New Expression of Faith: Integrated Spirituality at DCC

“Christianity teaches that God has a body; the Incarnation celebrates the sacredness of matter — especially the human body. Our bodies are temples; we glorify God in our bodies (1 Corinthians 6). And so, Integrative Spirituality at DCC is intentional about Christian teaching about the body: we practice meditation, offer classes in dream work, financial planning, yoga, dance, Reiki, and other ways to enhance personal well-being. This is our way of embracing “the holiness of wholeness” which is the way of Jesus.”                                               –Pastor Chris Neufeld-Erdman

Integrated Spirituality

by Pastor Chris Neufeld-Erdman

Christianity teaches that God has a body. To some, that’s radical, maybe even esoteric. To me, it’s a revolutionary reality that makes a real difference in our lives. The Incarnation is a celebration of the sacredness of matter, and especially the human body. The New Testament teaches that our bodies are temples, and that we glorify God in our bodies (1 Corinthians 6). The sacredness of matter, and our bodies as a dwelling place of the Divine, may be among the best gifts Christianity offers to humanity’s experience of the Divine.

Christianity has not always followed the wisdom that’s so central to its teaching. Too often Christianity has perpetuated an unholy split between heaven and earth, spirit and matter, inner and outer, head and heart, one racial group and another. But as John Philip Newell teaches us, the “new Pentecost that is stirring today is a conjoining of opposites” (The New Harmony, preface page xx). It is a healing of the unholy and unhealthy separateness that wounds us and the earth so deeply. Without this “holiness of wholeness” we will not be well.

I am a Christian today because I have found in the Christian experience of God a spirituality that takes our bodies seriously, and that includes the body of the earth. This is why we at DCC work for justice for immigrants; this is why we root out racism wherever we may find it; this is why we feed the hungry and shelter the poor and conserve water; this is why we advocate for affordable housing in Davis, and work for full inclusion of anyone who is marginalized. But it’s also why we practice meditation and offer classes in dreamwork, financial planning, yoga, dance, Reiki, and other ways to enhance personal well-being. Jesus reveals to us a passion for life, a reverence for matter, and “the holiness of wholeness.” And we at DCC walk this way of life.

DCC’s most recent Mission Study tells us that there is a “widespread yearning [among us] for ‘greater spiritual grounding’ [that] gives us the opportunity to refocus our hearts and our minds on our faith journey. This yearning also shows an openness to strengthening our faith in new ways.” The congregation has said that many of us desire opportunities “for experiential learning” that can be entry points to a deepening and expanding of our experience of God in our daily lives.

This is why I am so pleased with so many of the new expressions of Christian life and practice that are emerging among us. It’s like a new springtime at DCC and here at the heart of Davis. It’s as if a glorious garden is bursting into bloom. And this is why I’m delighted to introduce the new ministry we’re calling, Integrated Spirituality. It’s our way of responding to your yearnings, grounding you in the wisdom of our Christian heritage, and giving you ways to be part of the new, global Pentecost that is making Christian wisdom about the body, the earth, and its wholeness more relevant than it may ever have been before.

 

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