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Spiritual Practices

Podcast: Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Body Prayer

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Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Professor of Theology, author, S&H contributor, and the host of Madang podcast, discusses her recent article “Body Prayer for Every Day” and her book, The Grace of Sophia: A Korean North American Women's Christology.

Grace Ji-Sun Kim is a Korean-American theologian and Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion. She is the author and editor of 20 books, a contributor to Spirituality & Health online and in print (Tune in for her upcoming article in the July/August 2021 issue!), and the host of Madang podcast hosted by The Christian Century.

In her recent digital article for Spirituality & Health, “Body Prayer for Every Day,” Kim discusses her mother’s journey with prayer and ways you can engage in whole-body prayer, citing the practices of Julian of Norwich (1343–1416).

“Body prayer tries to eliminate the dualistic frame of mind and reminds us that the body is good.” Read more here.

In this episode, Rabbi Rami and Kim jump around Kim’s body of work from books to articles as they begin by discussing the intersectionality of identity and religion, why we love labels, and how the Korean language evolves our ability to speak about God. They dive in-depth into Kim’s first book, The Grace of Sophia: A Korean North American Women's Christology—in which they discuss the feminine dimensions of God and the divine feminine.

“I hope people will retrieve, and welcome, the feminine dimension of the divine. It’s so liberative, it brings us together. And even in the old testament, it talks about God as the mother hen, and there are feminine images of God. But because we live in a dualistic world, we kind of separate the two, we can't seem to kind of welcome both of them.”

They close out their conversation in a discussion of responsible doing as a means to knowing, and how praying with the whole body—beyond just words—can bring you closer to your religion and your understanding of God. Whole-body prayer, Kim explains, is a holistic approach to prayer.

“People focus on the speaking aspect of prayer, that is the most highly valued way of prayer—through our speaking—which is also going back to this problem of dualism, we have separated everything up, compartmentalized. ... If we move away from this dualistic way of prayer, we can pray with our bodies, with our hands, with our feet, with our minds, with our words, with our language—it becomes a more holistic approach.”

Read Grace Ji-Sun Kim’s article in the July/August 2021 print issue of Spirituality & Health. Also read more of Kim’s digital publications from S&H here.

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