The Body in Christian Teaching, Faith and Practice
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Vile Bodies are bodies that have been vilified by Christian thought, often with catastrophic consequences. The bodies of women, Jews, Muslims, slaves, Blacks, LGBT people, children, wives have all been harmed by negative Christian teaching about bodies. This book sidesteps the endless controversies in the churches about sexuality and gender and goes deeper – unmasking instead the abusive theology that ensures these controversies and their harmful outcomes persist. Drawing extensively from scripture, and from two millennia of church history and theology, Vile Bodies slowly exposes how churches have preferred doctrine to compassion, orthodoxy to justice, and legalism to love, culminating in the global abuse crises in the churches that have largely destroyed their moral credibility.
"... unflinchingly describes millennia of sexuality-related discrimination, exploitation, and trauma suffered by believers. Adrian Thatcher offers an insistent call for how all churches (not just Anglican) can and must affirm bodies as sites of well-being, gender justice, sexual inclusivity, and erotic joy." -- Margaret Kamitsuka
"At last, an impassioned, thoughtful, theologically- and historically-rooted account of Christian views of the body which doesn’t shrink from naming the many ways in which Christian teaching has supported or excused the spiritual and physical abuse of sexed and gendered bodies of women, racial and religious groups. Thatcher speaks to current debates about women’s ordination, race, marriage, LGBTQIA+ inclusion, conversion therapy and shows how theology has been used to justify shameful abuse. He calls for a new and honest theology of the body which challenges the churches to recognize that the body is a place of joy, love and pleasure." -- Helen King