Let’s Get Physical…a post by Jim

A couple months ago I wrote a post about the importance our bodies in spiritual formation. I’m coming back to the same topic because I just can’t get it out of my mind (and my body!). What Your Body Knows about God (Rob Moll …If you are interested in more on the body and its impact on formation I strongly encourage you to read it) is also at work in my reflections on the body. As I have read it (and pay attention to my own experience) I am more and more convinced that our bodies REALLY influence the trajectory of Christian transformation.

For example, spiritual disciplines are “activities within our power which bring us to a point we can do what at present we cannot do by direct effort” (Dallas Willard). Disciplines shape us so that we become the kind of people and do the kinds of things that Jesus wants of us. They change our being through our doing. Habits of the body shape habits of the heart. Grow in love, patience, hope, goodness and the like involve disciplined actions of our bodies. If I want to develop a kind heart I need to practice regular acts of kindness.

Neurologists tells us that what most fundamentally drives us is not directly accessible to us (no matter how solid our thoughts or determined our volition). Our instinctive feelings and emotions matter far more than rational ideas. This is not to say our frontal lobes aren’t important in regulating emotions and actions. Thank God we can reflect on and reverse a course of action that will get us in trouble. But Christian transformation will need the help of emotions that are sensitive to what is true, good and beautiful (from God’s perspective).

And that is where the body comes in. Emotions are body states. Spiritual disciplines that involve our bodies shape the emotional (instinctive) reactions we are likely to have. Any time we can instinctively follow God we will be in better shape than relying only on the executive, cognitive center to make us follow God. Rather than needing to choose them we can become people who desire them.

As any top athlete or musician will tell us, training the body to instinctive do at the highest level takes time. But a great game or great music requires people who have disciplined their bodies so that they can do something great. As Christians we cannot overlook the importance of our bodies in play the game/music of being loved and loving God, others, and ourselves.

Every Body Matters…a post by Jim

Recently CrossPoint hosted Cohort #4 of our Soul Care Institute. About 25 soul care persons (pastors, small group leaders, counselors, coaches, etc.) are committed to meeting eight times over the course of two years to discuss matters that are crucial to Christian soul care. Over the course of the two and a half days we have some wonderful discussions and clarifications.

The topic for this cohort is “The Embodied Soul.” We explored the nature and role of the body in the process of sanctification. While we know we are to keep our bodies from sin we often do not spend much time thinking about how our bodies contribute to our growing connection with God and others. Our ‘body theology’ is often a little weak. But it shouldn’t be.

Our very salvation hinges on a human body. That is what the earliest church counsels and creeds made clear. Without Jesus being incarnate in actual human flesh there is no hope for salvation. The human body is that important in God’s plan of redemption.

The body is that important in God’s plan of sanctification as well. Our glorious, ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’, ‘earthy’, engendered, enlivened by the ‘breath of God’, developing, ‘home of the soul’, capable and needy, emotion impacted body KEEPS THE SCORE in our journey through life and in our relationships with others.

Maybe you might pay extra attention to your body today. And if you really want to see the impact of the body in your life and relationships, do a ‘Body History’. Reflect on what your body has experienced and done over the course of your life. What might God be inviting you to in light of what your body has lived?

Designed as Male and Female

Taken from The Relational Soul – Maleness and femaleness is the fundamental way in which we carry our relational design. Interestingly, the English word “sexuality” comes from the Latin word sexus which means, “being divided, cut off, separated from another.” We typically don’t think of sexuality in terms of separation, but that is precisely what it is. Our sexual desire, drive, and energy show we are separated and long to be connected (both physically and emotionally).

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