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Christianity Needs Embodiment

Christian Embodiment may be a new term for many, but embodiment is inextricably at the heart of the Christian faith. How did we get so far away from Embodying what Christ taught and lived, when many now view the body itself as bad and wrong?


the blowup | unsplash


The Separation of Body and Spirit

Growing up in the US, where Christianity is the primary religion, whether we are religious or not, we are more or less steeped in the gestalt of Christian doctrine.


Less so these days, but it’s impossible to separate from it — classic western writers, poets, artists, musicians… all have biblical influence — directly, or indirectly.


I never had any personal issue with Christianity — we weren’t raised in a religious or even spiritual way. But over time, as a young adult, I developed an issue with Christianity as I saw the hypocrisy, corruption and judgmental condemning that would often be expressed and exposed by people who called themselves Christian.


What added to this growing issue within me, was hearing the message that the body and our flesh is sinful and essentially we need to pray and repent to hopefully get into an eternal after-life with Jesus, otherwise we’re doomed to a pit of fire.


For me, and countless others I know, we took this to mean something like: being human is bad, we’re not meant to even be here, and we’re kinda screwed anyway because why would we have been created if we’re not even meant to be here, in our human bodies?


raquel raclette | unsplash


Disembodied Spirituality Ultimately Leads to Destruction

This feeds into a lot of new-age or transcendental (aka disembodied) ideas, like where people believe they’re on earth as some kind of alien prison sentence (because they’re actually from another planet or dimension), or that life on earth is just punishment that we must endure until our body dies and we get to escape the harsh density of this earthly body.


For anyone this may be news to — think this line of logic through — this kind of fundamental thinking will literally cause people to not care about themselves, others or the world around them. Suicide. Mass shootings. Disembodied, hollow shells of humans.


Human doings, not human beings.

Beingness requires embodiment. Doingness requires robotic actions.

As I’ve come to realize over the past year or so, this interpretation of what was originally meant by our bodies, our ‘flesh’ and sin is deeply flawed and fundamentally wrong.



Iulia Mihailov | Unsplash


Good Is The Flesh, In The Image Of God

I’m still sorting out the meaning precisely, but what I’ve landed on that seems to make sense to me so far, is almost to replace the word ‘body’ or ‘flesh’ with ego.


Anyone with any sense these days would agree that it’s best to discipline and reign in the ego. Left to its own devices, the ego (the selfish self-will devoid of a higher collective, loving purpose, i.e. God) causes destruction, tyrannical, self-important narcissism, void of compassion and empathy.


The ego goes after whatever it wants, regardless of repercussions, consequences and harm done toward others.


The ego — the human who believes they know best — the flesh that relentlessly relinquishes to its own indulgent whims — this certainly causes harm, undue suffering and indeed should be tamed and avoided as much as possible.


I believe we could also replace the word ‘flesh’ with ‘materialism’ or ‘status-seeking’. When we prize material possession and/or status over the greater good, we help foster a dysfunctional culture.


When we literally prize how good we look… or when that hot guy or gal wants us, so validating our self-worth… or when we care more about masking and the facade of how we appear more than what’s happening within us and between us spiritually, we are indulging the ‘flesh’.


But many Christians and non-Christians alike have swung the pendulum too far in the other direction — the flesh and body are not to be indulged… they are even to be oppressed, suppressed and demonized.



mahdi rezaei | unsplash


Dehumanizing God’s Image

When we demonize our very humanness itself, the natural repercussion would be so much of what we’ve seen over the centuries, and so much present-day — where people are regularly dehumanized.


Wars and genocides over populations of people who view the world differently. Some priests aiming to be disembodied perfect images of God, sexually abusing children. We all know the tragic plethora of examples that illustrate this issue.


We can only dehumanize others and ourselves when we disown who we are.


And not one bit of this is Christ-like.


Our human experience isn’t meant to be prescriptive, but ever-discerning and deepening into the ever-immanent presence of Aliveness, of Love, of God.


And this means we must actually inhabit our own divine bodies.

We cannot humanize ourselves and others if we aren’t actually living within our bodies.

Мария Волк | unsplash


Loving Ourselves and Others As God Loves Us

There are a lot of people afraid to go into their bodies. For some, it’s because of painful trauma. For others it may be a deep-seated belief that it’s sinful to acknowledge or feel the body. For some, it may just be a fear of the unknown and uncontrollable.


Through my own embodiment journey, I can, without a shadow of a doubt, say that inhabiting my body more fully has opened more space for God to dwell within me. To gently, lovingly pervade the nooks and crannies that are frozen in fear, that are bruised and beaten by trauma, that are untrusting of a greater love that is right-here-right-now present and imminent.


I never sought out God. I sought out Truth. Through embodiment, when properly facilitated, we can palpably feel truth vs untruth… not just as a prescriptive mental framework of right/wrong, but as a deep, abiding felt-sense within.


In seeking the Truth, the realization that Truth = God became very clear.


In trusting my intuitive instinct (our internal God-radar you could say), I found a church that gets the importance of embodiment, and has even encouraged the need for my work more than many other populations of people I’m in contact with.


When God became human himself, it was the most perfect embodiment possible. He didn’t come as a disembodied, transcendent being. He came as one of us. Imminent. Tangible. Felt. Present. He came to be the embodied ideal of what it is to be human.


Not promoting escaping our humanness, but for us to be emboldened to be as human as possible.

Heart-centered, present, connective, loving, humble, bold, alive, pointing us all ever-more toward the truth of our wholeness and unity — even amidst our imperfection and selfishness.


Remember He was human too. And there was absolutely nothing wrong with his humanness.


We are all image-bearers.


Live your life like this Truth matters — we will all be better for it.


 

To connect with Megan more, subscribe to her newsletter here, or find out about her somatic & embodiment coaching, and working with her privately here.


I’m new to learning about the real roots of Christianity, and this critique is from my own lived experience. Inarguably, there are countless people devotionally embodying their Christianity.


This critique is about where & how it’s not being embodied and why it’s so critical.


A couple resources I have been loving, in which they speak on the importance of embodiment in their Christian-walk:

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