Forward Friday – A Series
Body theology is the study of God in relation to our bodies. But no study is complete if it is not paired with practice. It’s time to add a little action and weave in a little work with Forward Friday.
Every Friday, I’ll suggest one activity we can try to help keep us moving toward a healthy, holistic understanding of who we are as God’s uniquely designed bodyselves. Try it out and leave a comment to share your experience.
Since we’ve been talking this week about gender-inclusive language, let’s put some of those ideas into practice this weekend.
Read a passage of scripture aloud, and swap out male pronouns for female ones (and vice versa). Be sure to choose a passage that mentions people and God. Read the passage several times, out loud, and allow yourself to be affected by the change in language. Ask God to help make you more mindful of how your language affects others and how others’ language affects you. Allow the Holy Spirit to work through your intentional reading of scripture to move you forward toward a healthy, holistic body theology.
For women, notice the difference when reading yourself into the story of God so explicitly and allow God to speak to you and bring any healing you might experience as a result.
For men, notice the difference when having to do the extra mental work of reading yourself into the story of God implicitly and allow God to reveal any truth about the experience of the marginalized and perhaps challenge you to work for more freedom and equality among men and women in the world.
Here are two examples to help you get started. Try any other passage as well and leave a comment to let me know what you tried.
Blessed is the woman who does not walk in step with the wicked women or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on her law day and night. She is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever she does prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked women will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous woman, but the way of the wicked woman leads to destruction.
The Parable of the Lost Daughter (Luke 15:11-32)
Jesus continued: “There was a woman who had two daughters. 12The younger one said to her mother, ‘Mother, give me my share of the estate.’ So she divided her property between them. Not long after that, the younger daughter got together all she had, set off for a distant country and there squandered her wealth in wild living. After she had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and she began to be in need. So she went and hired herself out to a citizen of that country, who sent her to her fields to feed pigs. She longed to fill her stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave her anything. When she came to her senses, she said, ‘How many of my mother’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my mother and say to her: Mother, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your daughter; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So she got up and went to her mother. But while she was still a long way off, her mother saw her and was filled with compassion for her; she ran to her daughter, threw her arms around her and kissed her. The daughter said to her, ‘Mother, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your daughter.’ “But the mother said to her servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on her. Put a ring on her finger and sandals on her feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this daughter of mine was dead and is alive again; she was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
“Meanwhile, the older daughter was in the field. When she came near the house, she heard music and dancing. So she called one of the servants and asked her what was going on. ‘Your sister has come,’ she replied, ‘and your mother has killed the fattened calf because she has her back safe and sound.’ The older daughter became angry and refused to go in. So her mother went out and pleaded with her. But she answered her mother, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this daughter of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for her!’ ‘My daughter,’ the mother said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this sister of yours was dead and is alive again; she was lost and is found.’”