I had a birthday this month, and aged another year. It was the perfect birthday: a lunch out with Jon, followed by a brief push-walk by the sea, and collecting my boy from school for the first time ever. I could smell cut grass, sea spray, warm wind: the scents of Spring.
This is a book for those who’ve grown up in the church, but are now questioning their faith, or considering walking away from the church altogether. Rachel Held Evans doesn’t try to ‘fix’ her reader, but invites people to walk with her awhile, which is why, to me, it felt like sanctuary.
I internalized that being Christian meant acting like an American, and because I am in fact, not American, I often felt like I don’t belong to the Christian culture. However, more and more I am discovering that following Jesus has very little to do with belonging to Christian culture.
Today I have something special – an exclusive interview with Tara Owens. She’s one of my dearest friends in the whole world, and she is the author of Embracing the Body: Finding God in our Flesh and Bone. It is an exquisite, wise, vulnerable book about the theology and spirituality of the body, not just viewing our bodies as the world does (obsession) or as the church often does (denial) but reclaiming a Christian view of our bodies, and how awareness of our body can reconnect us with God. I’m delighted to share this chat we had about her spiritual journey, writing tips, and body image:
February is a mere sneeze of a month, over before you know it’s begun. On the 1st Feb I had a rare and glorious trip out of the house. Snuggled in my faux-fur coat, Jon took me to a farmers’ market where we ate amazing mediterranean chicken salad in the bitingly cold air. Then we bumped into friends – a spontaneous rendez-vous! – and went back to their house for coffee, which was nearby. I honestly can’t remember the last time I was able to do anything spontaneously like that. It was amazing.
It went something like this: Jon and I told the boy we were having a book launch party. The boy, quite reasonably, thought that ‘party’ meant ‘party’, i.e. an event with lots of people to celebrate the launch of my book, but we disappointed him by telling him there were no presents at Book Launch Parties, or in our case, any guests . We were celebrating with a steak dinner and an early night. Nevertheless, the boy was very taken by drinking fizzy elderflower drink out of a champagne glass after bedtime, and decided he would quite like a launch party of his own.
It was so beautiful, and such a surprise. There was the sort of atmosphere in the room that, had we not already been married for over a decade, I would have been expecting Jon to get down on one knee and propose. I kept staring in silence, and then said what anyone else would say in my situation:
“You monkey. I can’t believe you got me this.”
If you had told us even a year ago that Jon would be a ‘professional’ artist, and an expert on art history, we would have been very surprised. I love that after even so many years we are discovering new talents to celebrate in one another (my writing was a similar surprise to us both) as our lives bend and shift together.