Sunday, April 23, 2006

Book Review: The Blessed

The Blessed: a sinner reflects on living the Christian life is a beautiful, poetic series of meditations on what it means to live as a Christian in the messiness of life with Jesus' Beatitudes as the springboard for reflection. It's the sort of book that you can open at random and any paragraph on which your eye alights is filled with profoundly simple insights expressed in language that penetrates to the heart. The author, Sharon McMahon Moffitt, has lived a down-to-earth life and it shines through in her writing. Here's just one paragraph from the book:
I've done my level best to keep my physical and spiritual lives seperate, to pursue God with my spiritual heart and ignore the fact that my hysical heart pumps real blood through a very real body. I have tried to deny the fact that I actually get hungry despite being overweight, that I am a sexual being who needs to be touched and held despite the plethora of fat jokes suggesting I should crawl under a porch somewhere until I can shed those ugly pounds (and maybe do something about unsightly facial hair while I'm under there). The whole thing is utterly humiliating. And messy. As I once expressed in a poem of my own titled "Bodies and Blood," "it's hard to treat them sacramentally, these / frail, failing malodorous bags of ourselves," and though there may still exist some believers who take issue with this, I believe we must somehow effect a reconciliation between our bodies and our spirits if we hope to fully appreciate the inheritance we are promised. It was, after all, Jesus' body that was broken, his blood that was shed. There was nothing tidy about the crucifixion. To strive for integrity means striving for wholeness; in fact the word is rooted in mathematics, where we learn that an integer is a whole number. To be integrated is to have all the fragmented pieces of ourselves come together to make a whole. It is a good thing, a righteous thing, to make peace with our bodies. To come before God whole.
It's wonderful stuff. Fresh, creative, earthy, inspiring, humourous, and honest. A book worth chewing over for a long time. Related Links

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