Chains Fall Off: The Resurrection of the Body and Our Healing from Shame

  • Cynthia L. Rigby


This chapter reimagines bodily resurrection in light of women’s experiences of shame and defectiveness. Women around the world experience shame in relation to their embodied lives. Many women testify they experience shame not only in relation to their sexuality, but in relation to their very existence as embodied beings. The doctrine of bodily resurrection is often used to argue against the value of bodies in this world by directing us to hope only for the world to come. Related doctrines, including “total depravity” and atonement, have similarly been used to perpetuate shame rather than to promote healing.

How can these doctrines help us set aside feelings of defectiveness and shame, living instead with a perception of our beauty and worth? The proposal is that “total depravity” names the fact that shame cannot be overridden by appealing to escapist notions of hope; that “atonement” remembers we are met and valued in our shame by the Word made flesh; that bodily resurrection includes these bodies, on this day, in this world, with these scars.


Shame Body Christian Theology Christian Doctrine Church Teaching Ethical Predicament 
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© Grace Ji-Sun Kim and Jenny Daggers 2014

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  • Cynthia L. Rigby

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