Thursday, April 2, 2015

Paul on Christian Spirituality

In thinking about spirituality from a modern context, one gets the strong sense that spirituality is divorced from physicality, or embodied living. It is seen as dissimilar from the mind, and is projected—in some sense—into the realm of metaphysics. Thus, for many Christians, it has little to with how one lives in any embodied sense. Rather, it is exercising the soul and reducing the body to a secondary tier. 



Outside the church I believe many people do view spirituality in a more holistic sense, ala yoga or meditation. Thus in the Church, spirituality is seen as something distinct from materiality.

For Paul, I suspect it is the opposite. I am reminded of Romans 8:23, “the redemption [or liberation] of our bodies.” Paul seemed to believe redemption, in some sense, affected the physical body, and thus did not view these things as opposed to one another; after all, we are not redeemed ‘from’ our bodies. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul spends half the chapter discussing ‘how’ the body will be transformed into a “spiritual body.” Spirituality is not a metaphysical abstraction, but something that touches the totality of a human person. Spirituality seems to be in a mutual dance with physicality, and Paul’s modus operandi does not appear to divorce the two. Rather, they are united, such as the church is united to one another (c.f. 1 Cor. 12). So we are quite different from Paul, and this is something in which we ought to tremble.


NQ

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