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What Theology of the Body is to Me by Reggie David

"Therefore, put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls. Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like."  - James 1:21-24

Theology is defined a few different ways by different sources and websites, but I think it comes down to this - theology is the study of God. I want to say in my own words, that theology is not just the study of God, but is the pursuit of God.

I have always thought that theology was such a lofty word, a lofty idea, belonging to academics and intellectuals. But, I was wrong. Theology is for all Christians like the quote from James above, “be doers not just hearers” or studiers.

Theology should be the pursuit of God and visualized by the way we live what we learn. Theology should not just reside in our brain, but throughout our entire being. Theology should be digested and spread throughout our body and in our blood, pumped by our heart.

Theology of the Body “Embodied”

 From a very young age, I was moved (guided by Holy Spirit?) to reach out to others who were outcasts, shunned, or just different. I don't think it was anything I consciously set out to do. It wasn't some kind of goal or anything, I just did.

When I was in second grade my school was integrated. For the first time black and white students were going to school together. There was this one kid who didn't appear to have any friends and I befriended him right away. It felt normal, felt right. But, I did hear negative remarks about it.

As I continued in school, I would visit with anyone, but felt drawn to those who tended to be alone, different, or seen by others as weird or those discriminated against like special ed students, or those who seemed to have no friends.

When I was in seventh grade, I began riding a new bus. There was a guy older than me in the very back and all the other kids were picking on him, calling him names and trying to imitate his speech impediment. He was in special ed and had a speech problem but, I went right to the back of the bus and sat in the seat across the aisle from him. He got really upset and immediately thought I was going to mistreat him like all the other kids. I surprised him, I didn't. I listened to him and worked at understanding him and became his friend even as I became a target of the other kids. His name was Ricky.

In high school, I would welcome new kids, especially those coming in from smaller communities that didn't have a high school. I didn't learn what an impact I made on Ricky until I met his brother, who was my friend in high school. One day Ricky was on his bus and saw me talking with his brother. Once his brother got on the bus, he told his brother about me treating him like a normal person, and his brother told me how much Ricky appreciated me.

Later, as my wife and I began our family and our kids began going to school, I would talk with them and encourage them to stand up for those who didn't fit in, especially those who were bullied.

These experiences in my life really clicked once I took the Theology of the Body class. This aspect of loving others, reaching out, and being comfortable with people who were uncomfortable with others. I know that this may be an oversimplification and only one part of Theology of the Body, but it really connected with me and was one of the things that made the class special to me.

Jesus, I need you. Move me by your Word from sitting to kneeling, from kneeling to standing, from standing to going forth and living the Life, living the Way.

Lead me in living a life of love and mercy, loving more like You love. Let love and pursuit of you, growing ever closer to You be what my life says about me. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

About the Author:

Reggie David is a husband, father, and grandfather. He is a parishioner and volunteer at Immaculate Conception Parish in Denham Springs, Louisiana.

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