Welcome, Grace & Peace...

Welcome to my blog, a transdisciplinary place of reflection on creativity, pastoral theology, and psychotherapy. Posts are few, so check back periodically to see what's new. Enjoy!

The Rev. Martha S. Jacobi., PhD, LCSW


Body, Brain, & Spirit

"The brain is part of the body."
I don't know who said it first; I think I heard it first from Francine Shapiro, at the 2003 conference of the EMDR International Association, in Denver. It was a moment that has stayed with me, and is ever present these days as I am developing my thesis proposal for a second level theological degree.

"The brain mediates...everything."
I don't know where I first heard or read that, either--but it is profound, and leaves me pondering more questions than responses to them. If the brain mediates "everything," how does the brain mediate the Spirit / spirit? How does the brain mediate God? What does one make of, in James' words, "the varieties of religious experience"? And what of the rest of the body in religio-spiritual experience? In Brainspotting with clients their "felt-sense" of religio-spiritual experience, that "felt-sense" is noticed, most often, somewhere below the neck--but not always... yet the phenomena of the experiencing itself is brain-centered.

"The human brain was not designed for the demands of 21st century urban life."
I read that recently, or something like it, in a couple of different places. I am not sure if I agree or disagree. While I have a visceral desire to agree wholeheartedly--I also feel a pull back from doing so. The brain's ability to adapt, to accomodate, to change, to grow, to heal--is phenomenal, as is that of the whole human body, and indeed the whole creation. (That said: I do not believe that the human brain was designed to meet the demands of hyper-excessive sensory stimulation, nor the concussive effects of explosions such as those experienced by far too many Iraq war veterans. If anyone doubts the effects of vibrational energy, here they are, in most negative form.)

So what about creation theology... and the need to hold together creation (& covenant & renewal) and redemption? In our "transitional eschatologies" (S. Mark Heim, A Trinitarian Theology of Religious Ends) what does care and repair of the physical aspects of creation look like? What recognition of ultimate versus penultimate healing and wholeness needs to be acknowleged? Yet however we define it, describe it -- it's all still mediated by the brain, which itself is part of that creation...

Where I'm going with this, what I want to explore, think, and write about--one day--is a theology of the brain. That's way "too big" for the current academic exercise, of course... but it's what's driving it. Brain and its relation to body, and the relation of both to God, and vice versa-- through that wonderful Lutheran Confessional Theological lens, which can do no other than root it all,sooner or later, in grace.

For now, I'll keep reading, exploring, learning, thinking.... and maybe write some of those thoughts here in the future.