Friday, February 27, 2009

Bumper Sticker Theology

Let's face it: nobody likes your bumper sticker.

For every person who likes your bumper sticker, there are two others who'd like to run you off the road for it. I'm one of them.

Many people have written much more eloquently about the reduction of public discourse to "sound bites" and "sloganeering". They function much like stereotypes in that they convey a world of standardized details in a handy label. Like junk food, they are tasty as a treat but sickening as a full time diet.

Today's inane bumper sticker read:
We are spiritual people having a bodily experience.
The nuances and vagaries of what is wrong with this statement I am probably not qualified to tell, but in the main it misses the point of what we are.

We are NOT mere flesh with no immortal spirit, same as the animals; but God made flesh and matter and saw that it was good.

We are NOT merely pure spirits or intellects or even "consciousnesses" -- those are angels. We are NOT angels. But God gave us an imperishable spirit made after his own image and saw that it was good.

We are NOT even souls who happen to inhabit bodies or "shells" for a short time until we die and our souls go to Heaven or Hell (Purgatory is just a pit stop.) Our souls have NOT been hanging around in Heaven waiting for our turn at a body.

And we are sure as shootin' NOT spiritual people having a bodily experience.

What we ARE is that amazing and absolutely unique creature who is both body and soul at the same time. Your soul is not "more you" than your body, and your body is not "more real" than your soul.

Body and soul go together always and everywhere -- that's why we die if they're separated; and that separation is unnatural -- it only exists because of sin. That's why we will be reunited with our bodies on the Last Day. For us to be completely alive in Christ, we're going to need our bodies and souls conjoined. We are ONE thing, not two things stuck together.

Our selves are both mundane and mystical, at once apprehendable and ineffable. Our bodies are a prayer and a temple. Pope John Paul II wrote extensively on the Theology of the Body which attempts to explore the mystery and holiness of our existence. We have the secret of God's inner life stamped into our natures. It goes on and on ...

I need my own bumper sticker that says:
Your bumper sticker is stupid.

2 comments:

Kardinal said...

Tell that to the people with the

"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."
-- Mother Teresa

Bumper stickers, huh?

Nod said...

There's an exception to every rule, my friend.

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