The Opera del Duomo di Orvieto (Orvieto Cathedral) in Orvieto, Italy, celebrates physicality, especially the human body, a distinctive mark of Christianity. The incarnation of Jesus Christ, the very act of God becoming flesh, celebrates the physical world that God created and pronounced “good” and “very good.”

Blog Posts About Life In The Body

Interview with a Charlotte Pastor/Author

By | Arts, Beauty, Justice, Life In The Body, Writing | No Comments

I’m happy to have as my guest today pastor/author Winn Collier, whose writing I love. His latest project is an epistolary novel—that is, a story told through the medium of letters written by one or more of the characters. It’s titled Love Big, Be Well: Letters to a Small-Town Church.

SG: Did you have in mind any specific congregations as you wrote?

Winn: I carried all the people and churches I’ve been part of my entire life. And of course, All Souls Charlottesville, the people I serve now, is so interwoven with my life that they are always with me.

SG: Charlottesville has been at the epicenter of America’s culture wars in recent months. How has your church continued to be a voice of hope in the midst of such toxic events?

Winn: The Klan rally in July, then the Alt-right rally in August, were horrific. I’ve never …

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“No Greater Love” film headed your way?

By | Arts, Beauty, Life In The Body | No Comments

I attended the Boston Film Festival in September 2015, where No Greater Love won Best Documentary. A beloved former student, Chaplain Roberts, its creator, is standing on the end next to me.

NO GREATER LOVE—the first theatrical documentary filmed and directed by an active-duty soldier—brings to vivid life the battles of the “No Slack” Battalion of the famed 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan. And the battles he shows us didn’t just happen in the field. They continue after soldiers return home.

One of the coolest parts about this for me is that its writer and that active-duty soldier/producer was one of my writing students.

Friday, Nov. 10, for Veterans Day weekend, his multiple-award-winning NO GREATER LOVE premieres in select cities nationwide. NO GREATER LOVE, after one round of cuts, is still a contender for Documentary Feature in the 2017 Academy Award®.

You can bring this excellent film to a …

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#MeToo: Just Another Trend?

By | Gender & Faith, Justice, Life In The Body, Women | No Comments

My post for October 24 on the Engage blog at bible.org:

A lot of people think it all started on October 5, 2017, when the New York Times first broke the story accusing Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment. Actually, as far as I know, the real first “Me Too” movement started a decade ago by the African-American activist Tarana Burke. And ten years from now, we’ll probably still need one.

But about the recent one… Ten days after the NYT story hit, actress Alyssa Milano tweeted, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”

Soon, the #MeToo hashtag took over social media. Twitter alone had more than 500,00 uses. But Facebook had 12 million. Twelve. Million.

I almost didn’t put the following post on Facebook. But I mustered the courage to hit “return”:  “So many have been groped,

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Help Yourself to Mental Health

By | Life In The Body | 2 Comments

Carrying a lot of stress? There are lots of ways you can help yourself cope.

Tell yourself the truth. Treat yourself with the same grace you would extend to others. If you make an error, instead of berating yourself, replace, “I’m an idiot,” with “Oops. I took a wrong turn.”

Confess. Quit living with guilt. Acknowledge sin to God and apologize to people you’ve wronged. Make appropriate reparations.

Care for your body. Take walks, jog, hit the gym. Physical health and aerobic exercise have a direct effect on mental health.

Snack on veggies. Good nutrition affects physical health and outlook, too. So replace chips and sour cream dip with crackers and hummus.

Sleep. Get to bed on time and transition off technology well before you need to be falling asleep.

Get regular check-ups. See a doctor for hormone and mood checks and to monitor health conditions.

Live in community. …

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The True Beauty of Women

By | Beauty, Life In The Body, Women | One Comment

Whatever is true…think on these things.

The Thai branch of a Japanese lingerie company, Wacoal, doesn’t feature scantily clad models in their ads. Instead, they tell true stories with life-affirming messages that everyone can watch and appreciate. The ads emphasize women’s true beauty. And the men in the stories are the kind of guys who appreciate goodness, and are not necessarily sexually involved with the women whom they admire and whose stories they tell. Check out the “My Beautiful Woman” ad campaign.

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On Feminism and Evangelicalism

By | Gender & Faith, Justice, Life In The Body, Women | No Comments

As part of my PhD research, I read Betty Friedan, heard Gloria Steinem in person, and spent a bunch of semesters exploring the history and teachings of feminism. And after I did so, I reached the conclusion that evangelicals in general need to pull back and regroup both in our representations of feminists and in our approach to reaching them.

Just as there is not one “Christianity” but many Christianities (e.g., Orthodox, Catholic, Anglo-Catholic, Protestant, Lutheran, Armenian, Calvinist), there are many feminisms (liberal, radical, Marxist, socialist, lesbian, biblical, difference feminists [we are women—viva le difference! from men] and sameness feminists [we’re the same except for biology]), and more.

Liberal feminists came out of the Equal Rights Movement. Betty Friedan was one of them. They are interested in equality, not to be confused with sameness. That is, they want the law to quit “seeing gender,” i.e., being biased against …

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Drowning? Chris Can Help…

By | Life In The Body, Uncategorized | One Comment

Today I’m happy to have as my guest Chris Maxwell, who has recently authored a new book about some deep trials he and his family have experienced and survived with some wisdom to share. 

Question: Tell us about your newest book, Underwater: When Encephalitis, Brain Injury, and Epilepsy Change Everything.

Chris: Underwater takes readers through my battle with encephalitis—a time I almost died, but lived and became a much different person. I now live with severe brain damage and epilepsy. Many things that were easy for me before I cannot do, or I find them difficult.

My wife, Debbie, and all three of our sons contributed to the book. We included stories about how our lives changed as well as stories from others who live with epilepsy.  We also included advice from a counselor for caregivers—those family members and friends who are often forgotten in underwater stories.

Question: Underwater

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7 Views on the Role of Women w/in the Inerrancy Camp

By | Gender & Faith, Life In The Body, Women | No Comments

My Engage blog post for October 25:

I’m speaking at an event today at which I’m outlining seven different views on the role of women held by those who hold to the verbal plenary inspiration of scripture:

1. TRADITIONALISTS

Believe women are more easily deceived than men, but also masters at deceiving. Women are ontologically inferior to men at created level. “Women are the devil’s gateway.” — Tertullian. Augustine, Aquinas, John Knox, etc.

COMPLEMENTARIANS (spectrum of about 4 views)

Women equal before God, but in some form of hierarchy w/ men/ husbands. Authority = the issue w/ several views on the public ministry of women:

2. Male “headship” – all men = “head” over all women. Speak of “male headship.” Innate. At creation. Head = synonym for leader.

3. Male “headship” in the church and home – husband head of wife + elders head over women in church and …

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“The Student Body”: Do Students’ BMI Tests Do More Harm Than Good?

By | Bioethics, Justice, Life In The Body | No Comments

When Bailey Webber interviewed people for her new documentary, The Student Body, she took a set of bathroom scales with her. And every person with whom she spoke, she asked, “Would you be willing to step on the scales so we can get your BMI?” To a person, they balked. Most ultimately refused, though some reluctantly agreed.

A lot of kids in our schools don’t get the choice to decline. And then a letter arrives notifying them that they are too skinny or too fat.

In the ground-breaking and excellently produced film she made with her dad, Bailey, a young journalist, tackles the heated topic of childhood obesity and misguided efforts to solve our national childhood obesity epidemic.

And just what are those misguided efforts? Lawmakers in dozens of states have passed mandates requiring schools to perform body mass index (BMI) tests on students and then send letters stating their …

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A Great Film

By | Arts, Beauty, Justice, Life In The Body, Marriage, Women | No Comments

imgresDefying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War tells the story of a US couple’s courageous private war against the Nazis in 1939.

The Sharps, a Unitarian minister and his wife, are two of only five Americans honored as Righteous Among the Nations in Israel’s Yad Vashem. You can watch their story online at PBS until October 5 by clicking on the above link.

This film is the latest from Ken Burns, known for his style of using archival footage and photographs in documentaries. Defying the Nazis is an incredible story of great personal sacrifice.

In this film you will see many similarities to the current social environment in America. How does an unlikely candidate rise quickly to power? How does racism thrive? Why don’t people care for refugees? Is national security more important that children’s lives? We’ve been here before.

When you finish, read Auden’s poem, September 1, 1939. We …

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