On Poop, Suffering, and the Incarnate

Last week I turned in an essay on children’s stories, poop, and suffering. (Hang with me, I know. This was a theological reflection on Daniel Nayeri’s Everything Sad is Untrue.)

Essentially, what I was getting at was that in a world of brokenness, left to our own devices, there is not much we can produce that is not just a regurgitation of the brokenness we have taken in. But a redeemed life illustrates something different. The sheer magnitude of our suffering does not need to produce an equal brokenness in our lives, but can instead produce a remarkable fruit of hope, perseverance, and faithfulness. But this only comes in embracing the truth of the identity to whom we belong—the God who sees and suffers alongside us.

Jen Pollock Michel is a contemporary theologian whose writing has been a great gift to me over the years, especially in the past couple weeks when thinking through the material nature of what we take in and what we produce with our lives. I thought I’d share her words with you:

“We will need something more than contemplative souls, something more than cerebral agility, something more than big theological words. We will need bodies. We will need lettuce leaves. We will need leaky breasts and someone to tell us to taste and see that the Lord is good.
“We are tempted to look for God in the invisible, in the intangible, in the ethereal—and the God of Spirit is invisible, intangible, and ethereal. But the incarnation is also the death of abstraction. Salvation came through a body, redemption came through a man. An unbounded, incorporeal God of Spirit clothed himself with flesh and entered the world of matter, never fearing that the act would sully his holiness.”
Surprised by Paradox

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