Saturday, March 17, 2018
"Love Thy Body" by Nancy Pearcey. A Review
Nancy Pearcey’s 336 page stout hardback, “Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality,” came out in January 2018, and hit the ground running! It is a book focused on the human body, what it means to be made in the image of God, and how our culture has increasingly become anti-body and anti-human. And it is a book written in the utmost seriousness.
According to Pearcey, and my own experiences, we have moved into a Gnostic era, what Hans Jonas defined as an anti-cosmic dualism. In this Gnostic stage, the body is commodified, treated as a malleable substance that can be discarded or remade to suit the customer’s satisfaction, because it is treated as other than “me”. The statement usually runs something like this: “Why are you focusing on this outside stuff (body; genitalia; physique; etc.). The real me is on the inside!”
Unfortunately this kind of dualism is the offspring of Christians in North America over the last 200 years. I have heard and read numerous Christians talk about the body as the prison house of the soul. Even while attending Christian funerals, how often I have heard ministers point to the body in the casket and say with soothing, mournful words, “That’s not your Uncle Orval. That’s just the outside. He’s up in heaven!” It is rather regrettable that we have forgotten how God made humankind body and soul. And when God became human he became fully human – body and soul. He died to save us, body and soul; he arose from the dead, body and soul; and when he returns he will raise us from the dead with him, body and soul! And that’s where Pearcey’s book comes in and helps to correct some of our shoddy, slapdash thinking.
My only gripe with the book is the sense of alarm. Thankfully it doesn’t rise to a fever pitch, but it is noticeable. On the other hand, the volume is jam-packed with personal stories, quotations, studies, and research. The endnotes will give the reader loads of places to go to find sources for further investigations. For example, while I was reading I started looking up some of the people the author quoted and ran across a website (Livingout.org) that is filled with several testimonies of people who are same-sex attracted, but have become Christians and have chosen to follow Jesus and Jesus’ way; and that site is stocked with solid articles on the subject.
“Love Thy Body” is a must read for all who claim to be followers of Jesus. Remember that Pearcey is focusing on the bigger picture, and not getting down into the personal struggles of your nephew or grandchild, though the stories she recounts do get there. Almost all of her material will help Christians clear their heads and hearts from the anti-body, anti-human, anti-cosmic dualism of our time. And it gives out a better picture than Gnosticism does on what it means to be human. Grab a copy and read it as soon as you can!