Sunday, January 21, 2007

Body Image

During our weekend retreat's worship and devotional moments, this Sunday's epistle lesson -- Paul's metaphorical Body of Christ and its unity expressed in diversity --was a frequently cited text.

For some reason, it's not a passage that is speaking to me in a positive way. Lately I've been feeling like a coccyx or a tonsil or a wisdom tooth. And I have again been informed, indirectly, by some supposed sisters and brothers in Christ, that I'm really more of a malignancy that needs to be excised, or a cleft palate that needs to be fixed, or at best an ugly birthmark that the rest of the Body can perhaps tolerate, out of charity, as long as I don't try to pass myself off as normal, 'cause the Bible tells them so.

As the actor asked the director, What's my motivation? What is my motivation to continue to choose to be treated badly, and moreover to drag someone I love into this drama as well?


Beth said...

Hi LC. You are not a an appendix or coccyx. You are a very "heady" person. I promise never to say "I do not need you."

PS I liked the epistle a lot, because it gave Beth Jr. a chance to sort of understand the scripture a little bit. He and I identified all the mentioned body parts while it was read.

Anonymous said...

You are amazing, prophetic to many. Be well, dear one.

Bag Lady said...

You note that the lesson is on "Paul's metaphorical Body of Christ and its unity expressed in diversity." There's nothing wrong with the passage, or you. But clearly a lot of your "brothers and sisters in Christ" don't understand diversity -- just because they won't accept or recognize you as a member of the Body doesn't make it so. (I know, that doesn't make it easier, but there are many of us out there who won't say "I don't need you" -- I pray that you encounter more of us.)

net said...


Anonymous said...

It HURTS you but it is really more about THEM when these things are said. As a reader, I know you only as your thoughts and heart and perhaps we readers know you better than anyone who sees you or "hears" about you.
PS, my blogger sign-in name got changed by accident, but I'm a consistant reader and commentor.

Anonymous said...

Maybe your motivation is to truly live out the good news of God's loving embrace for all of Her children, and to enjoy the freedom for which Christ set us free?

Maybe your motivation is to address the ignorance that has threatened to dim the light of the Gospel in every age, but has never failed to quench the Spirit?

You know, in terms of being poorly treated for the sake of the Gospel, you're in pretty good company: Jesus himself, Paul, Luther, MLK Jr. ... It is probably poor comfort, but I admire you for sticking out your call in a "place" that isn't at all easy to be --especially when you have to deal more closely with the [ahem] "anal openings" of the body of Christ.

It gets particularly difficult when those we love are or could be wounded because of our vocation. I remember Bp. Gene Robinson talking about what it was like to buckle his partner into a bullet-proof vest in preparation for his consecration. Putting on his own vest didn't have the same emotional weight ...

I guess you have to ask yourself if you'd be satisfied doing something else?

And by all means, you and FT can come aboard the Michigan Minivan of Justice. Perhaps we should arrange to visit the HQ of your Synod?

Tom in Ontario said...

Amen Dona.

LC, maybe your motivation is to show the church that we need all parts of the body. You are the thumb.

That comes from my children's chat yesterday, excerpted below.

"It's like the time the fingers on my left hand were having an argument about who was most important. The first finger said that he was most important because he was the one who gave directions when someone was lost (point with your first finger). The second finger said that he was most important because he was the tallest. He believed that only big people can do big things. The next finger said that he was most important because he was the wealthiest (He got to wear the ring). The littlest finger thought and thought why he was most important and then it came to him. 'I'm most important because I'm the toughest!' Toughest they thought... but you're the smallest. 'Yes, but when our owner is preaching a sermon, gets all excited and starts pounding on the pulpit I'm the one who takes the brunt.' But the thumb was wise and asked the fingers to pick up the coin in the right hand by themselves. Each one tried, but on their own they just couldn't do it. 'We need each other,' said the thumb. 'We need to work together. Just like God wants everyone to work together to be his church.'

And maybe your motivation is that you don't want to leave the church to a bunch of bigots.

Mary Sue said...

It's in the next part of that passage-- can the hand say, "I wanna be the head, you can't be the head anymore, I'm gonna cut you off and ride on top of the neck!"

Nope. And no matter how much I sometimes might like to kick certain people out of the Christian Club, I can't. And neither can anyone else.

cheesehead said...

LC, I'm so sorry that this ignorance has caused you pain.

You will never be anything other than a loved, cherished Child of God.

Those who can't see that are "way fireplaced" as the kids would say.

Anonymous said...

Well, this is all about calling. If you are called here, you won't be able to leave. If you are called elsewhere, you won't be able to stay where you are.

This isn't about your motivation, really -- so that is why it feels so frustrating when you think it is. This is about where God has chosen you to be. I grappled many years ago before I realized that I was called to seminary, but not called to ordained ministry.

So take a deep breath before you dive into the "surrender" end of the spiritual pool, and then let your silence tell you where God is calling you now.

What we all know is that God does have something special and real and good in mind for someone as special and real and good as you are, my sister in Christ.


Anonymous said...


You need to enjoy being you. God gave you yourself, and wants you to become ever more your true self until you give yourself back to God.

Know that I and many others find inspiration in reading your blog.

As for what part of the body of Christ to try to be, I can only speak for myself. I am proud call myself a "boil on the bum" of the ELCA, a temporary infection which God will remove in God's good time.

Anonymous said...

Here in Atlanta, I have been pondering that message from Paul a great deal. A friend of a dear friend declared this week that the ELCA has an autoimmune disorder. Let us pray for its complete recovery. And in the meantime, let us be healers for one another and undo the damage that the body, in its ignorance and illness, is doing to its most cherished and beloved members in Christ.

Grace said...


I have to agree with everything that your friends are sharing and more. We're unconditionally accepted and loved in Jesus Christ. (Our identity and security are in Him, apart from the opinions of others.) To me, that's what really matters, and being in the will of God.

It seems as if you have a ministry to some of these folks. God keeps putting you in their path again and again. The Lord just strengthen and fill you with grace and wisdom in this.

And, as far as I"m concerned, LC, thank God for your witness!!

Hugs and prayers.

LutheranChik said...

Thanks, everyone, for the encouragement and advice. Sometimes we know it but just have to hear it from our sisters and brothers.