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The Rules of the Tomb

Yes, I heard the good news of Easter that the tomb does not rule us. And yet, just last week around 240 girls were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria after their security guards were murdered. Do we honestly think those little girls will not be raped or sold into sexual slavery? Then, on the same day I learned of that news I also heard that rebels in South Sudan rounded up villagers and, after sorting out which ethnicities were which, proceeded to “cleanse” the village by murdering over two hundred and wounding another four hundred. But first the rebels were told to rape the women as a  part of their war strategy. These two instances are evidence of the death-dealing forces that my work is combating. It is  a power that despises and violates the feminine, that seeks to impose power over the most vulnerable, that fearlessly subjugates bodies as a means to accomplish political goals and trivializes life itself. These stories are only the latest to exhibit the ways the tomb rules the world globally.

Yet in the US we have only to ask trans people about their fears for their safety on US streets, or any gay young adult about being bullied and being called an abomination to God, or any young woman who cannot afford contraception, or any mother about the continued pregnancy being forced upon her even though it jeopardizes her own health or her life and we can get a sense of how the tomb rules to control our bodies, our lives and our loves in our own culture.

Some look at my ministry and, no doubt, wonder if I am sex-obsessed? But the sexual minority communities for example, are the first to correct the impression that the issue for them is about sex. It is about civil rights and justice. At the heart of erotophobia is fear, shame, and guilt about the body while at the heart of the tomb lies the stinking idea that bodies simply don’t count, not the bodies of one’s enemies or one’s neighbors, not even one’s own. Hence, the disconnect between body and spirit, the alienation between ourselves and our neighbors. Humanity is spiritually separated from the creation itself. And, unfortunately, the Christian Church has enflamed that kind of separation by making the flesh carnal and therefore inferior to the spirit never recognizing and seldom teaching that it is through our bodies that we experience the goodness of God, the sensuality of the creation, and the embodiment of the intimacy that makes us human.

This is about body justice, or rather, injustice – not sex – and it is at the heart of the Christian story that teaches God takes human form, sanctifying the earthly experience in the flesh as good, as blessed, as just.  The Easter story is that Love triumphs ultimately over the death-dealing tomb. And yet, we must grapple daily with the power of the tomb, the power of these forces of ignorance and fear of the body that leads to the crucifixions of vulnerable bodies, of feminine bodies and non-conforming bodies, even bodies that simply want to freely love and express themselves creatively and intimately. So my question is, can we as people of faith continue to turn a blind eye to the way Christian teaching has promoted and still continues to promote misogyny and anti-body prejudice that in the tomb of the world will always, ultimately, engender violence toward the body? We avoid the squeamish topic of our bodies at our peril. Can you support this work?

 

 

 
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