Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? – 1 Corinthians 6:19 NRSV
We have been bombarded this week with images of black bodies. Black men and boys protesting against police. Black women and girls rioting in the streets. Black preachers and leaders standing in solidarity. Black mothers fiercely protecting their own. Black bodies anguished with pain, anger, disappointment and distrust. We have been audience to embodied responses to senseless death and unchecked police brutality. There is no denying the impact of #BaltimoreUprising on our hearts, souls, minds and bodies.
I found myself unsure of what to write about this week when the news broke about Freddie Gray and the subsequent happenings in Baltimore. However, the more I read, the heavier my heart became until I remembered a time in my life when I used my body through disconnected sexual activity to fill a void. It was then that I realized our bodies are the medium through which we connect to God and others.
There was a time in my life when I was on what I call the “conviction carousel.” I would have sex (which was very good by the way), go to church, pray at the altar to ask God for forgiveness, return home recommitted to waiting until marriage, to then start the cycle all over again. This happened for several years. And I now know It was a direct result of me trying to follow the church’s teaching but never really having the chance to have meaningful conversation or give intentional thought to different ways of understanding my body and the decisions related to my sexual activity.
It wasn’t until I read this week’s scripture that I wrestled with the idea that my body was both a gift and a temple. A sacred space where Spirit lived and as such I had some responsibility in how I managed it. This kind of reconciliation, this move toward wholeness honors God’s presence in our lives and through our sexual activity.
My journey has helped me shift my sexual activity from being dictated by church teachings and moral maxims to being guided and directed by Spirit. It required of me to ask and answer hard questions like: Who do I believe God is? How do I recognize God’s presence in my life, including my sexual activity? What ways can I reconcile who God is with who God created me to be as a sexual being?
It took this verse to spark these questions and to connect me with the Spirit dwelling inside that has fostered a sense of wholeness that comes from within and my relationship with God and not without according to the dictates of the church and society. Wholeness calls us to synthesize information from all sources, including our lived experience.
Will you be sexually active and spiritually connected? Will you be whole?