I’m really thankful that The Gospel Coalition folks have taken up the theme of evangelical spirituality.

It’s a sensitive topic in a lot of quarters, as it’s easy to play fast and loose with “spirituality” in a way that’s really unhelpful.  I tried to navigate those waters yesterday at their place, which I encourage you to read in full and then leave comments and questions here.

A man, for instance, may fast for many reasons, some better than others. But when the practice ceases to be an obedient response to the confrontation with the grace of God in Jesus, it loses its distinctly Christian status as invocation, wherein we affirm that the God who made the world will someday return to make all things new. The reformation of the heart takes shape in the presentation of the body, and fasting is only Christian when it takes the character of offering, sacrifice, and worship.

The liberating grace of God also sets us free from the artificial standards of acceptance and validation that are based on body shape or type by exposing the stunted notions of “perfection” for the grotesque mimicry that they are. The pursuit of bodily perfection that makes some women cry when they turn 25 is a tragic parody of the more real, more beautiful body that has been given to God, just as the tragic hideousness of Good Friday has become the source and fountainhead of the best Christian art.



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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

One Comment

  1. This is my favorite passage from the article because it reinforces my perception that we are functional gnostics, splitting the head from the heart (and the body):

    Over the past 30 years, evangelicals have labored to escape our anti-intellectual roots through recovering Jesus’ admonition to “love the Lord your God with all your mind,” and with some success. But we have yet to devote the sort of theological and educational capital to plumbing precisely what it means to take seriously Paul’s admonition in Romans 12: “I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”

    Nice reminder, Matt!


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