Born Again Bodies

ing, through her own voice Shamblin—like other authoritarian Christian leaders of the day—turns up the volume. The impact this teaching has on the bodies of her followers is, of course, extraordinarily powerful.

Born Again Bodies

"Fat People Don't Go to Heaven!" screamed a headline in the tabloid Globe in November 2000. The story recounted the success of the Weigh Down Workshop, the nation's largest Christian diet corporation and the subject of extensive press coverage from Larry King Live to the New Yorker. In the United States today, hundreds of thousands of people are making diet a religious duty by enrolling in Christian diet programs and reading Christian diet literature like What Would Jesus Eat? and Fit for God. Written with style and wit, far ranging in its implications, and rich with the stories of real people, Born Again Bodies launches a provocative yet sensitive investigation into Christian fitness and diet culture. Looking closely at both the religious roots of this movement and its present-day incarnations, R. Marie Griffith vividly analyzes Christianity's intricate role in America's obsession with the body, diet, and fitness. As she traces the underpinning of modern-day beauty and slimness ideals—as well as the bigotry against people who are overweight—Griffith links seemingly disparate groups in American history including seventeenth-century New England Puritans, Progressive Era New Thought adherents, and late-twentieth-century evangelical diet preachers.

Born Again Bodies

"This is a wonderful book, well-conceptualized, written with style and wit, and impressive for its ambition, reach and achievement.

Born Again Bodies

"This is a wonderful book, well-conceptualized, written with style and wit, and impressive for its ambition, reach and achievement. R. Marie Griffith brings to the scene learning, theoretical subtlety, critical acumen, historical skill, and humane sensibility. She has emerged as one of the most sophisticated and insightful scholars of the Christian body in any period of Christian history."--Robert Orsi, Harvard University "Born Again Bodies is extraordinary. It uncovers an arena of knowledge never before looked at with this level of critical attention when examining American religious culture; Griffith's strength is that she looks across the 'evangelical' denominations. Her work is elegant and truly original."--Sander L. Gilman, author of Difference and Pathology and Jewish Frontiers

Shameful Bodies

Griffith, Born Again Bodies, 32–37, 40–41, 47; Hillel Schwartz, Never Satisfied: A Cultural History of Diets, Fantasies and Fat (New York: Free Press, 1986), 25–28. 39 Amy Erdman Farrell, Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American ...

Shameful Bodies

What happens when your body doesn't look how it's supposed to look, or feel how it's supposed to feel, or do what it's supposed to do? Who or what defines the ideals behind these expectations? How can we challenge them and live more peacefully in our bodies? Shameful Bodies: Religion and the Culture of Physical Improvement explores these questions by examining how traditional religious narratives and modern philosophical assumptions come together in the construction and pursuit of a better body in contemporary western societies. Drawing on examples from popular culture such as self-help books, magazines, and advertisements, Michelle Mary Lelwica shows how these narratives and assumptions encourage us to go to war against our bodies-to fight fat, triumph over disability, conquer chronic pain and illness, and defy aging. Through an ethic of conquest and conformity, the culture of physical improvement trains us not only to believe that all bodily processes are under our control, but to feel ashamed about those parts of our flesh that refuse to comply with the cultural ideal. Lelwica argues that such shame is not a natural response to being fat, physically impaired, chronically sick, or old. Rather, body shame is a religiously and culturally conditioned reaction to a commercially-fabricated fantasy of physical perfection. While Shameful Bodies critiques the religious and cultural norms and narratives that perpetuate external and internalized judgment and aggression toward "shameful†? bodies, it also engages the resources of religions, especially feminist theologies and Buddhist thought/practice, to construct a more affirming approach to health and healing-an approach that affirms the diversity, fragility, interdependence, and impermanence of embodied life.

Mediating Faiths

a gospel of self-denial anchored in a long history of Christian asceticism that has 'reaped wondrously modern-day ... and 'Believercise' have become commonplace, as many women seek slender born-again bodies and spiritual renewal.

Mediating Faiths

Religion is living culture. It continues to play a role in shaping political ideologies, institutional practices, communities of interest, ways of life and social identities. Mediating Faiths brings together scholars working across a range of fields, including cultural studies, media, sociology, anthropology, cultural theory and religious studies, in order to facilitate greater understanding of recent transformations. Contributors illustrate how religion continues to be responsive to the very latest social and cultural developments in the environments in which it exists. They raise fundamental questions concerning new media and religious expression, religious youth cultures, the links between spirituality, personal development and consumer culture, and contemporary intersections of religion, identity and politics. Together the chapters demonstrate how belief in the superempirical is negotiated relative to secular concerns in the twenty-first century.

Roman Imperial Identities in the Early Christian Era

In the Christian texts,wheresuch threats arecarriedout, they have no lasting effect.Christian narratives,as the prose fictions did, fashion thethreat of being destroyedorassimilated asafalsethreat. For their bodies will rise again ...

Roman Imperial Identities in the Early Christian Era

Through the close study of texts, Roman Imperial Identities in the Early Christian Era examines the overlapping emphases and themes of two cosmopolitan and multiethnic cultural identities emerging in the early centuries CE – a trans-empire alliance of the Elite and the "Christians." Exploring the cultural representations of these social identities, Judith Perkins shows that they converge around an array of shared themes: violence, the body, prisons, courts, and time. Locating Christian representations within their historical context and in dialogue with other contemporary representations, it asks why do Christian representations share certain emphases? To what do they respond, and to whom might they appeal? For example, does the increasing Christian emphasis on a fully material human resurrection in the early centuries, respond to the evolution of a harsher and more status based judicial system? Judith Perkins argues that Christians were so successful in suppressing their social identity as inhabitants of the Roman Empire, that historical documents and testimony have been sequestered as "Christian" rather than recognized as evidence for the social dynamics enacted during the period, Her discussion offers a stimulating survey of interest to students of ancient narrative, cultural studies and gender.

Word Made Global

Second, salvation also involves healing and deliverance, a fundamental experience of being born again.54 This can be ... 58 The theological emphasis of the churches is that we are our bodies, and bodies are part of how believers are ...

Word Made Global

A groundbreaking work of ethnography, urban studies, and theology, Mark Gornik's Word Made Global explores the recent development of African Christianity in New York City. Drawing especially on ten years of intensive research into three very different African immigrant churches, Gornik sheds light on the pastoral, spiritual, and missional dynamics of this exciting global, transnational Christian movement.

That Famous Fig Leaf

Born Again Bodies In 1957 Presbyterian minister Charlie Shedd released the book Pray Your Weight Away. Shedd condemned obesity as an outward manifestation of inner transgression. Since then, the Christian fitness culture has become a ...

That Famous Fig Leaf

Nothing that God created is the source of our human temptation. To the contrary! The human body is the crown of God's creation--consummated by his declaration that it was good. That God's people are unable to view the body without sinning is not an indictment of the body itself, but of the immaturity of the post-modern evangelical mind. We live in a culture whose inhabitants spend billions of dollars a year to see each other naked on internet sites and in pornographic films, yet are often uncomfortable changing in front of each other in locker rooms or even being seen in a swimsuit on the beach. Could it be that we have so profoundly fused the image of the exposed body with sexual gratification that there is no context left for it to be laid bare without evoking either shame or arousal? In That Famous Fig Leaf, Chad Thompson explores the spiritual implications of the physical body and, surprisingly, uncovers a new kind of freedom from sexual addiction along the way. Chad critiques the Christian purity movement for conflating purity with prudery, and reveals that changing how we esteem our bodies has the power to heal the hypersexualized body consciousness of our culture.

Queens of Academe

Conflating idealized Christian bodies and self-presentation with spiritual and economic fulfillment, born-again queens are reshaping normative expectations for sacred femininity, evangelical bodies, and Christian identities in ...

Queens of Academe

Universities are unlikely venues for grading bodies, beauty, poise, and style. Nonetheless, thousands of college women have sought not only college diplomas but campus beauty titles and tiaras throughout the twentieth century, and the cultural power of beauty pageants continues into the twenty-first. In Queens of Academe, Karen W. Tice asks how, and why, does higher education remain in the beauty and body business and with what effects on student bodies and identities. Drawing on archival research and interviews as well as hundreds of hours observing college pageants on predominantly black and white campuses, Tice argues the pageants help to illuminate the shifting iterations of class, race, religion, culture, sexuality, and gender braided into campus rituals and student life. Moving beyond a binary of objectification versus empowerment, Tice offers a nuanced analysis of the making of idealized collegiate masculinities and femininities, and the stylization of higher education itself.

The Religion of Thinness

In the words of one early Christian author: “It is fitting for women to fast always.” Quoted in Shaw, The Burden ... 9In The Burden of the Flesh, Shaw discusses the meanings of ascetic women's emaciated bodies. The female ascetic's thin ...

The Religion of Thinness

With so many women approaching their diets, body image, and pursuit of a slender figure with slavish devotion, The Religion of Thinness is a timely addition to the discussion of our cultural obsession with weight loss. At the heart of this obsession is the belief that in order to be happy, one must be slim, and the attendant myths, rituals, images, and moral codes can leave some women with severe emotional damage. Idealized images in the media inspire devotees of this “religion” to experience guilt for behaviors that are biologically normal and necessary, and Lelwica offers two ways to combat this dangerous cultural message. Advising readers to look hard at the societal cues that cause them to obsess about their weight, and to remain mindful about their actions and needs, this book will not only help stop the cycle of guilt and shame associated with food, it will help readers to grow and accept their bodies as they are.

Culture and Redemption

... its leaders conspiring to eradicate both pleasure and pain in an attempt to rely solely on the cool, rational mind” (Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity, 256n21). Griffith's work amply and elegantly contests ...

Culture and Redemption


Feminist Theology and Contemporary Dieting Culture

R. Marie Griffith provides an excellent discussion of this in Born Again Bodies, arguing that Protestant American ... impoverished or languishing body.15 Such influences, she claims, informed the contemporary Christian weight loss ...

Feminist Theology and Contemporary Dieting Culture

Hannah Bacon draws on qualitative research conducted inside one UK secular commercial weight loss group to show how Christian religious forms and theological discourses inform contemporary weight-loss narratives. Bacon argues that notions of sin and salvation resurface in secular guise in ways that repeat well-established theological meanings. The slimming organization recycles the Christian terminology of sin – spelt 'Syn' – and encourages members to frame weight loss in salvific terms. These theological tropes lurk in the background helping to align food once more with guilt and moral weakness, but they also mirror to an extent the way body policing techniques in Christianity have historically helped to cultivate self-care. The self-breaking and self-making aspects of women's Syn-watching practices in the group continue certain features of historical Christianity, serving in similar ways to conform women's bodies to patriarchal norms while providing opportunities for women's self-development. Taking into account these tensions, Bacon asks what a specifically feminist theological response to weight loss might look like. If ideas about sin and salvation service hegemonic discourses about fat while also empowering women to shape their own lives, how might they be rethought to challenge fat phobia and the frenetic pursuit of thinness? As well as naming as 'sin' principles and practices which diminish women's appetites and bodies, this book forwards a number of proposals about how salvation might be performed in our everyday eating habits and through the cultivation of fat pride. It takes seriously the conviction of many women in the group that food and the body can be important sites of power, wisdom and transformation, but channels this insight into the construction of theologies that resist rather than reproduce thin privilege and size-ist norms.

Living in the Shadow of the Cross

Understanding and Resisting the Power and Privilege of Christian Hegemony Paul Kivel ... Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity. ... For a detailed discussion of these programs, see Griffith, Born Again Bodies. 89.

Living in the Shadow of the Cross

How our dominant Christian worldview shapes everything from personal behavior to public policy (and what to do about it) Over the centuries, Christianity has accomplished much which is deserving of praise. Its institutions have fed the hungry, sheltered the homeless, and advocated for the poor. Christian faith has sustained people through crisis and inspired many to work for social justice. Yet although the word "Christian" connotes the epitome of goodness, the actual story is much more complex. Over the last two millennia, ruling elites have used Christian institutions and values to control those less privileged throughout the world. The doctrine of Christianity has been interpreted to justify the killing of millions, and its leaders have used their faith to sanction participation in colonialism, slavery, and genocide. In the Western world, Christian influence has inspired legislators to continue to limit women's reproductive rights and has kept lesbians and gays on the margins of society. As our triple crises of war, financial meltdown, and environmental destruction intensify, it is imperative that we dig beneath the surface of Christianity's benign reputation to examine its contribution to our social problems. Living in the Shadow of the Cross reveals the ongoing, everyday impact of Christian power and privilege on our beliefs, behaviors, and public policy, and emphasizes the potential for people to come together to resist domination and build and sustain communities of justice and peace. Paul Kivel is the award-winning author of Uprooting Racism and the director of the Christian Hegemony Project. He is a social justice activist and educator who has focused on the issues of violence prevention, oppression, and social justice for over forty-five years.

Ordinary Saints

See R. Marie Griffith, Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity (Berkeley: University of ... crucified Christ” as well as in Christian traditions, both Protestant and Catholic, which view material abundance and ...

Ordinary Saints

From their everyday work in kitchens and gardens to the solemn work of laying out the dead, the Anglican women of mid-twentieth-century Conception Bay, Newfoundland, understood and expressed Christianity through their experience as labourers within the family economy. Women's work in the region included outdoor agricultural labour, housekeeping, childbirth, mortuary services, food preparation, caring for the sick, and textile production. Ordinary Saints explores how religious belief shaped the meaning of this work, and how women lived their Christian faith through the work they did. In lived religious practices at home, in church-based voluntary associations, and in the wider community, the Anglican women of Conception Bay constructed a female theological culture characterized by mutuality, negotiation of gender roles, and resistance to male authority, combining feminist consciousness with Christian commitment. Bonnie Morgan brings together evidence from oral interviews, denominational publications, census data, minute books of the Church of England Women's Association, headstone epitaphs, and household art and objects to demonstrate the profound ties between labour and faithfulness: for these rural women, work not only expressed but also shaped belief. Ordinary Saints, with its focus on gender, labour, and lived faithfulness, breaks new ground in the history of religion in Canada.

Patriarchal Lineages in 21st Century Christian Courtship

University of California Press. Gothard, B. (n.d.). Character Qualities. Retrieved from http://billgothard.com/ teaching/characterqualities/. Griffith, R. M. (2004). Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity.

Patriarchal Lineages in 21st Century Christian Courtship

Drawing from a study of courtship media and ethnographic work at purity retreats and home-school conventions across the Midwest, this is the first inquiry into modern Christian courtship, an alternative to dating that asks young people to avoid both romance and sex until they are ready to be married. Bridging sociological and historical studies of American Christianity with youth and girlhood studies literatures, Elizabeth Shively finds that the courtship system is designed to shore up the patriarchal nuclear family structure at the center of conservative Christianity and ensure predictability in the face of emerging adulthood: single young women work to embody ideals of “luminous femininity” and model themselves after archetypes such as the “Proverbs 31 woman,” the “stay-at-home-daughter,” and the “mission-minded girl,” and courting couples strive to “guard their hearts” against premature emotional intimacy. Nonetheless, participants report that courtship, like other relationships, inevitably carries an element of risk, and it ultimately fails to offer a substantial challenge to the to the sexist realities of youth dating culture.

Food and Faith in Christian Culture

Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004. ——— “There Seems to Be a Growing Interest Today in Religiously Based Diet Programs— What's Going On?” Eating Disorders 9 ...

Food and Faith in Christian Culture

Without a uniform dietary code, Christians around the world used food in strikingly different ways, developing widely divergent practices that spread, nurtured, and strengthened their religious beliefs and communities. Featuring never-before published essays, this anthology follows the intersection of food and faith from the fourteenth to the twenty-first century, charting the complex relationship among religious eating habits and politics, culture, and social structure. Theoretically rich and full of engaging portraits, essays consider the rise of food buying and consumerism in the fourteenth century, the Reformation ideology of fasting and its resulting sanctions against sumptuous eating, the gender and racial politics of sacramental food production in colonial America, and the struggle to define "enlightened" Lenten dietary restrictions in early modern France. Essays on the nineteenth century explore the religious implications of wheat growing and breadmaking among New Zealand's Maori population and the revival of the Agape meal, or love feast, among American brethren in Christ Church. Twentieth-century topics include the metaphysical significance of vegetarianism, the function of diet in Greek Orthodoxy, American Christian weight loss programs, and the practice of silent eating rituals among English Benedictine monks. Two introductory essays detail the key themes tying these essays together and survey food's role in developing and disseminating the teachings of Christianity, not to mention providing a tangible experience of faith.

Gods in America

See Griffith, Born Again Bodies , 3. 67 Kennedy and Starnes, “Gwen in the Balance,” 15. 68 John W. Kennedy, “ Gwen Shamblin's New Jerusalem ,” Christianity Today 46 (December 9, 2002): 15 ; Griffith, Born Again Bodies , 182.

Gods in America

Religious pluralism has characterized America almost from its seventeenth-century inception, but the past half century or so has witnessed wholesale changes in the religious landscape, including a proliferation of new spiritualities, the emergence of widespread adherence to ''Asian'' traditions, and an evangelical Christian resurgence. These recent phenomena--important in themselves as indices of cultural change--are also both causes and contributions to one of the most remarked-upon and seemingly anomalous characteristics of the modern United States: its widespread religiosity. Compared to its role in the world's other leading powers, religion in the United States is deeply woven into the fabric of civil and cultural life. At the same time, religion has, from the 1600s on, never meant a single denominational or confessional tradition, and the variety of American religious experience has only become more diverse over the past fifty years. Gods in America brings together leading scholars from a variety of disciplines to explain the historical roots of these phenomena and assess their impact on modern American society.

Divine Hierarchies

In Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity, Griffith states that religion “has been central to the creation of American bodies.”1 Contesting previous scholarship that ignores religion's influence on modern American ...

Divine Hierarchies

Placing the neglected issue of class back into the study and understanding of religion, Sean McCloud reconsiders the meaning of class in today's world. More than a status grounded in material conditions, says McCloud, class also entails relationships, ide

The Makeover

Gagnon, “The Self, Its Voices, and Their Discord.” . Foucault, History ofSexuality, Volume 3, 56. . Ursula Gestefeld quoted in Grifl'lth, Born Again Bodies, 84. . Sedgwick, Tendencies, 13o; Sender and Sullivan, “Epidemics of Will.” .

The Makeover

Watch this show, buy this product, you can be a whole new you! Makeover television shows repeatedly promise self-renewal and the opportunity for reinvention, but what do we know about the people who watch them? As it turns out, surprisingly little. The Makeover is the first book to consider the rapid rise of makeover shows from the perspectives of their viewers. Katherine Sender argues that this genre of reality television continues a long history of self-improvement, shaped through contemporary media, technological, and economic contexts. Most people think that reality television viewers are ideological dupes and obliging consumers. Sender, however, finds that they have a much more nuanced and reflexive approach to the shows they watch. They are critical of the instruction, the consumer plugs, and the manipulative editing in the shows. At the same time, they buy into the shows’ imperative to construct a reflexive self: an inner self that can be seen as if from the outside, and must be explored and expressed to others. The Makeover intervenes in debates about both reality television and audience research, offering the concept of the reflexive self to move these debates forward.

A Communion of Shadows

Griffith, Born Again Bodies; Finch, Dissenting Bodies. 42. McCandless, “The Portrait Studio and the Celebrity,” 55. 43. Rembrandt Peale, “Portraiture,” Crayon, February 1, 1857. 44. Root, The Camera and the Pencil, 44, 121, 144–46. 45.

A Communion of Shadows

When the revolutionary technology of photography erupted in American culture in 1839, it swiftly became, in the day's parlance, a "mania." This richly illustrated book positions vernacular photography at the center of the study of nineteenth-century American religious life. As an empirical tool, photography captured many of the signal scenes of American life, from the gold rush to the bloody battlefields of the Civil War. But photographs did not simply display neutral records of people, places, and things; rather, commonplace photographs became inscribed with spiritual meaning, disclosing, not merely signifying, a power that lay beyond. Rachel McBride Lindsey demonstrates that what people beheld when they looked at a photograph had as much to do with what lay outside the frame--theological expectations, for example--as with what the camera had recorded. Whether studio portraits tucked into Bibles, postmortem portraits with locks of hair attached, "spirit" photography, stereographs of the Holy Land, or magic lanterns used in biblical instruction, photographs were curated, beheld, displayed, and valued as physical artifacts that functioned both as relics and as icons of religious practice. Lindsey's interpretation of "vernacular" as an analytic introduces a way to consider anew the cultural, social, and material reach of religion. A multimedia collaboration with MAVCOR—Center for the Study of Material & Visual Cultures of Religion—at Yale University.

What Happens When We Practice Religion

... Born Again Bodies identifies a similar emphasis among American Christians on self-improvement in body disciplines as diverse as fasting, dieting, participating in church-based weight-loss programs, and abstaining from sex.

What Happens When We Practice Religion

An exploration of the interdisciplinary methods used to understand religious practice Religion is commonly viewed as something that people practice, whether in the presence of others or alone. But what do we mean exactly by "practice"? What approaches help to answer this question? What Happens When We Practice Religion? delves into the central concepts, arguments, and tools used to understand religion today. Throughout the past few decades, the study of religion has shifted away from essentialist arguments that grandly purport to explain what religion is and why it exists. Instead, using methods from anthropology, psychology, religious studies, and sociology, scholars now focus on what people do and say: their daily religious habits, routines, improvisations, and adaptations. Robert Wuthnow shows how four intersecting areas of inquiry--situations, intentions, feelings, and bodies--shed important light on religious practice, and he explores such topics as the role of religious experiences in sacred spaces, gendered social relationships, educational settings, the arts, meditation, and ritual. Suitable for undergraduate and graduate courses, What Happens When We Practice Religion? provides insights into the diverse ways that religion manifests in ordinary life. Summarizes the latest theories and empirical methods of religious practice Shows how the study of religion has changed Includes chapters on theory, situations, intentions, feelings, and bodies Draws from anthropology, psychology, religious studies, and sociology Accessible for undergraduate and graduate courses