Many of us have been sold a bad brand of Christianity. It has something faulty at its core and produces something very harmful in the end.
The core problem is that your ‘spirit’ is the really important thing. Your mind is the next most important thing. In distant third is your body. At best, it is inconsequential to your spiritual journey. At worst, your body is harmful or dangerous and must be guarded against.
So much of modern Christianity is nearly dis-embodied. It is about what you believe in your heart (wherever that is) and what you understand with your mind. This is bizarre for a religion whose primary story is incarnation.
The reality is that your body is central to your spiritual journey. It is a vessel for the journey. It is the ship in which you sail. Not irrelevant at all. Your body has so much to do with your journey.
So that is the core problem … but then it bears some devastating consequences.
Yesterday was Earth Day so it is notable that we view earth in much the same way that view our body. I am surprised that the brand of Christianity I run into the most thinks that the future of the earth is only destruction, devastation, and Armageddon. That is a harmful brand of Christianity.
Many believers are surprised to learn two things about the Christian story.
- It begins in a garden but it also ends in a garden. The poetry and symbolism are profound.
- The future of our earthy body is not devastation, decay, and destruction – but New Creation.
The future of our planet is New Creation. The Bible ends with a new heaven and new earth.
The bad brand of Christianity that is dis-embodied also sees the Earth as a cardboard box –a temporary container- to be discarded and burned when we are done with it.
This is a profound misreading that affects the Body of Christ (God’s children around the world) and the Earth which is a gift from God that we are supposed to care for and cultivate.
On Easter I talked about Christ’s glorified body. It was neither a ghost nor a zombie … but a glorified body that was not limited by walls, still had the marks of the spear, and could make breakfast on the shore for the disciples. It was both like and unlike Jesus’ crucified body because God had glorified it.
This is a foretaste of New Creation. Easter is a prolepsis (a coming attractions if you will) – not just for each of us but for all of creation! New Creation is the future of the planet.
In this light, your body is central to your religious faith and your spiritual journey. Likewise, the Earth is central to the experience of the Body of Christ.
Today would be a good day to consider one thing we might begin doing and one thing that we might stop doing if the brand of Christianity we were sold is faulty.