Objectification and Theology: Part 2

People who follow Jesus should be pretty excited about how awesome their bodies are.

That’s what I came to realize one day while hanging out with some Christian ladies that I love.  They were starting in on the “fat talk.”  Oh, you know what I mean.

“I’m so fat.”
“No you aren’t, you look great.  I’m fat.”
“Whatever!  You probably never need to go to the gym.  Omigawd, you should see my husband…he never works out and he’s still losing weight.  It’s sick.”

They looked down at their bodies in disgust.

These bodies that God made for them.  These bodies that God blessed and anointed.  These bodies that had laid hands in prayer, comforted the sick, hugged friends, enraptured husbands, served food to the poor, preached the Word, played with children, performed amazing music, and stood in awe of God’s greatness.

These Godly women hated their bodies.

And it struck me, then, that there was nothing in the Good News that should allow that to happen.  In fact, it started to grow in my mind that the Christian story is one that—literally—raises human bodies to a pretty high level.

God loves human bodies so much that He took one for Himself.

In my last post, I started to introduce the history of objectification in our culture, and I explained that Christianity has inherited a dangerous form of dualism that treats bodies like disposable trash.  That attitude unfortunately resembles the attitude of Gnosticism.  The early Church had to fight with a breakaway group that was trying to mashup Christianity with something called Gnosticism.  Very basically, Gnostics believed that secret knowledge (gnosis) would get them into heaven, and they believed that heaven was a place of pure spirit, since matter was nasty and broken and full of sin.  Long-story-short, the early Church worked really hard to knock Gnosticism out.  They didn’t want that theology creeping into Christianity.

Because Christian theology ought to treat the body—and all matter—as good, created by God, worthy of redemption.

And that includes our bodies.

I believe that although women have to face objectification all the time in our culture—whether in fashion magazines, pornography (soft and hard), or what’s being called “rape culture”—that if we place our trust in the God who made us as embodied beings, who wants us to be embodied beings, then we can stand tall against the forces that want to turn us into objects.

It is going to be the broad purpose of my blog to share what I have come to believe about how much God loves our bodies, and about how we can learn to love our bodies, too.  Please feel free to ask questions along the way.  I’m leaving out the footnotes because I know that some people find them boring, but they are available upon request.

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