Last December, I boarded a plane to fly home for the holidays and plopped down in my seat, already exhausted from pre-Christmas activities and preparation. I thought to myself, "Next year, I have to get more sleep and take better care of my body. I cant survive at this pace!"
As I sat and began to read Reclaiming the Body in Christian Spirituality, I realized it couldnt have come at a better time. Like so many other Americans (even Christian Americans), the Christmas season exaggerates the sense of busyness, exhaustion, and excess consumption in my life. This book challenges us to re-examine that tendency by providing thoughtful reflection on the history of the body in spiritual practices and by exploring the role of the body in Christian theology. Examples of ordinary peoples experiences gently invite readers to a deeper and more holistic understanding of Christian theology and practice, one that recognizes the centrality of the body in each.
In the early chapters of this collection, Thomas Ryan and James Wiseman argue convincingly that Christian theology honors the body, perhaps to a higher degree than other world religions. They remind us of a basic and unique tenet of Christianity - the incarnation of God himself in Jesus Christ. Ryan then provides examples of the ways that Christian denominations already incorporate the body into worship and prayer. He also shares inspiration from other world religions.