Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-19-2023


Humanity is created good and in God’s own image. Over the years many streams of the Christian tradition have moved away from this foundation of created goodness resulting in disembodied approaches to our spiritual formation. The disconnection from our embodied selves God so lovingly and intentionally created has appeared in a variety of ways. Some particular perspectives consider bodies to be prohibitive to spiritual growth. This project seeks to return to the beginning and explore how a holistic approach to spiritual formation helps us live in a way that more fully portrays the goodness out of which we were created as beings made in God’s image.

The literature review looks at cultural, philosophical, theological, and Biblical influences in the conversation of bodily inclusion in spiritual formation. Alongside this, the stories and responses of twenty people who participated in an embodied spiritual formation retreat and answered a set of eleven questions three separate times help flesh out the particular ways embodied practices influence lives of faith. As a result, one overarching narrative came to the surface and three themes within it. This lead into the final chapter that explores theological and spiritual implications for a variety of ministry contexts.