Our church was crazy as shit. Everybody was constantly telling everybody that they needed to get saved and everybody was always trying to get saved. To say that it was a confusing environment was an understatement. Like most similar environments, we were taught that our bodies were bad. I can promise you that our youth group talked much more often about saving yourself until marriage than it did Jesus. Regardless, one night was particularly crazy.
Everybody had already gotten jazzed up on contemporary Christian music. Honestly, I think the repeating words and chords actually put me and everyone else in a trance. With a loud run and thunderous voice, our teacher welcomed us. He was the type of guy that you didn’t know whether he was going to talk to you about Jesus or kick your ass. Quickly, he dismissed the girls into another room. We all knew that a sex talk was coming up. In fact, some of the other guys were downright giddy…as they didn’t get a chance to talk about sex except when we did these little talks. At length, our teacher repeatedly railed against the body. Eventually, he made it to masturbation. After a few words about the dangers of lust, he looked into our eyes and said, “If you masturbate…your penis will fall off.” A friend next to me leaned over and proudly said, “That’s not true…I know.”
As I grew, I chose to believe that my body was not something I had to reject in order to know God…in fact, I began to believe that I could somehow find God in my body.
While Ben Riggs doesn’t spend an extended amount of time on masturbation in his book Finding God in the Body, he does teach us about finding God in all other sorts of ways. Spirituality becomes a dance between God and the being. Prayer becomes an embodied practice. Eternity is found within. Dreams are whispers from the God deep inside. Nightmares are rejecting the self. Sin is pushing God out of the body. I loved how Riggs transformed all of these terms. Actually, I could feel my body tingling all over.
Honestly, I find most books on spirituality to be dreadfully boring. I’m just not interested in a path to this and a path to that. I’m more interested in a path to another book. As an activistic theologian, I’m not interested in cross-legged kumbayas when the shots start firing. With that said, Riggs does something very different. Riggs speaks to the God who is with us…the God that inhabits the body and is willing to take the shots with us. There is something about Eden. I think about that place all the time…I dream of getting back there. Beautifully, Riggs describes the unity of God and humanity in that place. Through a wild variety of quotes, stories and theologies, Ben is helping us get back to that place. Though I might disagree with the occasional theological/doctrinal point, I stand with Riggs and shout with all that I am…
Come Queen Jesus!
Finding God in the Body is available for purchase at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MXO8PCV/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1