Living Sacrifices, Spiritual Worship: Exercising Bodies & Spirits
The Apostle Paul describes our bodies as “living sacrifices” and our “spiritual worship.” It is not the only time in Scripture that a link between body and spirit is put forward or assumed. Yet despite our Judeo-Christian theological heritage that posits the importance of the body, American Christianity has long been permeated by a de facto Platonism in which the body is either ignored or denied in favor of an abstract, purer ideal. This is certainly the case in Protestant circles, where the working liturgical theology involves little or no movement and only two senses (hearing and seeing). Some might suggest that this working theology has contributed to an obese American population in increasingly poorer health. This course will explore the often uncharted intersection of body and spirit by literarily, liturgically and literally running, swimming and biking its landscape. Each day, course participants will study a novel or short story that features the body-spirit connection, including stories from the Native American traditions of the Southwest. We will also examine theological and liturgical texts and practices that might inform a more holistic theology of the body. The morning sessions will conclude with a short run, swim or bike, finishing the week with a “5-5-5” triathlon (.5 mile swim, 5 mile bike, 5k run). Participants will be asked to read 3 novels before coming to Ghost Ranch, will read one short story a day, and should be able to run 5k, bike 5 miles and swim a half mile.