Posts Tagged ‘body’

Teach About the Whole Body

October 15, 2015

The Christian church, especially the Protestant tradition that I’ve grown up in, focuses almost exclusively on the “soul”. Most Protestant denominations, at least in the US, focus on salvation messages.

Thanks perhaps to Dave Ramsey, more and more churches are beginning to discuss money not in terms of law–you should give more money to the church–but in terms spiritual development. How you manage your finances is an important part of your overall spiritual focus and development.

I hear almost nothing about taking care of your body. This “temple of the soul” as Paul says.

It’s not like the Bible is silent on the issue. Many of the Mosaic laws are in reality health laws. Of course, like all religious laws they quickly get taken to the extreme and the initial reason lost.

There is the “Daniel diet” that has gone around. You know, when the Babylonian king picked a group of Hebrew young men to join his leadership academy, they asked to stay on a healthy diet rather than the foods rich in fat and sweet and alcohol. After a trial run, they proved to be more healthy than the others, so they were allowed their own diet.

If you take care of your body, you are in better shape to pursue your spiritual development.

Taking care of your body does not mean that there is no illness or physical debilitation. Some of that is unavoidable genetics. Some accident. 

All of us can be like Daniel and watch what we eat. We could be vegetarian or allow ourselves some meat. Either works. But eating more of your diet from plant sources, eliminating excess fat and sugar, eliminating sodas, eating until 80% full, drinking more water, dining rather than gulping down your meals (like I did last night proofreading some PowerPoint slides while eating) all work for the betterment of our bodies. We can practice this no matter what we have.

Even those who have physical challenges can get some form of exercise. For those who can walk, few things are better than long walks in nature. For those who can run–run. Resistance exercises like some form of weight lifiting build muscles and bone. Mind/body fitness like Yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates tone the whole body. Yoga is good for people with a number of chronic physical problems who can’t exercise any other way.

Lots of things contribute to our spiritual health. We need teach about mind, body, and soul so that we are fit for the race set before us.

Our Body as a Temple

February 18, 2014

I grew up in a German community in rural west central Ohio. Although by my mom’s generation, speaking the language was beginning to die out. My mom was from a “mixed” marriage–a German-speaking Alsatian and a woman of Welsh heritage. I don’t believe she ever spoke German.

But, I heard German spoken around town as a kid. We picked up words. But the words had no emotional impact. I learned later, much to my embarrassment during my first trip to Germany, that some of the words had great emotional impact. Sort of like dropping the “F-bomb” in church.

From that lesson, I learned that while reading the Bible or other works in translation I should try to be aware of the emotional impact of words on the first readers even when the emotional impact in me is slight.

John places the story of Jesus cleansing the Temple early in his Gospel. John transitions from a story about keeping the Temple–an emotion-laden word–pure to talking about the Temple as Jesus’ body.

Paul, writing to the church in Corinth, takes this concept (realizing he probably never read the Gospel of John, but he no doubt knew John and talked with him) further and talked about our bodies as the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

Paul talked about what goes into and what comes out of our bodies. He talked about the proper use of our bodies.

I’m like most of the people in America, I suppose. I keep saying I need to lose 10 lbs. But really what I wind up doing is maintaining my 175 plus or minus 5. I really should be 165 for my 5’10” frame.

So, while saying one thing, I’ll watch some sporting event on TV on Sunday afternoon and eat a bag of potato chips. Or order the big meal on a business trip. And convince myself I’m tired and cut my workout short.

There are others who do much worse. Sex with the wrong people. Greatly overeating. Drugs. Too much wine.

It is good to make the link back from our obsession with looks to Paul’s analogy of the Temple to John’s use of the word relative to Jesus’ body to Temple as the place to worship God. Our bodies are where we actually house the Spirit and worship God. Let’s keep it clean.