Engaging the Taboo: Gender, Sexuality, and the Body in Our Religious Traditions, Editors’ Note

Posted on October 1st, 2009 | Filed under Best Practices/Non-Profit, Faith and Politics, InterViews, IR News and Events

IMG_6498Dear Readers,

As small children, we begin to learn about who we are in the physical world by discovering the boundaries between our bodies and the rest of the world.  That is, we learn we are separate and individual as we come to understand our own feet and hands and actions, delineated from our toys, our siblings, and our parents.  As we become socialized, understandings and critiques of gender, and physical relationships with others (or not) form our identities, a vessel for relating to the world, and also a spiritual puzzle:  Which is body, which is spirit, and how does one’s faith inform the understanding of both.

While popular media—from style magazines to newspaper articles extolling advances in understanding one’s genetic makeup—deal in the body and sexuality as a matter of course, religions also have a great deal to say.

In this issue, we are excited to share several perspectives on celibacy, the HIV/AIDS crisis, and sacred images and practice in Byzantium and Tibet, among others.  These writers have used their experience in religious thought as a frame to begin dialogue about aspects of sexuality, gender, and the body.  We invite our readers to share their own perspectives and continue the conversation on-line.

In life, many of our human experiences are mediated through the physical aspect of our bodies.  We hope this issue can further scholarship and personal discovery in the intersection of the spiritual and the physical.

With warm regards,

Joshua Stanton and Stephanie Hughes,

Editors-in-Chief of the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue

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