Barbara Brown Taylor
Our bodies are prophets…although most of us welcome their news as warmly as the people of Jerusalem welcomed Jeremiah’s. We would rather lock up our bodies than listen to what they have to say.
Our bodies are apt to be our autobiographies.
James K.A. Smith
Like Descartes, we view our bodies as (at best!) extraneous, temporary vehicles for trucking around our souls or “minds,” which are where all the real action takes place. In other words, we imagine human beings as giant bobble headed dolls: with humungous heads and itty-bitty, unimportant bodies.
The early church was strikingly different from the culture around it in this way – the pagan society was stingy with its money and promiscuous with its body. A pagan gave nobody their money and practically gave everybody their body. And the Christians came along and gave practically nobody their body and they gave practically everybody their money.
A faith without some doubts is like a human body with no antibodies in it.
John of Kronstadt
God is nearer to us than any man at every time. He is nearer to me than my raiment, nearer than the air or light, nearer than my wife, father, mother, daughter, son, or friend. I live in Him, soul and body. I breathe in Him, think in Him, feel, consider, intend, speak, undertake, work in Him.
Jesus is the Head of the church. He expects His body to cooperate.
The point of the resurrection…is that the present bodily life is not valueless just because it will die…What you do with your body in the present matters because God has a great future in store for it…What you do in the present—by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbor as yourself—will last into God’s future. These activities are not simply ways of making the present life a little less beastly, a little more bearable, until the day when we leave it behind altogether (as the hymn so mistakenly puts it…). They are part of what we may call building for God’s kingdom.
Somebody asked Thomas Edison if he ever got any exercise, and he said “I only use my body to carry my brain around.
The hands are a sort of feet, which serve us in our passage towards heaven, curiously distinguished into joints and gingers, and fit to be applied into joints and fingers, and fit to be applied to any thing which reason can imagine or desire.
A large nose is in fact the sign of an affable man, good, courteous, witty, liberal, courageous, such as I am.
Theophan the Recluse
The chief evil with relation to the body is love for the body and pitying it. This takes away all the soul’s authority over the body and makes the soul the slave of the body. And on the contrary, one who does not spare the body will not be disturbed in whatever he does by apprehensions born of blind love of life. How fortunate is one who is trained to this from childhood!
[T]here is no goodness that is not bodily and realistic and local.
It is God’s earth out of which man is taken. From it he has his body. His body belongs to his essential being. Man’s body is not his prison, his shell his exterior, but man himself. Man does not “have” a body; he does not “have” a soul; rather he “is” body and soul. Man in the beginning is really his body. He is one. He is his body, as Christ is completely his body, as the Church is the body of Christ”
Christianity is without doubt the earthiest of all religions. Unlike most other religions, it doesn’t call you out of the physical, out of the body, or out of the world. Rather it tells you that God enters the physical, becomes one with it, blesses it, redeems it, and that there is no reason to escape from it.
Excessive stress occurs when the demands made on an organism exceed that organism’s reasonable capacities to fill them.
The Christian practice of honoring the body is born of the confidence that our bodies are made in the image of God’s own goodness. As the place where the divine presence dwells, our bodies are worthy of care and blessing. . . . It is through our bodies that we participate in God’s activity in the world.
…the body is not only biological. Since we’re made in the image of God as male and female, the body…is also theological. It tells an astounding divine story. And it does so precisely through the mystery of sexual difference and the call of the two to become “one flesh.” This means that when we get the body and sex wrong, we get the divine story wrong as well.
If the phrase “theology of the body” seems odd, perhaps it’s because we haven’t taken the reality of the incarnation as seriously as Scripture does. There’s nothing surprising about looking to the human body as a “study of God” if we believe in Christmas. “Through the fact that the Word of God became flesh, the body entered theology . . . through the main door.”
Christianity is almost the only one of the great religions which thoroughly approves of the body—which believes that matter is good, that God himself once took on a human body, that some kind of body is going to be given to us even in heaven and is going to be an essential part of our happiness.
Matthew Lee Anderson
This is the paradox of the body: The body is a temple, but the temple is in ruins. The incarnation of Jesus affirms the body’s original goodness. The death of Jesus reminds us of its need for redemption. And the resurrection of Jesus gives us hope for its restoration.
Emily Charlton (Emily Blunt)
“I’m one stomach flu away from my goal weight.”
The Devil Wears Prada
My body continually takes me into place . It is at once agent and vehicle, articulator and witness of being-in-place.
W. David O. Taylor
The psalmist describes the experience of “keeping silent” about sin as a kind of disintegration. His bones turn to powder (Ps. 32:3). His energy dissipates, “the very pith of my body decomposed as if baked in the summer heat.”
It is possible also to come at Christianity from a rather different point of view as well, seeing it as something not too difficult but too simple for us, too basic, something to be apprehended therefore through the most simple thing that we all have, our bodies, by walking, by kneeling and bowing, by standing still. Humans tell stories, narratives, and go along together in order to focus the reality of their lives, to remember. People are not just brains, they have and indeed are bodies; so to apprehend truths they need to participate in events and make reality real for themselves. The cosmic event of the salvation of the world by God in Christ Jesus is a truth always present and it is for all-but we do not always live in the present. We have to find ways to wake up, to realize that ultimate truth is simple and for us. It is we who are complex and estranged, not God.
Still Looking for inspiration?
Consider checking out our illustrations page on the Body.