One of my favorite bands to listen to right now is Death Cab for Cutie. I have been especially drawn to the song Soul Meets Body, and have been wondering ways to implement my love for that song into a blog post. Why? I’m just drawn to the lyrics and the haunting melody and music. The song begins with these words:
I want to live where soul meets body
And let the sun wrap its arms around me
And bathe my skin in water cool and cleansing
And feel, feel what its like to be new
I am captivated by this concept of soul meets body. In the book by Rodney Clapp Tortured Wonders: Christian Spirituality for People, not Angels he says this:
Theology, or thinking about God, who by definition has no physical body, usually is a highly disembodied practice. It links to textual artifacts (especially the Scriptures) and ocasionally to archeological artifacts. But it is not hard, when one is doing theology, to forget about the body. Maybe thinking and writing about theology, and spirituality, should be done in the course of physical examinations (although it would be hard to concentrate). That would keep us down to earth and aware of the bodies that we possess, that we are, as human creatures. There are, I learned that day in the doctor’s office, few pretensions to angelic, ethereal spirituality when your elbows are on the cold plastic of the examination table and you hear rubber gloves being snapped on behind you.
The Scriptures affirm this idea of flesh, and in John 1:14 we read, “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” In Philippians 2:7 we read, “…but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form….”. In Colossians 1:19, Paul writes, “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” There is certainly an affirmation of God in the flesh in our Scriptures, and his life was not a disembodied spiritual existence.
The other day I was watching the movie The Doctor with William Hurt. Hurt plays a California surgeon who is basically aloof from his patients until he becomes a patient himself. And it is only through his own bodily cancer, and his experience as a patient, that he then begins to understand and empathize with his own patients. I remember watching this in my Ethics class a few years ago, and it made me think about my own current work in Marriage and Family Therapy. It has been said that for us to be therapists, and to have never gone through therapy ourselves…that could almost be considered unethical. If I have never sat on the side of a client and understood their experience how could I counsel them.
I think the same should be said for pastors as well. I think that as pastors we often point people to only spriitual things, while disembodying them, and failing to acknowledge the flesh. Not only the flesh of Jesus Christ and his humanity, but the flesh of our own lives, for good or for bad. When we live lives that are wholistic/holistic, acknowledging both the role of soul and body, then I believe we can best live integrated lives as Christians. Sometimes as pastors we sit behind our doors locked away in books and we fail to walk in the shoes of the lives that we minister to. That seems unethical.
So as I listen to this song “Soul Meets Body”, I am reminded of the colission between diety and humanity, and how that colission cleanses our lives, and brings something new out of them.