Body and Soul

I was chatting with some friends earlier this week. I love to have good conversations. If we can imbibe coffee or enjoy birdsong whilst talking, all the better. Alas, it was an indoor conversation, but there was plenteous caffeine. And so it goes.

Anyway, we were discussing the importance of physical location in worship, and at one point, someone said something like, “But of course, your soul is the real you…” and the conversation went on. I circled back during a lull and focused on that phrase.

The soul is the real you? The spiritual is the best indicator of who you are? In February, we buried my Grandmom. I did her eulogy. And I heard a lot of the same talk. People would look at her in the casket and say, “We know that this is not Mary Kay. She’s up in heaven right now.” Then who did we put in the ground?

You are your soul. And you are your body. And you are your emotions and your mind and your will. You do not simply bear the image of God. You are the image of God. Otherwise, the resurrection of the body makes no sense. Christians aren’t Platonists. Christians aren’t Gnostics. We aren’t materialists.

The body and the soul belong together. Death is just a brief separation. We put my Grandmom in the ground. And my Grandmom is also in heaven. One day, her body will sprout like a flower from the grave and her renewed soul will be reunited with a renewed body.

That’s the hope.

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Cultivate a Little Wonder

G.K. Chesterton (a wonderful balloon of a man) once said, “The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.” This world is stuffed full of wonders. Right now, I’m re-watching Planet Earth, that excellent BBC documentary about God’s green earth. It’s not just David Attenborough’s beautiful narration that makes this series wonderful. It’s the sense of wonder that it instills in me.

Yes, it is full of wonders. That’s obvious. The largest living organism in the world (a sequoia named General Sherman) stuns me even as I sit on the couch covered in blankets. The fledgling flight of mandarin ducklings makes me giggle. The loss of a snow goose gosling to feed starving arctic fox kits fills me with cringing shock and somber acceptance all at once. One dies so another can live and God feeds them all.

But this world of nature does more than show me splendors. It creates a space of fullness within me. It fuels worship, I think. It makes me realize how small I am in this blue speck of dust that slingshots through a vacuum. And that makes me smile.

Watch nature shows. Look at birds. Listen to Bach. Climb a tree. Do a math problem (if you enjoy math). Have a hug. However you get at it, cultivate wonder. And be thankful.

Horse-Feed Propoganda

I haven’t been into breakfast for a while now. I think I stopped eating it in college. Over the years, I’ve been rebuked and scolded for this in varying degrees of shock and incredulous outrage, but I haven’t felt the need to change. I just don’t wake up hungry. Breakfast, as a meal, hasn’t made sense to me in years. I just ate dinner last night, so why should I need to eat again first thing in the morning? I’m usually still stuffed from last night. And if I’m not, a fried egg on toast can solve that. No more, but often less than that does the trick when necessary.

That might be strange, I know. We’re taught three square meals a day, but that schedule hasn’t worked for my appetites since I left home for college and started timing my own meals. A few years ago, I found a kindred spirit in the writings of Robert Farrar Capon. He and I would’ve probably disagreed on many a theological flavor, but when he writes about food, it’s deliciously accurate. His quasi-spiritual cookbook, The Marriage Supper of the Lamb, articulated my thoughts on eating schedules and habits eerily well. And when he touches on breakfast, I rejoice to find my thoughts in another man’s words.

“If it were not for the propaganda of the horse-feed barons, most of us would probably be more than content with fruit and coffee” (Marriage Supper, p.146). Yes and amen. And it seems that his intuition wasn’t too far off. New research suggests that breakfast isn’t the vital and crucial building block to a life of health and happiness that Kellogg told us it would be. Perhaps breakfast really is just time to be left alone with one’s thoughts (with coffee and crust).

Exercise, of course. Eat breakfast or don’t, if you’re not a growing child or a highly active person. If you do, thank your Creator. But don’t die on that hill. And either way, let’s all keep our voices down before we’ve had our coffee.