cover image Sensual Faith: The Art of Coming Home to Your Body

Sensual Faith: The Art of Coming Home to Your Body

Lyvonne Briggs. Convergent, $17 (208p) ISBN 978-0-593-44321-7

Pastor Briggs debuts with a powerful affirmation of body acceptance for Black women. Though “colonized religion,” has “made us feel like our bodies are... mere apparatuses that we need to subdue,” loving one’s body, she posits, is intrinsic to loving God. Drawing on a womanist perspective, Briggs outlines a blueprint for Black women to surmount religious shame and love their bodies. Central to her program is recognizing that capitalism does harm by positioning the body as an instrument of productivity, as do outdated forms of Christianity that view female sexuality as “evil.” It’s also important to realize that one’s physical urges are “divinely designed,” and, as such, Briggs emphasizes the importance of healthy sexual relationships and devotes a chapter to setting up masturbation as a “gift from God.” And while topics like miscarriage and abortion are frequently brushed aside in church environments, Briggs advises readers to address them head on and seek communal support. Throughout, the author dispenses tried-and-true wisdom that encourages readers to listen to their bodies and honor their physical agency (for example, by setting healthy boundaries). More a philosophical reframing than a guide, this offering takes an upbeat approach to bodily acceptance, and Briggs’s pastoral perspective lends depth to its theological underpinnings. Black women looking to love themselves while loving God will find much to gain. (Mar.)