Monday, August 8, 2011
In Earthen Vessels: Why our Bodies Matter to our Faith, Matthew Lee Anderson, seeks to explore an Evangelical theology of the body.
First Question: What is a theology of the body?
His definition is "the role the physical body plays in our spiritual, social, and ecclesiastical lives by exploring the shape our bodies should take in response to the love that God demonstrates to us through the person of Jesus Christ." (page 17)
Much of this book seems to be a work, aiming to correct the gnostic tendencies of our Evangelical thinking. We have long suffered with the affliction of thinking everything material, including our physical selves, is evil or at least unimportant, while the only matters of true importance are spiritual. How quickly we read past God's declaration in Genesis, that everything he saw was good. Anderson seeks to close the divide between the two.
Some of the things discussed are, how our bodies shape us and how do we shape our bodies, tattoos, sex and homosexuality, mortality, and spiritual disciplines. All of the chapters are well thought out and thought provoking as well. Many are areas that have suffered from inadequate examination, and are a welcomed re-introduction.
Overall the book is very interesting. The one difficulty is that there are very few bullet points or direct answers. The ideas contained there in are focused more on starting the conversation, as opposed to reaching a final conclusion. You will be led to think more deeply, and more biblically than you may have previously about many of these subjects.
I'd like to thank Bethany House Publishers for sending me this free copy for review.