I have such a love-hate relationship with sleep. I love it when I’m in it, but avoid it at all costs. I also have a new post on Going To Seminary in which I talk about sleep and the seminarian. No, it’s not just about how sleep is good for you, but how it actually affects us spiritually. Check it out. Here’s the intro:
In any school, especially graduate school—including seminary—one of its greatest costs is to one’s sleep. At least, I know that’s the case for me. I spent most of my adult schooling years with an average nightly sleep duration of 4 to 6 hours. And let’s be honest, for most of us that find ourselves staying up late, it’s often not that we’re doing school the entire time. Sometimes we’re trying to recover from the school work we’ve already finished, or maybe further putting off the work we’ve yet to do.
Check out the rest of my Going To Seminary posts.
Originally, I was going to entitle this post, Worship, Bodies, and the Economics of Self-Loathing. But, in the interest of readability and trying to seem less intense (and douche-baggy), I’ve changed this to the above title. But still, as that original title implies, there’s a lot here on this topic that I have to say–and may, at some point. But for now, I just wanted to give some musings and thoughts I’ve been having.
I went to a conference a couple of weeks ago put on by a group of artists called Bifrost Arts, and it was on “Liturgy, Music, and Space”. While there, I attended a workshop on the use of our bodies in worship. I was struck at the immense beauty that the Bible offers as it pertains to our embodiment. Our bodies are essential instruments in the worship and life of God. Heck, it’s essential to our very redemption as God Himself took on a body to save us.
And yet, very few of us engage our bodies in those most meaningful of spheres of life, especially when it comes to our spiritual existence. That blasted dualism of our world that elevates the “spiritual” above the “physical” pervades even those most passionate and dedicated of believers in Jesus. We often see our worship merely as a process of dropping immaterial ideas into our immaterial selves to help stir up immaterial emotional responses. And then we wonder why our embodied actions and obedience don’t follow. Could it be that we need to preach the Gospel to our bodies as well?
As I was thinking about this, I was forced to ask: Why do we hate our bodies so much?
[Update: a dear friend of mine has added her thoughts, informed by her first-hand experience in this area.]
Over the past two-and-a-half weeks or so, I have been in a conversation with Steve Wolf concerning a comment he made on a post I wrote about how I felt I was encountering God in an extreme illness I was facing several weeks age. He felt that it was an injustice to God to think that his Providence has any place in physical illness. I responded to his comment. He then replied to that post. I then gave my final official response to his perspective, with a promise that I would give him the last word and feature his reply as a full post.
Well, here it is. As you can see (if you’ve been following this), he doesn’t really respond to anything I actually said (in my opinion). But, nevertheless, I said he could have the final official word. Any more replying I do in this conversation will be in the comments. Here’s Steve:
This year has been an interesting year for my personal convictions. Over winter break I read the amazingly helpful book Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of Our Daily Choices by Julie Clawson. It goes through seven major and “mundane” parts of our lives and shows how there are major global inequities, amoralities, and injustices being perpetrated behind the scenes of all these spheres of living. She explains, with both nuance and care, these issues and then offers super-practical, nitty-gritty suggestions for living life more justly in light of these things.
My New Year’s Resolution was to take one of her seven issues each month and try to incorporate a more just way of living into that. The issues (in chapter order): Coffee, Chocolate, Cars/Oil consumption, Food, Clothing, Waste/Pollution, Global Debt.
January for me was officially Just Coffee Month. Other than an Irish coffee I picked up at an Irish pub (which I couldn’t confirm its trade method), I have not spent one cent on coffee that has not been ethically traded and certified as such. Special thanks to my friends at Elixr Coffee (on Yelp), the new best coffee-shop in Philly, for offering amazing Direct Trade coffee choices (which is far more ethical than “Fair” Trade Coffee). Continue reading