Jean Denton, executive director of the National Episcopal Health Ministry, writes, "The health care system knows much about the cure of the body, though precious little about the care of the soul. The church, conversely, cares so much for the soul that it fails to take the body seriously. The church rarely speaks of stewardship of the body; it forgets to remind us that our physical selves are treasures from God loaned to us for tending." She has edited this collection of essays on the spiritual dimensions of the body as a temple of God, as St. Paul put it. It's a fine resource to help small groups in Christian communities upgrade their views.
James B. Nelson ponders the flesh as a means of God's revelation. Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendell sheds light on Jesus' bodily activities and in another piece writes thoughtfully about "Touching and Being Touched." Flora Slossom Wuellner enables us to see the revisions we must make if we have come to hate our bodies, and Marilyn Chandler McEntyre shares the benefits of her experiences in a Saturday morning movement class. Bruce G. Epperly presents the art of eating from a Christian perspective. Other chapters explore illness, health and justice, and ways in which congregations can begin to address health issues in a sensitive and caring manner.
Small groups will especially appreciate Denton's inclusion of poetic gems such as "We Awaken in Christ's Body" by Symeon the New Theologian; Brian Wren's hymn "Good is the Flesh"; Madeleine L'Engle's poem from A Winter's Love; and Susan McCaslin's poem "Feet Addressing Head." Since we are so set in our tendency to separate body from soul, sometimes only poetry can move us to change our attitudes.