Is the church a body or a building? Card-carrying member of a church or cross-bearer in the world, how do you view the body of Christ?
Season four of The Raceless Gospel podcast invites listeners to take a fresh look at what it means to follow Jesus – to the ends of the earth or into a church building.
Faith expressed in our daily living versus 60 minutes of pew sitting, The Raceless Gospel podcast’s newest season, “Body/ Building,” questions how we look at the Christian faith as expressed as a body and a building while calling Jesus’ followers together — head, shoulders, knees and toes.
Unpacking the meaning of discipleship and what it looks like to walk with Jesus, my guests and I will talk about an embodied faith and what often gets stuck behind church doors.
Not to be confused with the argument of which came first, the chicken or the egg, followers of Jesus joined a body — not a building. “Members of one another,” we are head, shoulders, knees and toes. Body-temples, we host the Holy Spirit and are living souls.
A body of believers, we are flesh and bone — not brick and mortar. Still, too many Christians define discipleship solely by Sunday morning attendance and the upkeep of a building while maintaining capitalism’s status quo, segregation and patriarchal systems.
The church is called the body of Christ. “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way,” Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus (1:22, NRSV). According to him, membership is defined as belonging to Jesus.
Called “the crown of Paulism” by Welsh theologian C.H. Dodd, the letter to the Ephesians, will provide the scripture readings for this fourth season and serve as a theological thread throughout each of the five episodes. The Raceless Gospel is not only the name of the podcast but the goal.
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians provides yet another reminder of where this series is going.
“In former generations, this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,” Paul said (Ephesians 3:5-6, NRSV).
Continuing to give voice to the call for togetherness, the emphasis remains on embodiment and the vision of all members coming together.
“In the face of our devaluations of the flesh that embodies God and the earth, which is God’s home, God sent us a message: from now on, I am identified with this bodiliness, this fleshiness, this materiality, this sensuality, this worldliness, this passion,” wrote Thomas Ryan in Reclaiming the Body in Christian Spirituality.
Consequently, it is the body that needs building, supporting, healing and restoring. The church does not need new curtains or carpet. Instead, the body of Christ needs new visions and dreams as well as strength for the journey ahead.
The first four episodes are named after a popular children’s nursery rhyme: “Head” with Bren Dubay, “Shoulders” with Ben Boswell, “Knees” with Justin Fung, and “Toes” with Miguel De La Torre. The podcast series concludes with “Body/Building” with Tamice Spencer-Helms.
The hope is that in naming the body parts, listeners will be reminded of the interconnectedness of believing and behaving as Christians. As the body of Christ, we are in this together.
The first episode drops today and is available on all streaming platforms.