- Oct 2021
Sallie McFague, in The Meaning of Life in the World Religions, writes an article entitled, “The World as God’s Body.”
Evolution is not only or solely biological; it is also historical and cultural. Once evolutionary history reaches the human, self-conscious stage, natural selection is not the only operative principle, for natural selection can be countered with the principle of solidarity.
The World as God’s Body
I was watching a video in a Trimtab Space Camp on regenerative agriculture featuring Vandana Shiva. She said, “It all begins with food, because food is the currency of life.”
I connected this thought to Sallie McFague, who writes in The World as God’s Body about embodiment and incarnation.
Jesus’ eating stories and practices suggest that physical needs are basic and must be met — food is not a metaphor here but should be taken literally. All creatures deserve what is basic to bodily health. But food also serves as a metaphor of fulfillment at the deepest level of our longings and desires. The Church picked up and developed the second metaphorical emphasis, making eating imagery the ground of its vision of spiritual fulfillment, especially in the eucharist. But just as the tradition focused on the second birth (redemption), often neglecting the first (creation), so also it spiritualized hunger as the longing of the soul for God, conveniently forgetting the source of the metaphor in basic bodily needs. But the aspects of Jesus’ ministry on which we have focused — the parables, healings, and eating stories — do not forget this dimension; in fact, Jesus’ activities and message, according to this interpretation, are embarrassingly bodily. The parables focus on oppression that people feel due to their concrete, cultural setting, as servants rather than masters, poor rather than rich, Gentile rather than Jew; the healing stories are concerned with the bodily pain that some endure; the eating stories have to do with physical hunger and the humiliation of exclusion. None of these is primarily spiritual, though each assumes the psychosomatic unity of human nature and can serve as a symbol of eschatological fulfillment — the overcoming of all hierarchies, the health and harmony of the cosmos and all its creatures, the satiety of the deepest groaning and longings of creation.
(The Meaning of Life in the World Religions, page 296)
I recently found this book at Value Village while exploring the non-fiction books section. What caught my eye was the back cover’s reference to Sallie McFague. I learned about Sallie McFague from Tripp Fuller’s podcast, Homebrewed Christianity, when she died. He dedicated an episode to her influence. Her name also came up in conversation with Sophia at the Faith, Arts + Culture course at Bez Arts Hub.
When I read the title of the article, *The World as God’s Body,” I decided to purchase the book. I have been exploring this theme as it relates to the Gaia hypothesis in articles such as, A Prayer for the Earth.
- Trimtab Space Camp
- Gaia hypothesis
- Tripp Fuller
- Buckminster Fuller Institute
- Vancouver School of Theology
- Bez Arts Hub
- Sallie McFague
- Vandana Shiva