My Top 5 Books on The Body
R. Marie Griffith (University of California Press)
This is a serious yet largely accessible scholarly study on the long history of American Christian body projects—from 19th-century health food evangelists to more recent evangelical weight-loss programs. Griffith talks to Christians involved in these projects, seeking to understand how they view the relationship between their bodies and their souls.
Robert Farrar Capon (Modern Library Paperbacks)
Capon, a priest and amateur chef, offers a theological treatise on the goodness of the body and its appetites, and the astounding creativity of the God who has so richly provided not simply for our sustenance but also for our satisfaction and pleasure. This book is well on its way to becoming a spiritual and culinary classic. There are even recipes to get you started.
Ellyn Satter (Kelcy Press)
Satter's concept of "eating competency," while not explicitly Christian, has helped me understand the goodness of the body and of its needs and appetites. Satter urges us to give ourselves "permission to choose enjoyable food and eat it in satisfying amounts." But she also urges us to have "the discipline to have regular and reliable meals and snacks and to pay attention when eating them."
Susan Bordo (University of California Press)
Scholarly and challenging, this book has me returning for its insightful analysis of the meaning of eating disorders and the social pressures that conspire to make women and girls fear their own appetites. It is an indispensible starting point from which to understand the complexity of eating disorders and body dissatisfaction.
Amy Frykholm (Beacon Press)
Frykholm says that rules "can guide people onto solid ground," but she's concerned that rules have become almost the sole way that American Christians talk about sex and bodies. Sharing very different stories of young people growing up Christian, Frykholm urges more compassionate conversations about how difficult it is to be spiritual beings with feet of clay.