A study explores Christianity’s relationship to the human body.
This latest book from Thompson (Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would, 2004) delves into the vexed and ambivalent relationship between Christianity and the naked human body. The author takes a standard Christian stance that humans are the handiwork of God and therefore implicitly divulge something of his thinking. “The body reveals these mysteries by demonstrating the attributes of God in both form and function, design and behavior,” Thompson writes. “The body teaches us who God is.” The author grapples with the subject of physicality through a delightfully wide array of readings, ranging from Lady Gaga and St. Teresa of Ávila to canonical Christian writings and a variety of blogs on many subjects. He looks at Christianity’s long history of instilling shame and revulsion in its followers regarding the naked body, and he presents a broad survey of more contemporary writings designed to counter that tradition. Thompson is a proponent of a far more wholesome view of nudity, asserting that nothing fixes unhealthy body images faster than spending “quality time” with other bodies. Rather than a stigma, he tends to think of getting naked as becoming closer to the Creator of that nakedness: “I am throwing off the last remaining connection to society and its rituals, thus baring my soul to God with nothing in the way.” Some of the author’s claims will strike many readers as odd, especially in light of the progressiveness of his general argument. He mentions that Adam and Eve lived in 4000 B.C.E., for instance (the ancient Egyptians had been farming and manufacturing for thousands of years before that date), and he repeatedly references his own “struggles” with same-gender attraction. But his overall approach to his subject is refreshingly affirmative. “Lack of information creates confusion about sex, and lack of affirmation creates shame about the body,” he writes in one encouraging passage. “This confusion, and conflation, informs our impropriety.” Christians having questions about their own bodies will find a wealth of captivating content in these pages.
An intriguing, wide-ranging attempt to renovate the way Christians relate to naked bodies.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)