“a bodily gospel”

Prototype by Jonathan Martin

When the future reign of God comes breaking into our present, there is more at stake than what we often call “spirituality”…This way of being human is not for people who think their bodies are cages and want to transcend the moment they are in. This way of being is not for people who don’t like to dance or make love.

This is a protest against the body-defying, world-denying principalities and powers that threaten to swallow us up. This is resistance to religion that is less substantial than the taste of crusty bread and sweet wine. It’s in favor of skin, in favor of laughter, in favor of music, in favor of sweat. It’s in favor of nakedness, but in protest to pornography. It’s in favor of touch, but in protest to being handled. It’s in favor of the soul, but in protest to its dismemberment from the body.

It is as greasy as the touch of an oily finger on the T-zone of a teenager’s face. It’s as intrusive as the hands of a brother or a sister washing the dirt off your feet as you sit in awkward silence. It is as mysterious as the slow descent of a body into an ancient baptismal pool at midnight, with prayers and hymns offered up all around. It is as beautiful and disconcerting as the gore that flowed out of Jesus’ side when it was torn by a spear, as spectacular as the lightning that flashed at Sinai, as plain and uneventful as a meal shared with a stranger.

It is high time we stopped sanitizing the scandal of a bodily gospel. Jesus’ new way of being human is exceedingly good news for the legions around us who are in need of healthy touch.

Jonathan Martin planted and pastors Renovatus Church in Charlotte, NC. He’s a Pentecostal preacher who actually believes in sacraments and his podcast is excellent.

2 thoughts on ““a bodily gospel”

  1. Never mind that applied Christian politics has inevitably created mountains of corpses, rivers of blood and enough blood-curdling screams to fill the entire universe.
    Applied Christian politics 101:
    Note the unspeakably vile sado-masochistic snuff/splatter movie being reviewed in the first reference:
    Plus why not Google:
    Columbus and Other Cannibals by Jack Forbes
    The American Holocaust by David Stannard.
    Never mind too that there are now more Christians in the world than ever before, both in total numbers and as a percentage of the human population. And that the world is now saturated with Christian propaganda of all kinds, both paper and electronic. And that there are now more Christian schools and universities, and more missionaries than ever before.
    And yet the world is becoming more and more insane every day.
    Indeed some of the leading edge vectors of this now universal insanity/PSYCHOSIS are right-wing Christians

    • I’m certainly not unaware of Christians and Christian institutions being violent and otherwise destructive forces in history. You also are not unaware that major work in the arts, breakthroughs in the sciences, not just universities but the idea of the university, and many beautiful institutions from hospitals to art museums are also the result of Christians and Christian institutions. Christianity and every other popular religious and philosophical tradition (including atheist and materialist traditions) has its share of atrocity alongside beauty.

      But the point of this post is that the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ is a declaration of the entire sacredness of every human body, a declaration which is muffled or silenced every time someone of any belief system disrespects, abuses, or kills another human body.

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