The Books that Make the Book

Like all works, This is My Body owes a great debt to a ton of works and writers who have come before.

And though this little work is rather thin and approachable (I hope) – it is born from a LOT of reading over about two and a half years. Some of that work made it into the notes section, but most of it didn’t. Instead, the works made their way into my heart. In this way, they wove me while I did the work of weaving poetry, scripture, church history, and my personal story together in the book.

We are fortunate to inherit a rich body of work – on bodies, church history, feminism/womanism, theology, and imaginative works interpreting scripture. Without these titles – and many more – my book would not exist.

If you’re interested, be sure to check them out! I have linked the link-able below, while others will require access to an academic search engine. To which I say – get thee to your nearest librarian! Librarians are the best of us, anyway.

Poetry

Incarnation, Sr. Irene Zimmerman.
Sister Irene’s poetry was a catalyzing point for my entire work. (Her poem, “Liturgy,” appears at the beginning of my book). Over the course of obtaining permissions for the poem, we’ve struck up a bit of a correspondence and I’m deeply grateful for her encouragement, openness, and friendship.

Gloryland, Anne Marie Macari.
This beautiful collection is body focused and revels in some beautiful, corpulent (I love that word, sorrynotsorry) imagery. I use several of these poems as meditations through the Christian year now.

A Thousand Vessels, Tania Runyan.
A new favorite that I keep loaning out at every turn. I’m especially taken with “After the Annunciation” and love how the whole work is structured by the stories of women in scripture.

Theology/Church History

She Who Is, Elizabeth A. Johnson.
Basically, Chernow is to Hamilton what Johnson is to #ThisIsMyBody.

Mary and the Carnal Maternal Genealogy: Towards a Mariology of the Body, Maria Mar Perez-Gil.
I know there’s a lot of $20 words in that title, but this is an incredible work chock full of wisdom that hits like a sledgehammer.

Jesus Feminist, Sarah Bessey.
I love the way Sarah writes. And one of her talks at the 2016 Festival of Faith & Writing gave me permission to do theology, even as an “outsider.”

A Year of Biblical Womanhood, Rachel Held Evans.
Rachel’s work proves, as always, that it’s possible to take scripture seriously, be silly, have a ton of fun in the process, and be moved and surprised by God.

Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith, Kathleen Norris
Kathleen has been one of my writer/theology crushes for a long time. She is a person who shows the way.

Our Mother Saint Paul, Beverly Roberts Gaventa.
As a lover of the OT, this resource was a life saver when it comes to diving into some of the curious examples in the NT when Paul repeatedly describes himself as a mother or in other maternal roles.

Jesus As Mother, Caroline Walker Bynum.
This resource is so full of amazing stuff from the 11-13th c, when monastic and church leaders looked to the examples of women and mothers to model their leadership after. Plus, awesome images of Jesus with breasts, Mary with a beard…the Church historic was not nearly so rigid in their expectations as we are, it seems.

The Forgotten Desert Mothers,  Laura Swan.
You know that whole period of Church history studies referred to as “Patristics?”
Yeah. That’s a problem.
Laura and the Ammas here set the record straight. (Sidenote: Laura and the Ammas would make a great band name).

Body & Sexuality: Theological-Pastoral Perspectives of Women in Asia, Agnes M. Brazal, Andrea Lizares Si
Again, we’ve got some academic words in the title but this work is phenomenal. It’s hard to track down so, again, make friends with your local librarian.

Music

It’s not often that you’ll find an artist who speaks deeply to her experience as a woman, who raps as fast as your brain can fire, and casually drops references to Aquinas, scripture, theology, and Greek mythology. But Dessa‘s work folds in on itself and then out again, and speaks with all the power that comes from someone naming things that are true. I leaned particularly hard on Skeleton Key, but have moved on to her brand new album, Chime.

Sa-Roc is a revelation who kept me going, dropping Bell Hooks and Maya Angelou and so much else. Dense lyrics with a beat that kept me up and going even on my hardest days. I highly recommend “I am Her.”

The Mountain Goats have been a constant companion for years, but it happens that I finally saw them live at the Festival of Faith and Writing 2016 when this project took off. The theological imagination present throughout their work is a treasured gift, but I was especially pushed by their album The Life of the World To Come.

I’m so thankful for all the folks out there putting their art into the world. 
I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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