Reading List

I wish there were more people out there wrestling with and writing about issues of embodiment. Here are a few particularly helpful authors that I’ve found (in no particular order). I’ll keep updating this page as my list grows. Feel free to share your own suggestions in the comments section.

Jean Vanier / The Broken Body: Journey to Wholeness (1988, Paulist Press)- Lyrical and deeply human meditations about brokenness and the body of Christ.

Stephanie Paulsell / Honoring the Body: Meditations on a Christian Practice (2002, Jossey-Bass)- This book was passed on to me by a friend when I was going through a very dark period of dealing with body issues. It was balm for my blistering soul.

Deborah Beth Creamer / Disability and Christian Theology: Embodied Limits and Constructive Possibilities (2009, Oxford University Press)- More academic, but still worth reading for her creative ways of exploring the theological weight of disabilities and the universality of human limitation.

Amy Johnson Frykholm / See Me Naked: Stories of Sexual Exile in American Christianity (2011, Beacon Press)- I deeply respect how Amy has woven together real life stories of people wrestling with sexuality and belonging within the church.

Christine D.  Pohl / Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition (1999, W.B. Eerdmans)- Not directly related to embodiment, but what is hospitality but an embodiment of the Gospel’s message of God welcoming all in Christ?

Constance Rhodes / Life Inside the “Thin” Cage: A Personal Look into the Hidden World of a Chronic Dieter (2003, Shaw Books)- A compassionate view into the body image issues many women face.

Elizabeth Lewis Hall / “What are Bodies for? An Integrative Examination of Embodiment” (2010, Christian Scholars Review, 39, no. 2) – Hall puts the body in its proper place, comparing society’s messages, social science findings, and biblical perspectives.

Justin O’Brien / A Meeting of Mystic Paths: Christianity and Yoga (1996, Yes International Publishers)- Yoga-lovers out there who are confused about how the spirituality behind yoga compares to Christian traditions may find this book useful.

R. Marie Griffith / Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity (2004, University of California Press)-  An anthropological study of the relationship between Christian piety and the contemporary American dieting culture.

Flora Slosson Wuellner / Prayer and Our Bodies (1987, Nashville, TN: The Upper Room)- Beautiful reflections and guided prayers that recognize the body as a valuable partner in our spiritual life.

Melanie Thernstrom / The Pain ChroniclesCures, Myths, Mysteries, Prayers, Diaries, Brain Scans, Healing, and the Science of Suffering (2010, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)- The author weaves science, history, philosophy and personal narrative into this fascinating exploration of chronic pain.

Sara Miles / Take This Bread (2008, Ballantine Books)- A spiritual memoir from an unlikely source about the inseparable nature of spiritual and physical hunger, and about how being fed from God’s table leads directly to feeding others.

Christiane Northrup / Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing (2002, Bantam Books)- Part women’s health guide, part personal narrative, part social commentary from an ob-gyn who discovered that holistic healing for women couldn’t happen without addressing our deepest emotional scars.

Barbara Brown Taylor/ An Altar in the World / (2009, HarperOne) – Reading this book makes the scales fall from your eyes and reawakens you to the sacredness of our everyday life in the body.

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