish you and yours Merry Christmas. 

I am not sure how much I will be blogging after today.  The dissertation and new job will take up most of my time, along with other writing projects.   I have a plethora of topics here, which you can see by clicking on the months and years to the right of the screen.  I have written on a broad range of topics in the arts, theology, communication, education, and writing.  You can also go to my other blog, for more scholarly work.

The Christian faith is embodied.  It embraces the body; it doesn't ignore it or consider it evil.  The flesh in the Bible sometimes means the physical body but usually in the New Testament refers to the sinful nature that must be redeemed.  This is not to say the body is just a tool that can be used for good or evil.  It is more than that.  It is a tool to some degrees, but it is a recalcitrant one--I surely know that now, with continual back pain and a UTI.  The body is also a tent, or tabernacle, where our soul lives.  But it is more than that, too, because otherwise there would not be a resurrection which shows that our bodies have value in an eternal sense that we cannot understand.  Of course that body will not be like this one (will I be blue-eyed, blond, 5'6" and humhum pounds?)  But it will be a physical body.  The physical world is good.  Very good. 

So the body is a trial at times, a tool, and a tent.  It is not a temptation in itself, although it can be used that way.  But it also is a theological reality.  We need  theology of the body.  How much of the gospel is about Christ's embodiedness--birth in a real place, growing up, eating, drinking, fasting, walking, touching, being whipped and tortured, dying, and rising again to touch, eat, walk, ascend? The body is vital to the gospel, but it is also a story of the triumph of spiritual power over the body--in Christ's miracles and in the resurrection. 

Therefore should we not have a theology of our own bodies?  Should we not stop hating them and showing that hate by obsessing over our looks?  Shouldn't  we treat them as temples but not a gods?  Shouldn't we seek to keep it healthy and useful but not indispensable?  We should not add years to our lives but life to our years. We will die, it is certain, but there is no reason to do it before we have to. 

Christmas is about INCARNATION.  Our Lord came in a body to be one of us, a great mystery. 

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