Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
May 8th, 2015 by Joel Watts

William Law’s bodily connection to “ill temper”

Raphael, Three Graces

This is not porn. This is art. ART. NOT PORN. ART. Raphael, Three Graces (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Man may indeed practise the outward Part of a Christian, he may be Orthodox in his Faith, and regular in the Forms of Religion, and yet live in Ease and Indulgence. But if he would put on Christ, and be clothed with the Humility and Meekness of his true Disciples, if he would love his Enemies and be in Christ a new Creature, if he would live by Faith and have his Conversation in Heaven, if he would be born again of God, and overcome the World, he must lay the Foundation of all these Graces in the Mortification and Subjection of his Body. For not only Religion, but Reason, can show us, that almost every ill Temper, every Hindrance of Virtue, every Clog in our Way of Piety, and the Strength of every Temptation, chiefly arises from the State of our Bodies.1

Think me not overly pious or somewhat of a prude, but there is a problem with the desecration of our bodies. Sex is not  a bad thing, especially when it is does right (which may include doing it “bad” (i.e., naughty). However, we can over indulge whims and passions.

I do not think drinking and smoking the weed is necessarily a sin. Yet, we can harm ourselves by wrongful indulgence.

When we suggest our bodies are here only for pleasure we are going to be in error. When we deny our bodies proper pleasure, we are going to be in error.

So, how does the Church speak to ethics, specifically of the bodily nature, when we are told our bodies are our decisions? Can we give a voice to that?

  1.  William Law, The Works of the Reverend William Law (vol. 3, 9 vols.; London: J. Richardson, 1762), 118.
Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).


3 Responses to “William Law’s bodily connection to “ill temper””
  1. “Can we give a voice to that?”… Yeah, that’s what the Gnostics thought (some of them, anyway). BTW, nice picture, Raphael.

  2. I agree. Art. Only dirty old men would see porn. Us plain old men (non-dirty) see fanciful memories of the past (if only in dreams— better than dreaming about an apocalypse of civil unrest). I bet Raphael wasn’t from Texas 🙂
    I don’t know about William Law. Maybe Southern London.

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