Blood, guts… real life




Theology is a “Victorian” enterprise, neo-classically bright and neat and clean, nothing out of place.  Whereas the Bible talks about hair, blood, sweat, entrails, menstruation and genital emissions.

Peter J. Leithart, Against Christianity

Preparing to preach through the book of Leviticus, Leithart’s comments above ring true in high definition. It is, after all, in Leviticus that we find so much ink spent on issues of blood, food, menstruation, childbirth, semen, animal entrails, burning meat, and on and on. It is not for the squeamish.

Leithart is not insulting theology ( = our thoughts about God) per se.  He is a theologian himself. But beliefs about God detached from the dirt beneath our feet, the way we procreate, our physical selves is not what Biblical Christianity is about.

Think of ‘spirituality’. Does that conjure up otherworldly ideas – of mystical praying, detached contemplation, or heavenly intangibles?  ‘Spirituality’ as such is foreign to the Bible – and to Christian life. The God of the Old Testament, who is incarnated in Jesus, is concerned and involved with the physical grittiness of this world.

For me, I am thankful to be so reminded.  I don’t live in esoteric clouds but with my feet on the ground in this world of bowels and blood. And I’m happy to have God involved with us here.