The Vulnerability of Christ

In the third and final episode of our Sexual Abuse series, Dan and Rachael are joined by theologian Dr. Chelle Stearns. They discuss a difficult, and often controversial, topic of the ways in which Jesus fully took on humanity with all of its vulnerability, humiliation, and shame in order to suffer with us in those dark places and then bring redemption to them.

Please note: This is a sensitive topic and you may want to use discretion if you are listening with younger listeners.

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About our guest:

Dr. Chelle Stearns has a PhD in Systematic Theology from University of St. Andrews in Scotland, an MA in Christian Studies from Regent College, and an undergraduate degree in music from Pacific Lutheran University. Her academic work has focused on the interaction between theology and music, and she loves to talk about the Christian imagination. She is also passionate about trinitarian theology. As one student recently remarked, “You really do dig this trinitarian stuff, huh?”

As a violinist, she brings with her a background in teaching violin and performing in chamber and orchestral settings. She also has a long history of serving in the Church as a musician, teacher, and worship leader. Little known fact: her stage debut was at the age of 3 months, as she was ‘kidnapped’ by her older cousins to play the role of baby Jesus in the church’s Christmas pageant.

Dr. Stearns lives in Ballard with the other Dr. Stearns, whom she affectionately refers to as Dave.

Episode Transcript:

Dan: The topic that we’ve been addressing, sexual abuse, uh, is never easy. Uh, it is not meant to be, but what we’re going to engage today, um, let’s just say, uh, bears some degree of controversy. Uh, at least the folks that I’ve had the chance to talk with about this, find it offensive, uh, and it just evokes a lot, of very significant strong emotions. So that is a bit of a trigger warning. But before we step into what we’re going to address, let me introduce our lovely and brilliant Dr. Chelle Stearns, who has been on the show a number of times, but not, not recently. Dr. Stearns, uh, is a theologian at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology and along with Rachael, again, the, let me just say, I, I, I view the two of you as our most significant theological presences, you know, in the Allender Center. So, you know, it’s like, even though you’ve never been given the official title of theologian and residence, the fact is you are whether you accept it or not, we haven’t offered it. Wait a

Chelle: Wait a second. I’m outta here. No…

Dan: But nonetheless, let’s just say, uh, your presence has been along with Rachael two of the significant theologians in our midst. So what we’re going to address is the topic of sexual abuse and the life of Jesus, which is another way of saying what’s hardly been addressed in polite society is the reality that the scriptures don’t say with definitive clarity, but with strong implication, that in Jesus’s process of humiliation up to the cross and on the cross, there are signatures, uh, of what we would call sexual violation, certainly without question sexual humiliation and with some degree of prospect of what we would call more active, direct sexual violation. And we wanna at least address the question of what’s the testimony of scripture and why, why has it seldom ever been addressed? And certainly why does it matter? But I, I just, again, welcome Chelle. And for both of you at love for you just to say, how do you approach this with, um, both honor, uh, and goodness.

Chelle: Rachael, you wanna go first?

Rachael: Oh, sure. Um, well, I, you know, this, this concept definitely pushes on the ways in which we are afraid of Jesus’ humanity and kind of wanna step away from it and not think about the places. So I think for me, we’re, uh, a scripture I always hold in my mind is how we hear about this great high priest in, in Hebrews and the sense of the one who has gone before us in every way. Um, and when Jesus intercedes for us actually intercedes as one who has been in solidarity and in presence with our humanity. So, um, but I think it’s important as we step into this, just to pay attention to your own body and to stay in your body, to the extent that you can and notice where you’re feeling disruption, notice, where you’re feeling a, a desire to want to look away, or even the fear and terror of, um, all that Jesus encountered in that moment was at the mercy of on our behalf and for the sake of the world. So this is another topic that I think we have to have the courage to engage and get the wisdom to move really tenderly as we engage it. What about you Chelle?

Chelle: Well, I think so many things come up for me here. Um, um, as I think about the American church in particular, but I don’t think it’s limited to the American church. I think we are a bit in a crisis of how we understand sexuality, uh, vulnerability, um, and power. I think power is a big thing right now and understand something of the vulnerability of Christ, both as coming as a young baby, as you know, in utero, all the things I’m just gonna go, that I am a very cradle Christian in that sort of way. Um, what does it mean for Christ to come so vulnerable? So vulnerable and not be triumphalistic that the path to victory or the path to resurrection is through death. And, and that means becoming vulnerable to those who have power over him. Um, and so that right there for me is a bit of a bind of how we talk about some of this, because, you know, I was just reading Kristen Du Mez’s uh, Jesus and John Wayne. And one of the things that she talks about why she decided to, to write the book was as she started watching, how pastors were being called out for different kinds of abusive patterns and often vulnerability and how we hold power, go hand in hand in this conversation. So when we talk about the future of the church, we have to, in some sense, have a biblical imagination to understand how do we approach that, which is so much in front of us, but that we have a lot of trouble seeing, how do we call out abuses of power that end up often in sexual patterns of sexual abuse, um, or sexual humiliation, um, or a misunderstanding of, of especially masculinity. Um, but all of these for me, tie closely together. And again, how do we have a biblical imagination of how God meets us in our, in some, in our triumph, but also in our failure and definitely in our vulnerability. So that for me is a huge thing.

Dan: It… But we know, we know that Jesus was beaten and scoured and we have strong, shall we say biblical data that he was humiliated and spat upon. And so in that sense, we’ve got something of a textual sense that terrible humiliating, uh, godless harm was perpetrated against the person of Jesus, the second member of the Trinity. So, you know, as we step into this, I, I think there are questions and I want to come back to the wisdom of what you both have said, you know, we need to stay in our body. You know, even if you find yourself righteously from your standpoint, differing with the initial premise, stay in your body, don’t let your anger, don’t let your fear, don’t let your disgust, keep you from at least beginning to try and get a sense of the extent of Jesus’s willingness to bear something of the reality of the violence of power. Uh, and in some sense, the structure of evil always intending to degrade the image. And here, we’re not talking about the image of God. We’re talking about the actual physical presence of God. So if evil is committed to degrading the image, how much more so is evil committed to taking on the body, the flesh, uh, of the very presence of God and the fullness, the pleroma, of God’s care and presence. So if we can make just a little bit of a step, uh, into something of that biblical framework, uh, I, I’ve always been an, uh, intrigued by this passage in Matthew 25. And we, because this is so important to get within the text. We’re gonna ask you listeners, if you turn to your scriptures so that you can be reading along with us, but in Matthew 25, I’ll start with verse 35 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat and I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink and I was a stranger and you invited me in and I needed clothes and you clothe me. And then the righteous will answer. And Lord, when did we, we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you drink. When did we see was a stranger and invite you in?” And the way the NIV translates it is, uh, from my reading of the Greek, it’s, it’s not a bad translation, but it’s also not as strong as it could be made. And that is when do we see you needing clothes and clothe you? Actually other translations say, when did we see you naked? And that, uh, brings again, it’s not proof, but it’s a fundamental stance of how we care for those who have known imprisonment, illness, degradation, absence of food in this case, absence of clothing is how we engage Jesus. So there is confusion among the disciples, but they’re very clear in that sense of when did we, when, when did we see you naked? And that I think takes us to other texts.

Chelle: So this is Matthew 27: 27-31. I also have the NIV. So “Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him hail King of the Jews. They said they spit on him and took the staff and struck him on the head again. And again, after they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

Dan: First of all, the notion of a company of soldiers, from what we know about the nature of that word, it’s likely up to 500 soldiers. So we are talking not about four or five or a dozen. We are talking about a kind of amphitheater virtually, uh, surrounded. So this is a scene and though we don’t know what happened in the praetorium beyond what we have been given. You know, we do know, uh, a little bit from Philo and others, what generally happened with the Roman powers. And one of the things Philo, as a historian, again, writing primarily, uh, to, to Jews, but nonetheless, to explain a little bit about the Roman world, what, what we’re basically given is that the Roman empire did not want to expend an immense immense amount of people or energy into its far off colonies. So one of the things they did was humiliate through the cross, uh, you know, crucifixion was a moderately common penalty, but it wasn’t primarily for crimes. It was for the primary crime of subverting, the empire. And in that, the goal was not like a, you’re a murderer and you get capital punishment. It was far more, you are a threat to the empire and we will kill you, but the task of the killing had to be so horrendous, but also so humiliating. So we’ve got enough data, particularly if I can just say that in the study of military activity, particularly when men take prisoners of war, um, we saw this in Iraq, uh, when you’ve got imprisoned, uh, population, one of the most common things that end up happening, uh, is the stripping and a pretty active sexual humiliation. And again, not to go into the particularities, but egregious violations. And in that, can we say that Jesus was without question sexually violated beyond the public humiliation? And of course not, we don’t have that information. But what we can say is we’re often reading scripture, deductively, we’re actually looking at the nature of the human condition to be able to get a better sense of what’s actually happening so called behind the scenes. So what I, I wanna hold this tension, what we have is enough, but likely there was more, and in the enough he’s literally being stripped and in the stripping, he’s having a robe, uh, you know, the mockery of you you’ve said you were the king, the king of the Jews. Um, so again, would love to hear from both your standpoints, what, what you see in and through this passage.

Chelle: Well, there’s a, the, the one thing that I can really, that, that just hits me right away is the undermining of reality, um, that the purpose of this kind of state sanctioned terror is to, in some sense, gaslight, to not only for the body of Jesus, but, but for the culture at large, to say, you cannot be who you are, what you are, is wrong. Mm. And, and in that, what do you do with that kind of undermining of your sense of how you, how you understand and know of the world, um, and how, how powerful that is? Um, I was just teaching in one of my classes on Judith Herman and how she, she talks about, that, this is the pattern, especially prisoner of war. Um, but this is also, we get into domestic violence issues as well. Um, and I, I’m using the language of gaslighting. And sometimes people see that as we’ve used that language so much, that it seems to like, have lost a lot of meaning, but what we’re using here is very much a purposeful that, you are wrong. Your mind is wrong, your body is wrong. And to, we are going to let you know, it’s that kind of humiliation and that kind of shame. Um, and so when we come to this text, I do wonder how much we see past it. And we just go, oh, no, resurrection. I don’t wanna talk about good Friday. I don’t wanna talk about, or we overexaggerate the violence and pain, but don’t actually see it for what it is. Hmm. Um, and I think it’s that of staying in some sense, in the story long enough to understand this is the story of a lot of people. And Jesus, and I think this is the point in Philippians, in the Christ him there, that he, he doesn’t grasp after power, but instead becomes in the form of a servant and unto death, even death on a cross. That meant something in this era that it didn’t just mean that he was, he was killed by the state. It meant that he was purposefully, he humiliated and used as a tool to terrorize others.

Rachael: Well, I think when you say that Chelle, and even that language of this is a lot of people’s story, what’s just coming to my mind is James Cone’s work on the cross and the lynching tree. And the, and the people who do in their bodies in story have other images of state sanctioned violence that is meant to terrorize is meant to gaslight and why it’s so important for us to come to these texts in community where we actually have to be forced outside of what we might impose on the text or what we might miss.

Chelle: Well, and added to that. I’m kind of curious what you think about this, um, the complicity of how, in order for us to avoid the, the abuse or to avoid the terror that we feel in our own body, we then become complicit. Within the system that then terrorizes others. Um, and I think that’s often when we like pull back and we’re like, oh no, we’re not doing that. And, and that’s when we, in some sense, become a bit blind. And because I don’t know, Dan, you could say much more about like how shame functions within, within this, but this is how we then don’t see what’s actually right in front of us. And I think this is a lot of Cone’s argument that how could it be that when lynching was active in the United States, how is it that no theologians saw the connection between Christ hanging on a tree and good Christian people, lynching people? How could the, the church actually become complicit and no theologian called this out.

Dan: And in, in another podcast, Linda Royster brought the reality of, again, a photo that we didn’t show, but of this erotic, uh, joyous, there was clear, a frenzy almost in this. And again, I, I, I don’t have a better word than in a form of a gang rape. And yet there was no overt sexual touch, yet often what would happen with a lynched man is that his fingers, toes, and eventually penis would be cut off and they would be held as souvenirs, uh, of the, of, of the event. So again, to hold something of the complexity of, I don’t think any of us can hear this without a sense of both, uh, horror and revulsion, but also eventually we have to ask the question is if, if, if the text is calling a us to see minimally Jesus is being stripped naked, not just to take off his day clothes in order to put on his purple gown, but the presumption that in that process, there is laughter mockery. There is humiliation. And again, we’ve got other passages that make even that clearer.

Rachael: Yeah. I mean, we see this in the gospel of John and I’m reading from the NRSV, um, chapter 19 verse 23, “When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts. One for each soldier. They also took his tunic. Now the tunic was seamless woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it. This was to fulfill what the scripture says. They divided my clothes among themselves and for my clothing, they cast lots.”

Dan: And there, again,I just, I don’t wanna critique translations, but tunic, how many people know what a tunic is? At least the NIV goes under garment. So it it’s clear his clothing has been taken off to the point of the final covering of his genitalia. Uh, and they take that off and decide not to divide it, but to throw lots for it. So we don’t see when we see crucifixion paintings statues, seldom, do we ever see a naked Jesus and the council of Trent, uh, made a very strong statement ,and I may be wrong as to the era. I think the 16th century, uh, made a very strong statement, uh, that there would be no humiliation described or painted that would show in some sense, a naked Jesus. So we’ve had centuries of a kind of don’t look, um, don’t, don’t see what happened because it is somehow disrespectful. Uh, it, it violates Jesus. And again, I, I’m not trying to create a kind of, um, terrifying image, but this is what the Romans wanted for people to see if you disobey the state, this is your future. You will die a horrendous death. And in the process be sexually humiliated as a, a naked presence, uh, on the cross. That was a common, not, not all crucifixions, but very common for clothing to be removed in part for the sake of letting the populous know it is far better for you to obey the empire. Uh, don’t create any form of, shall we say, discontent within the population and in that sense of what occurred we’re, we’re right back, I, I think to the larger question, and that is why from your perspective, why is this not part of how we tell the crucifixion narrative?

Chelle: Well, I think it depends on what tradition you’re part of, um, how you even practice lent. We are in the season of lent for those of you who actually practice the different liturgical seasons. And the reason why we participate in seasons like lent is to, in some sense, prepare ourselves even to tell this story well, and of course the story that lent goes into is Jesus in the, in the desert being tempted for 40 days. And so we go into a pattern of 40 days. And so even with that, of what does it take to prepare us to tell this story well. What does it take for us even to hold the story? Well, and even more importantly, what does it take for Christ to step into the places that begin to unraveled that which is evil within the world? Um, not, and I think in some ways, our language of my, you know, if we have a very individualistic faith, you know, Jesus has forgiven my sins and I’m like, I, I don’t think that gets to the story. And I think it’s maybe one of the reasons why it’s hard to tell the story of Christ on the cross Christ being humiliated before he’s even placed on the cross. Um, because we’re, so I wanna know my sins are forgiven. So tell me the story where I know the mechanism by which my sins have been forgiven. Um, but see, in the early church, they weren’t really asking that question. Um, it was a cosmic sense of not only atonement, but, um, that we step into, if Christ stepped into humanity, if God steps into humanity as, as the Godman. Um, and he takes on all of humanity, he becomes the second Adam, the great physician, um, in that we are all taken up then in the corporate body of Christ and held with, with Christ. And the question I always have is why is his perfection… And this is probably, you know, I know the language of perfection in different traditions can sometimes spark its own kind of traumatic response. But I’m gonna say in, in kind of the, um, Hebrew’s sense of Christ as the author and the Perfector of our faith, that his perfection goes through this walk through vulnerability. This walk through humiliation that he endures all that humanity can endure and takes it into God’s life. And so the question that, especially like people like Athanasius or Gregory of Nazianzus ask is, you know, if something hasn’t been in some ways assumed by Christ or taken on by Christ, then how is it that all of what we are, how do we know that that can be healed? How do we, we know that that can be redeemed and it’s like, that’s, that’s the import of a story like this, to understand that Christ takes on everything. And that is in some sense, that’s not the triumphalistic story we wanna hear it’s that Christ sits with us in the dirt. Um, I mean, there are Lenten texts very much. So, um, I have ’em off the top of my head. I’m, I’m not a, I, I grew up Baptist. And so I don’t always have my liturgical, you know, wherewithal, but there are some responsorial things that borrow from the book of Lamentations of where you really feel the, the sense of Christ with the daughter of Jerusalem, who has been sexually violated in this, in this poem who has been laid low, that Christ like the daughter of Jerusalem, there’s this parallel between the two sits in the dirt and cries out for the father to see his face cries out, to be met in, in this horrendous terrorizing space and is met in that place. That even that is redeemed, the places of shame, the places of, I don’t even wanna see my own. I don’t wanna know that God is willing to see that, which is unnamable and beyond our understanding of the terror that we’ve known as human beings.

Dan: So again, if the text, at least in the passages we’ve opened the door to at least set forth a context for a form of nakedness, which was purposeful for the sake of humiliation, even if there is no more. Nonetheless, still the question of what keeps us often from having that be part of our way of reflecting on not only the cross, but what occurred in the process of him coming to the cross. Uh, I asked a, a very bright gifted, godly woman. Had she ever thought about Jesus being sexually abused and response was no. And I, it over at least the last week or so, I’ve asked a number of people that question and the look in the faces of the people I’ve asked is like, I, I just did something really awful. Uh, I’ve said something so radically inappropriate and a sense of horror. Like, what are you talking about? And quickly, even when I brought up a few of the passages that we’re looking at, um, another friend basically looked at me and said, it’s too scandalous. And I think that’s getting maybe a little bit closer to, for my language. Like this is too shameful. Uh, I remember at the beginning of my work where I began talking about some of the events that were sexually abusive, that I encountered, and especially with men, what I heard them say is you are gonna ruin your life. You’re gonna ruin whatever ministry you have. You understand people are gonna treat you like a pariah because you can’t be a man and be sexually abused. Uh, and I’m like, well, how is it then women are abused and they’re still women, but I can’t be a man. And again, this whole framework of not that we normalize abuse with women, but there is a sense in which like physical abuse, uh, uh, I mean, I’ve been beaten up a lot in my life. And I don’t mean by that. I mean, physically, I, I I’ve been emotionally spat upon and literally spat upon. And the level of humiliation in the crucifixion narrative seems foreign. But when we bring up the reality of sexual humiliation, it is much more connected to what women have known, I think for millennia. And, but for men it’s even much more intense and disgusting. Uh revulsive like the men I’ve asked about this, um, did not want to have a conversation.

Chelle: If I hear you, right. You’re not minimizing How, how women have been treated. It’s more that women are in some ways it’s not normalizing, but men have a harder time in some sense, coming to terms with, with what it is. I’m not sure women come to terms with it very well, but they have less power or, or in some sense maybe less escape. From how violence… you know.. And, and so I I’m wondering about that. Yeah.

Dan: Well, I, I, I’m looking just for example, when we do recovery weeks, um, we will have four or five times the number of women wish to enter into one of those weeks. Trying to fill a week with men. It’s, it’s like pulling cosmic teeth, uh, to get 15 men to own they’ve been abused, but even more so to actually say, I want to engage and the implications for my life. So I’m again, I know we’re on dangerous water. I’m certainly not saying that domestic violence is infrequent. It’s a horrendous evil that many women… one out of every four homes in America has domestic violence. So, but physical violence and emotional violence. In some ways we see that as a more, uh, again, egregious evil that often gets perpetrated against women. But we also know that sexual abuse is so much more apparently common and women engage it. So when we begin to talk about emotional, physical abuse, many men have been beaten, many men know emotional abuse, but the reality of addressing sexual abuse in our own lives let alone our savior feels so egregiously shameful. That again, the narrative as it has been, shall we say, played out for centuries, has unfortunately been in the hands of men and male theologians. So to me, it’s not surprising that we’ve not engaged. What brings us as men, a boatload of shame to think about our own, let alone our savior, having actually encountered that level of rage from, uh, the Roman world. So I’m just trying to, again, put words to why, why has this not been addressed? But again, before we end, I, I really wanna make sure that, that the question of why does it matter? Right. Right. So you’ve intrigued me. Maybe I’m not going to entirely write you off, but now, so what, um, what is this add and, and why are we bringing this up, particularly in this whole realm of sexual abuse that we often don’t engage, but especially in a Lenten context, as we move toward Easter.

Rachael: Well, I’ll just borrow off of what Chelle was naming. Just say for myself, why it matters. I’m just gonna speak very personally, it matters so much because if Jesus took in something that I have experienced, maybe not in the same way that he did, um, maybe not, not state sanctioned and so public, but if Jesus took that in his body and is capable of bringing something redemptive and beautiful and holy and good, um, and, and is willing to suffer with me in those places, then that means the world. To me, there’s something there that kind of vulnerability as you named so well, Chelle, of God, to not just in an ethereal way, care about my suffering and like join me, but to actually know something and just goes back to what I was saying. Like to know that Jesus who intercedes for me is one who intercedes with a knowing like a, an intimate embodied knowing, um, that matters to me.

Chelle: And I, and I always, I, and I feel like I’m, I wrestle with my, my christological theology, like what is my theology of Jesus in this space? And I, I find myself coming back to this over and over again, and, and realizing. There’s something about that Christ not only steps into the vulnerability of what it means to be human on, on multiple, multiple levels, but that he holds shame from others that he actually takes on the shame. Like that’s, that’s not new on, in this, in this scene, um, that he actually purposely touches those who are unclean, spits in the dirt, puts put, puts mud in the eye and, and heals a blind man. Um, you know, it’s like that the healing process is often to cross into that place of vulnerability. And within this ancient, near Eastern context, that means that he becomes a contaminant that he actually takes on. If you know, I’m doing big air quotes here, contamination, um, that, which, I mean, I think Dan, that’s part of what you’re getting to is idea of. We don’t wanna talk about it. Men really don’t wanna talk about this because then I become the contaminant. I become so shamed, I become so anathema, use whatever word you want, and there’s no coming back from it. You are set aside, you’re outside, but Christ reaches out his hand. And he heals a leper. He, he heals a blind man. Um, the woman who’s bleeding, who’s been bleeding for 12 years, reaches out her hand. And instead of him like shoeing her, he engages her and comes face to face with her and renames her. It’s like, these are these spaces where we see over and over again. So when it comes to his own humiliation and his own death, his own stepping into that vulnerability. Boy, I, I think I’m overwhelmed over and over again of, His body steps into that play. Um, uh, I was just looking at, um, something I wrote in an essay about shame. Um, and I’m talking about something else, but I wrote shame is vital to any conversation involving trauma because it often hides reality and blocks direct access to the truth of one’s experience. Moreover shame becomes internalized and intertwined in one’s being, making change or acknowledgement of harm and pain difficult, or at times impossible. When shame and traumatic experience intermix reality is discolored and the imagination becomes disordered throughout one’s life. So why can’t we see this? Because in some sense, it’s too common of an experience and people don’t wanna talk about it because they, their imagination in and of itself is disordered. And they think this is the place that God cannot heal. You can come only so far, God, but this is the place you cannot see. And Jesus is saying, I’ve already been there and I’ve already healed you.

Dan: I’m just taken to the Colosians passage that Paul writes in chapter two, verse 15, and having disarmed the powers and authorities again, power and authorities, and he made a public spectacle of them. Try and think. It’s the inversion that is incomprehensible. Like how can a humiliated God infected with the depths of our own shame, triumph and make a public spectacle. He’s the public spectacle and he is being triumphed over. And that reversal, I think, is the hope for all of us of the gospel. I’m asked so often, where was God? When I was abused, I don’t have an answer. It’s not like I can say this is where he is, but indeed, to be able to say, um, as you put it so well, Chelle`, he, his hand is out and the scars are there, but as well, the humiliation that those scars are part of opens the possibility that we can actually take down the powers and authorities that our own relatively small lives can actually reverse the level of humiliation. But again, only by the end tree, I mean, I go back to the way you both oriented us at the beginning. Can we actually tend to our bodies and begin to say, stepping into this regarding Jesus, let alone our own lives. It’s a cost. Um, it will not go easily or, well, not at first, but there is the possibility, just even in the promise that that reversal can occur. And that for me is why this is so important. Like I need to trust that in that moment of utter humiliation, there was a reversal occuring that I get to be part of. I think that’s indeed what you’re inviting us to Chelle.

Chelle:Definitely. I think, um, You know, maybe this is part of why there’s such a strong kind of almost anti-body stream within Christianity. This is not just a new thing. This is definitely deep within the tradition of, It’s almost like, well, God’s redemption can only go so far and actually name good what longer feels or never ever felt sacred or good. And maybe here at the end to say something of.. We are each fearfully and wonderfully made, and that’s not just one of those kind of like gloss it over. That’s a, you have been remade in this place that there is nothing within your story within your body that is outside of the reach of the healing powers of God. I think this is the ongoing work of the holy spirit to, um, I think this is why like, even in the sacraments, this idea being baptized into the death of Christ and resurrected is this powerful image of our bodies are initiated in, we eat the, the Lord’s supper or the Eucharist, as we take this in and we are, we memorialize this and it’s so that we can know something of the goodness that we are. It’s not kind of just an intention. It is inherent within us that we are called in our bodies to be nourished by the goodness of God. We are molded… we are taken to by the spirit and we are molded into the image of Christ. So I think this is the call of every Christian and to, you know, why is this story so important? Because it tells us something about what does it mean to be the image of Christ in the world that we are called to be We aren’t triumphalistic. But boy, we are beautiful.

Dan: Mic drop. Thank you. Chelle. Thank you, Rachael. And may we step more and more into the glory that we are and yet into the wonder he is.

Rachael: May it be so.

Chelle: Yeah. Thank you, Dan. Thank you, Rachael.

Rachael: Thank you, Chelle.