My Twitter profile says “Passionate about body-acceptance & living out the Kingdom of God. English and Theology degrees. INTJ. Feminist. Loves to cook, sew, and drink coffee.” That about covers the basics. As I learn more and more about how God sees me and God sees the world, I want to share the journey with others. In the hopes that we all learn a little bit more on the way and do a better job at living out the prayer for God’s “Kingdom to come, on earth as it is in heaven.”
My professional background includes a few years as a High School English teacher near Atlanta, GA and a few years living and working in a residential scholarship program for teenagers near Chicago, IL. After spending time in education and social work I saw many of the ways the systems failed the people they were trying to help. I wanted to focus on figuring out how to make better systems. I stumbled upon the field of Public Policy and when I looked for a grad school that would allow me to investigate that from a Christian perspective, I found Palmer Theological Seminary near Philadelphia, PA.
While taking classes on Christian Social Ethics in seminary I fell in love with connecting the dots between church teachings, the influence of greater social contexts, and how those things impacted the actual lives of people. Now, I get to satisfy that love of connecting the dots by delving deeper into my research on the way the Christian Church in America has done a disservice, specifically to women, in the way we think about our bodies. Specifically, the size of our bodies.
I have been fat all my life. While the world was telling me that I needed to be thin in order to be acceptable or lovable, the church told me I needed to be thin in order to please and honor God. It is a message that I have learned is all too common for those who sit heavily on the pews.
I’ve spent years of my life reading about and researching this topic. This has produced a passion to encourage churches and Christians to embrace bodies of all sizes and types. At Palmer I was fortunate to have professors and classmates who encouraged me and challenged me as I dove into looking critically at the theology of our bodies. I found that our understanding of our bodies – whether they are good or bad or somewhere in between – impacts how we relate to each other and how we view the bodies of others. When we don’t have healthy views of our bodies, we don’t have healthy community, and community is the essence of who God is.
I’ve been blogging off and on and various homes on the Internet since my family had a little dial-up computer and I used up all the allotted minutes from Juno each month. Writing out my thoughts on the internet seemed to help me process things, and sometimes people liked what I wrote. And I liked that they liked what I wrote.
I hope you join me – feel free to leave comment or say hi on social media:
Fat & Faithful Podcast: Fat women talk faith, politics, and culture as they relate to fatness. Co-hosted with Amanda Martinez Beck. Available wherever you get your podcast!
“Body Dignity Matters” on Our Midwestern Life || Abigail Murrish, October 2017
“Is it Wrong for Christians to be Fat?” on Up for Debate || Moody Radio, February 2016
“God Loves My Fat Body” on Relationship Insights || Carrie Abbott, 2016