Bodied Grace

I gave this as a public lecture at Luther College on February 10, 2010. It pretty long, so I’m just attaching it as a link to the pdf document. The subsections include:

  • Location matters.
  • A peculiar challenge.
  • Homosexuality is NOT the issue.
  • The conversation we’re not at all ready to have.
  • Bodied Grace.
  • The voices we need present.
  • How we approach the Bible.
  • What we might hope to find in the Bible.
  • Living theology.
  • Finally: gender and sexuality.
  • Incarnation and the Life of the Church.
  • Concluding.

The whole talk can be downloaded here: Bodied Grace: rethinking sexuality from the Bible to the body—as though both  the Body of Christ and the Earth depended on it (because they do).

4 thoughts on “Bodied Grace

  1. Thank you for posting the text of this talk! I was there for it and thoroughly enjoyed it and will enjoy reading it again and again. My daughters and I do origami and I wondered if you realized that you had made the “flapping bird” version of the peace crane and that it flaps its wings when manipulated just right. I thought it could be the crowning example of the miraculous work that comes about when all the folds are laid down just right. Thanks again for your talk and the larger work that you do in the church and the world.

    • Hi, Randi,
      I didn’t know exactly what it was called, but I learned to fold it years ago in a Lutheran Peace Fellowship project. Yes, I should have tried to flap the wings. It’s a bit ungainly when your paper starts out 11 x 11 inches, but I agree, it completes the image to show it “folds-in-motion.” Next time I might try that!

  2. Sorry – I forgot to add one other comment when I made my first post. I really loved the question that came from an audience member at your Luther talk who commented on the fact that other movements have found much of their energy in a common language of song — Where Have All the Flowers Gone, We Shall Overcome etc.. He was basically asking “where are the songs that will help build communal support for and celebration of GLBTQ people?”. I wondered if there is a branch or committee of Lutherans Concerned or other that is specifically charged with developing the music that will melt hearts and open minds. I’ve read your beautiful hymns and they certainly have a key role to play. I wonder though about the simpler tunes and music that can be sung by a crowd without having to necessarily have printed words or formal accompaniement. I can think of one that I learned recently where the words are “In this circle no fear, in this circle deep peace, in this circle great happiness, in this circle safety”. It doesn’t speak directly about GLBTQ issues or relationships but at least sets a tone of welcoming and safety. How great it would be to have a booklet of songs gathered or composed that could be distributed to congregations/groups/individuals. Or even to have a web page of music with actual recordings, downloadable sheet music and lyrics that could be accessed by interested groups. People could be invited to submit items for consideration which would help disseminate some of the beautiful important music that is being written. My daughter and I were recently asked to sing for a special welcoming service for RIC Sunday and it was frustrating to find so little out there, but maybe we just didn’t know where to look. Just a thought that I had during your talk and wasn’t sure where to go with it. Thanks for reading my long-winded reply!

    • I agree, music is needed! The website is a wonderful idea. Hampered both by short staffs and short funds, as well as copyright concerns. (But I will keep it in mind.)

      Of course my hymns are available, and Marty Haugen has written some beautiful pieces that are in hymnals already. There are some other resources listed at the website for the Institute for Welcoming Resources ( My wife, Margaret, has sung many of my hymns as special music, either at an RIC service or at other appropriate times in the year. “Moonlit Night” makes a beautiful special music piece on Maundy Thursday. “welcome in the Wooden” is perfect for a Christmas Eve service. Neither are GLBTQ-specific but help congregations feel the welcome at the heart of God. “O Christ Who Came” and “Touching Jesus” would also make wonderful duets, though they’re just as nice for congregational singing. And “Behold, I gather” is also beautiful; I can e-mail you a pdf of that music …

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