Collaborating with God & Unveiling Bodies (Ether 1-5)

Monday, November 9, 2020


Channing: [00:00:00] Hi, I'm Channing 

Elise: [00:00:08] and I’m Elise, 

Channing: [00:00:09] and this is The Faithful Feminist podcast. 

Elise: [00:00:13] But this is not just any Come Follow Me podcast. We do things a little differently here. We offer approachable feminist interpretations of the Come Follow Me manual for those who want to study and understand the scriptures in a framework of equality, social justice, and sisterhood. We are here to show you all the really good ways that faith and feminism work together to illuminate and deepen the gospel experience. 

Channing: [00:00:37] We saved you a seat on the soft chairs. So join us today for a conversation about Ether chapters one through five, for the dates November 9th through the 15th. We're so glad you're here today.
Elise: [00:00:57] Welcome back everyone. Happy November. I hope that you’re starting to feel the seasons change. Maybe some of you are getting excited for the holidays. Maybe we're all celebrating our new president. There's still lots of work to do, but I feel like we can hold people accountable and we can start pushing for the things that we need to see.

Channing: [00:01:24] Yes, we can all breathe a sigh of relief now. Before we move on, we just wanted to give you a little announcement. We are taking a break for the holidays. We're planning on finishing out the rest of the month of November with a book of Ether and then doing one mega episode that comes out the first week of December and covers all of the book of Moroni. Then we plan to rest and prepare for the new year in Doctrine and Covenants. And we'll be back with the new episode on January 4th. We'll miss you so, so, so much, but we need some time to just rest and prepare because we have some big plans coming up for next year and we can't wait to share them with you.

Elise: [00:02:13] Yes. And so I hope that you can soak up all of the episodes. You can kind of break down the mega episode that has the entire book of Moroni, or you can go listen to past episodes that maybe you haven't got a chance to listen to just yet, but also we will still be active on Instagram, engaging with you all checking in on you, but we encourage you as well to give yourself some space to rest, to enjoy your loved ones and spend some time with your chosen families. In this episode, we get to dive right into the book of Ether. And this is a really beloved story. It's about the story of the brother of Jared, and the barges that he and his people build to kind of travel to the promise land. We found these set of scriptures really enriching. And today we're going to spend time talking about collaborating with Jesus and a theology of bodies.

Channing: [00:03:03] We're looking forward to diving into this familiar story, but just in case you haven't heard the story of brother of Jared, it starts in Ether chapter one. And in this chapter, we're given a huge long list of basically relatives. Like this is a pretty iconic chapter in the Book of Mormon because the verses read Ethan was the son of Aha, and Aha was the son of Seth.And Seth was the son of Shiblon. And Shiblon was the son of Com and Com was the son of Coriantum and it goes on like this for something like almost 30 verses. Um, also in chapter one we begin the narrative of the Jaredites set in biblical times at the tower of Babel. And the tower of Babel is a story that talks about people building a tower high enough to get to heaven, and the Lord becomes displeased.

And so the Lord decides that he will confound the languages of all the people so they can no longer communicate with each other. And so chapter one talks about the Jaredites in this kind of chaotic narrative of the tower of Babel and Jared, the leader of the Jaredites or soon to be leader of the Jaredites, goes to the Lord and asks the Lord to not confound the languages of his family and his friends and, um, I like that phrase, the least that you used chosen family, for sure. And the Lord agrees and after the tower of Babel falls and the people's languages are confounded, the Lord leads the Jaredites out of the city and into the wilderness for their next adventure.

Elise: [00:04:53] One of the first things that we wanted to take a look at is the relationship that the brother of Jared has with God, because I think that there's a lot we can learn here about the way God trusts us, the way that God wants us to overcome our self doubt and the way that we can really collaborate and participate in not only our own salvation, but also in making things work for us, for our good for the here and now. In chapter one and chapter two, we see the pattern of God's and the brother of Jared's relationship. And it's really been asked and you shall receive. The brother of Jared asks for his friends and his family to be spared after the tower of Babel and God does it.

The brother of Jared asks how he should go about building these boats or these barges so that his family can get to the promised land and the Lord gives him an entire plan. In chapter two, verses 18 and 19 we hear the brother of Jared say, Oh Lord, I have performed the work which thou has commanded me. And I have made the barges according as thou has directed me. And so you see here, this kind of like ask and God gives the answer. The brother of Jared goes and does it it's this really like, at least from the story, it seems really clear cut here that the brother of Jared is good about relying on the Lord for everything at this point.

Channing: [00:06:15] I think that we see a lot of correlation here between this story and the story of Nephi building the boat. Like there's kind of the setup of, okay, the Lord commanded me and I will go and do. And I think in the beginning of chapter two, we see a lot of, um, similarities between the two stories, but it does shift. The narrative shifts a little bit.

Elise: [00:06:38] Yeah, it is because once the brother of Jared comes back to the Lord, after he's followed all of the plans for the barges, he actually says, um, Lord, there is no light in these ships, so how are we going to steer? And also we're going to die because we can't breathe in them. So, yeah, we might perish, so God, look, I've done everything you've asked. I've followed all of your instructions and your plans to a T, but I'm coming up on some pretty serious and pretty like potentially life-threatening challenges here. And what I love about the brother of Jared right here is that he's starting to not push back against God, but bring these challenges to God and say, look. I don't know what I supposed to do here, um, he is trying to listen and submit himself fully to God.

But I do think that the brother of Jared has showcasing a bit of like shared responsibility to figure things out. He recognizes that if he just blindly follows the Lord's plan and doesn't come back and ask about air or light that his people will perish in these barges, even though the plans were laid out by God. So to these two issues, the Lord responds, okay. Let me solve one of these for you. Why don't you just go ahead and make a hole in the top and the bottom of the barges and use a stopper to let fresh air in. So the brother of Jared does that, but then he comes back and in chapter two, verse 22, he says, look, I've prepared the vessels, but behold, there's still no light. Are you going to let us suffer in darkness as we cross the great water? And I just wanted to ask you, like, does the brother of Jared seem I, at first I thought he seemed really like pouty here. Like, God I already asked you, like, I need you to solve this for me. But as I thought about it more, I'm wondering if he's less pouty, and more like he holds a lot of self-doubt.

Elise: [00:08:41] He feels like he can't make a move. He can't make a decision for himself without checking in with God. And like, yes, of course we should allow God to guide our actions and we should rely on God. But at what point does our reliance and obedience to God limit our own agency and put us in a situation filled with self-doubt and absolve us of our responsibility?

Channing: [00:09:06] I liked that question. And one of the things that it made me think of is as we've been watching the election unfold over the last week, I've seen a lot of what we would call toxic positivity and spiritual bypassing, especially a lot of those quotes of like, Oh, it doesn't matter who gets elected president because Jesus is King and Jesus always sits on the throne. And I think that, that, I think that your question, you know, does our reliance and obedience on God, limit our agency and absolve us of risk and responsibility, in this case absolutely. Especially if we're saying like, Oh, don't worry, God's going to figure it all out. And kind of like put our hands up in the air and are like, Jesus take the wheel! Like, cause I'm not going to put my hands on it and drive it. Cause there might be consequences.

And so I do think that we have to be careful, especially in our narrative about there being a balance between faith and action. And I think Mormons, especially, that should probably resonate pretty well. We believe in works and the word, um, But I do think that you are wise and bringing up this word of caution from the brother of Jared saying like, look, we can, we can make choices. We have the power, we have the power to choose. But also, one of the other thoughts that I had, um, listening to that verse is maybe the brother of Jared, like maybe God said, okay, go do this thing. And the brother of Jared was like, okay, I'll go do the thing. And maybe like, while I'm in there, more guidance will come or more inspiration will come and I will figure out something for the other problem. And so maybe he was in there and thinking about it the whole time and still was unable to come up with the solution and came back to the Lord and was like okay, so did we forget an issue? We still need to bring it up. So I think there's a couple of different lenses that we could read that verse through, but it's fascinating too.

Elise: [00:11:21] And I think too, if we think about the brother of Jared, if he does experience a lot of self-doubt, he can feel really limited in what he trusts himself to do. But I think that this interpretation that we're trying to offer of like, okay, how is his self-doubt getting in the way of him not just trusting himself, but also trusting that God is on his side. Like, I think that's backed up by the Lord's response because. The Lord says to the brother of Jared, well, what do you want me to do? What do you want me to do then? And I don't think that this is meant to do you come off sarcastically or like the Lord is upset about it. I think that the Lord is actually more serious here. Like, okay, you can have fire and you can't have windows. So really honestly, what do you think I should do about it. Like I'm turning this to you. I trust you enough to have you share and collaborate in solving this issue. I'm open to your ideas and I want to work together with you on this.

And I think that's a really beautiful moment where we see God put God's trust in the brother of Jared, even before the brother of Jared trusts himself. God says, look, bro, brother of Jared, you trust me right? Then trust me, then trust me enough to turn this back to you because I trust you.

Channing: [00:12:48] I don't know of another scripture off the top of my head, at least in the book of Mormon that we've read this year where God does something like this, or at least that we've pulled this theme out. I'm sure God does it quite a bit, but,

Elise: [00:13:04] but we see it really clearly here with the brother of Jared I think.

Channing: [00:13:10] Elise this is a really profound reading of the story of brother of Jared, because essentially what you're pointing out is that God asks the brother of Jared to be a full participant in his own life and a full participant in the lives of their people. And I think that that's a really nuanced way approach the text. Because at least for me, like whenever I come to the text and God says something, I'm like, well, did God really say that? It's one of the two, like, it's either me saying, did God really say that? Or is that just what you think God said or, yep. God really said that. And not this collaborative effort discussion and, um, A partnership of a working together toward a common goal. And I'm excited about the implications of this because essentially, God's asking our participation and it kind of levels the playing field. No longer can we just turn to God and say, okay, help me. Because when we do that, we also don't have to take on any of the responsibility and we don't have to take on any of the consequences or at least the blame if something goes wrong.

Elise: [00:14:34] I liked what you said about leveling the playing field, because I think it also levels the power dynamic. God wants us on God’s side so that we can participate and collaborate because we're the ones that are experiencing our world right now. And I think this is a really revelatory moment where God invites us and says, okay, bring it to me. Then tell me what I can do better. Tell me what you need, like, but come up with the solution because you're the one that's experiencing it. And of course, yes, Jesus experienced everything in Gethsemane, of course, but we're the ones that are living through it right now. And I think there's something really liberating about being able to knock on God's door and say, Hey, um, I have a solution and I need your help implementing it.

Elise: [00:15:25] So then the brother of Jared goes away and he spends some time brainstorming a solution and he ends up melting these rocks into these clear glass stones. And then he brings these stones to the Lord and he wants the Lord to light them. But in chapter three, we see the brother of Jared self-doubt come back into play. He says, okay, this is the best that I've got. Please don't be angry with me because I'm weak. I know that I'm weak. And I know that I'm unholy compared to you. I know that it's in my nature to fail and evil. That's in chapter three, verse two. And that amount of self-doubt and almost, but it's humility, but to me, it sounds like another level of humility, um, almost like a cowering away or a fear of God.

And that makes me wonder if maybe the brother of Jared has had some type of traumatic experience where he now thinks that God is like the God of fire and brimstone and punishment. And so I can understand why this would be so hard for the brother of Jared, if his previous experiences and understandings have gone, have been really authoritative. Um, I think in chapter one or two, we hear that the Lord chastised the brother of Jared for hours on end. And so I think that there is a bit of trauma that the brother of Jared is carrying with him along with self-doubt. But that makes the Lord's push back the Lord saying I trust you to come up with a solution. I think that the Lord is challenging the brother of Jared to see the Lord in new light, to see God in the loving, compassionate, and merciful collaborative light.

Channing: [00:17:09] I love this lens of trauma of this personal intimate experience with God where God says, okay, now is your chance to experience my goodness and our shared goodness. And so, I love this patient and encouraging image of God toward the brother of Jared.

Elise: [00:17:34] And following the brother of Jared’s self-doubt, he does recognize God's ability to do all things. Chapter three, verse four, he says, Oh Lord, that now has all power and can do whatsoever that will for the benefit of your people. So he recognizes like, Okay, I'm taking a chance on you here God, I'm bringing you these clear stones. I know that you have power to do anything. So please do this for me. And I think that sentiment strikes really deeply with those who find themselves on the margins.

Elise: [00:18:05] I think for women, we might find ourselves going to the Lord and say, Lord, I know that you have power to do all things, so let me speak up in church and let me be heard. I think maybe for the LGBTQ folks, maybe this plea is okay, God, I know you can do all things so make sure that there's kingdoms and room in the kingdom for us in the highest glory, make room for us. Maybe for BIPOC folks this sounds like I'm God, I know you can do all things, so keep our people safe and be on our side. I think for those with mental illness, it might sound like I know you can do all things, so please get me a Bishop that is sensitive and trauma-informed and allow me the room to feel experience church as it is, but keep me safe too. And for those active doubters, I think that sounds like God, I know you can do all things, so let me be able to question openly in church and allow me to still feel welcomed.

I think that the story of the brother of Jared has so many powerful implications, but up until this point, like before he sees the hand of God, I think there's a lesson to be learned about the way that we can collaborate with God for our own salvation, the way that God trusts us, and the way that God asks us to trust God, like to be active and say, okay, God, I know I'm in your favor. I know you can do all things. I know you love me. And so I know that I can make decisions from that place of love and I can feel confident and self-assured, as I'm moving in a way that you would move too. The second part of this story, we find so lovely because there is a big, big emphasis placed on God's body, which also means that there's a big emphasis placed on our body and the way that our body brings us divinity.

Channing: [00:20:04] Yes, you're absolutely right. And this conversation starts in Ether, chapter two and kind of weaves its way through the rest of that chapter. And also through chapter three in chapter two, verse four, the text says, and it came to pass that when they, the Jaredites had come down into the Valley of Nimrod, the Lord came down and talked with the brother of Jared and he was in a cloud and the brother Jared saw him not. And it came to pass that the Lord did go before the people of Jared and did talk with them as he stood in a cloud and gave directions whether they should travel. And I find it striking that they felt it necessary to say that God was in a cloud, a literal cloud, because a lot of times in the text when it says that God led them or God directed them, it's uh, pretty abstract or even an absent picture of what that actually looked like.

A lot of times we see it happening through personal revelation, or just assume that it's happening through personal, personal revelation of a prophet or leader of some kind. But here they specifically say that he was in a cloud and he talked to them from a cloud and he led them through the land from a cloud. So I think it's really interesting to think about the symbolism of a cloud clouds are, or at least in this story, clouds could be seen as something that's obscuring or mysterious or seen but yet unseen. So I do think it's an interesting image to hold in our mind as we move through the story of the brother of Jared. And then we move into chapter three. And this is the point in time where the brother of Jared is collaborating with and partnering with God and figuring out solutions for how to carry his people across the great waters. And so at the moment that the brother of Jared approaches the Lord and asks him to touch these glass stones that you, Elise, mentioned. The Lord agrees.

And in chapter three, verse six, it says, and it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared. And he saw the finger of the Lord. And it was as the finger of a man like unto flesh and blood. So when the brother of Jared sees the Lord's finger, he is taken aback and is completely surprised. And the Lord takes note of this and he's kind of like, everything okay? And the brother of Jared's like, I just saw your finger and I'm totally surprised. And the Lord, I feel like it's pretty gentle here with the brother of Jared in chapter three, verse 15, the Lord says know ye not that ye are created after mine own image. Yay. Even all were created in the beginning after mine own image. And so I think this is really striking that the Lord is validating and confirming what the brother of Jared is seeing.

Elise: [00:23:48] I love the verse that you've read in chapter three, verse six, that talks about the veil being taken from the brother Jared's eyes. I just, I'm so struck by that line, because that makes me think was the Lord showing himself the whole time. But the brother of Jared just couldn't see it, even though it talks about a cloud, like was God there as like, was the Lord there as his full, authentic, embodied self, but the brother of Jared couldn't see it? Like, and then what was it about the brother of Jared's humility and the testimony that he bore the bore of the Lord, where he says, I know you're all powerful. I know that I'm nothing compared to you, but what is it about that humility and that lowliness that that's the thing that allows the veil to be taken from his eyes. I think my question is what allowed him to really see what he had been missing this whole time?

And then in chapter three, verse 19, it says that because of the knowledge of the brother of Jared, he could not be kept from beholding within the veil for he had faith no longer for he knew, nothing doubting. And when the brother of Jared chooses to take courage, to know what he knows, then he can see. And I think there's something powerful about knowing what we know and seeing what we, I don't know, like seeing what we see, but you're not able to see it until that veil is removed until you are able to trust yourself. Like, I don't know, this is totally my own interpretation. It's okay if no one vibes with it. But I wonder if there was something deep, deep down in the brother of Jared that had an inkling of an idea that maybe God is more like me than not like me. And I'm wondering if, when the brother of Jared chooses to trust himself and trust that voice deep inside of his heart and soul that says, Hey, God is like you and you're like God, when he chooses to trust what he knows, then he, then that veil is removed and he can see what he already, what was already there.

Channing: [00:26:02] That's so beautiful. And really, it brings the point that the Lord just says, well, yeah, of course I am here. I am. Doesn't it like, it makes sense. And he validates the brother of Jared's experience, but I almost feel like the validation is not the climax of the story. I think what you're saying here is that the climax of the story actually comes in the moment just before, when the brother of Jared is open, authentic, vulnerable, and trusting himself enough to say, I know what I know. I see what I see it's here before my eyes, and I will doubt it no longer. And that's a really beautiful way to interpret the story. Cause I think, I think often we do the opposite. We say like, the climax of the story is when the Lord reveals himself to the brother of Jared and that's exciting and it's cool, but it's also in some ways unattainable, like in that way we would tend to think, Oh, well I have to be special or I have to be different or I have to be a prophet or I have to be ordained or foreordained to be able to have this experience when really with the viewpoint or the lens that you're encouraging us to take is that this could happen to anyone so long as they're willing to be authentic and open and vulnerable enough to trust what God has already put into their hearts.

Elise: [00:27:40] Yeah. And aligned with that inner voice, that inner voice that tells you, no, you know, you know. You know what's going on, you know who God is, you know what you love, you know who you love. Don't turn away from that. Don't turn away and let yourself continue to be blind because that's what's socially acceptable. Like turn away from the status quo and turn inward, leave your self-doubt behind and trust what you know. And then it's exactly like you said, it's less about God revealing God's self and more about this alignment with our authentic selves that shows how similar we are with God. And in that way, we can not only see the finger of God, but we can see all of God because we can see ourselves.

Channing: [00:28:29] In my patriarchal blessing, there is a section that says that I will be blessed to hear the voice of the Lord. Like literally hear it. And at the time I received that I was 18 and I was like, Whoa, that is a big deal. And anyone who I've shared that with since has always been like, Whoa, that's a big deal, but in the last, probably three or four years, yeah, I don't want this to sound like irreverent or sacrilegious or blasphemous, but I've kind of been like, that's really not as big of a deal as I thought it was because I hear it all the time. Like I hear it in my own heart when I listen and it's not like a profound, amazing, like one time miraculous event. Like I'm no longer like, well, I can't die yet I haven't heard God talk to me. Like, I'm like, no, God's talking to me every day. God's talking to me all the time. All I have to do is close my eyes, take a deep breath and listen, and be willing to trust what that voice is telling me. And so, it's not to say that, like my patriarchal blessing is BS or like wasn't totally forthcoming, but I think what it really comes down to just like we're talking about here in the text is how we interpret it. If we're waiting for this big one-time miraculous revelation, we're going to miss all of the little beautiful ones that are scattered, like pebbles all across our way.

I love this conversation about authenticity and being vulnerable with God and God being vulnerable with us. I think it's a beautiful way to look at the story of God revealing God's body to the brother of Jared. I think another way that we can also look at this story is to read it a little more, literally, and talk about the body and talk about God's body. Before we move on to some of the questions and discussions that I want to have about these chapters, I do think it's important to point out that after the brother of Jared sees the finger of God and they have a back and forth discussion, God reveals God's full self. So the brother of Jared has the veil completely removed and he can see God in the flesh. And that's a really important point.

Just because we've moved from a God who has been in a cloud completely and fully obscured to a God who is revealing God's self just a little bit at a time by showing a finger before moving into a full revelation of the self. And I think that this applies to the body as well, because it's its own specific type of revelation. One of the questions that I wanted to ask about the body specifically is in light of this story, what are some of the ways that in modern times we are veiled from the divinity of our own bodies? For me, I think this answer is multifaceted. I think it's tied up in systems of domination where instead of encouraging care of the body like rest and nourishment and kindness, we're often taught to treat bodies as machines, you know, grind, culture, rise and slay, all, you know, 90 hour work weeks or 40 hour work weeks with a whole bunch of other things stuffed on top of it. And I also think that this relates to systems of oppression as well, where bodies are treated as idols and morality and value is placed on a set of ever-changing and unattainable physical attributes.

I also think that bad theology contributes as well, teaching that mortality and bodies are impermanent. And also that they hinder our spiritual development and enlightenment that they're almost like there's something to abandon. And I think with these three things tied together, systems of domination, systems of oppression and bad theology, I think women especially suffer caught between and beneath overlapping and complimenting systems and theologies of domination and oppression.

Elise: [00:33:17] I also think that one of the ways we're veiled from the divinity of our bodies, especially as women, is that we've been taught that it's safer to just dissociate from our bodies too, because they are things that hinder us or limit us, or they're things that people use to get close to us, or are things that people take advantage of or punish. And so it can often feel more safe to just say, no, my body is separate from me. It's not the thing that makes me Holy. It's not that thing that makes me whole, but I think in the story here, it is the, it is the thing that makes us Holy and whole. It's the thing that brings us divinity.

Our body is what allows us to have a full range of experiences, the bitter and the sweet. And so as women. It's a really radical move to practice reconnecting and healing the relationship between our body and our mind, because, and this is something that Channing has taught me, they're not separate things. They're all, they're always already a whole and the body is part of that. And so if we can push back against that temptation or the outside influence to be disconnected from our bodies to shame and hate our bodies, oh my goodness there's so much hate around women's bodies, both from other people, but also from ourselves. We think that sometimes our body has betrayed us and really that's not the case. Our body is what makes us Holy. Our body is what allows us to trust ourselves and to experience goodness.

Channing: [00:35:04] I love that. And that's what embodiment is really all about is embracing the holiness of ourself and to see that in its full glory, not just in like the parts we like, but to have a full revelation of what the entire body does for us. I also think of a quote that I've heard from CS Lewis, who is a theologian and writer, and I greatly respect him and appreciate his writings, but one of the quotes that I used to love, but my opinion has kind of changed on, is CS Lewis wrote once that you are not a body with a soul, you are a soul with a body. And at first light sounds great, right? Like, yeah, of course I am a soul, yeah, with a flesh prison. Like that's roughly what it sounds like, but really what this story of the brother of Jared is teaching us that they are a thing like they are forever shipped soul and body together and you can't separate one from the other and still live a beautiful, fully embodied life. They have to go together. So I love that you brought that up because I do think that this story showcases the importance of being embodied and appreciative and fully alive, where we are right now, no matter what our body looks like, no matter how well or not it's working, no matter what other people think of it or what we ourselves think of it. Our body is part of what brings us closer to godliness. And I love that. And that is profound theology that I think we can get excited about.

I wanted to take this one step further and ask, what does this teach us about God? And I think that it teaches us something very profound. Remember the brother of Jared originally saw God in a cloud. And I think in some ways we feel similarly, we think God is far away in a cloud. We think that God is different from us. God is elusive, mysterious. God's ways are higher than our ways, but this story shows us that we are able to discover bit by bit that not only is God like us, but that God is us. And we are God. And I think following this line of logic, if it means that God is us and we are God, it also means that others who are different from us, who are elusive or mysterious are God too. And suddenly through this light, interpersonal conflicts and communications are no longer commonplace. They are sacred and suddenly the sacred becomes commonplace and there is God right in the middle of all of it.

I went to the Pinners convention in salt Lake this weekend, and it was really fun. And before anyone judges me, everyone wears masks. And it was like sanctioned by the state that they were okay to have this. So like, please no one come at me on Instagram because we were all very safe. But anyway, at this very safe and social distance event, they had a ton of vendors and people with boosts selling their arts and crafts and. Just clothes and all of the cool things like classes. And it was just nice to be with people who were doing an everyday thing again, after not having done it for a little bit, a little while. And I sat down to work on the outline for this episode while I was there during a break and one of the things that I thought of when I was thinking about this commonplace being sacred and sacredness becoming commonplace was like, Oh, what if God was that one of these convention booths? And so I wrote this little thing that just makes me laugh and smile.

So I said, I wonder if God is eating a bowl of Lucky Charms and is waiting for us to stop by God's booth in a convention center and have a freebie and a business card. “What you selling?” we'll ask. And God will say “Love. Everything's free.” Some of us will probably think it's a scam and find our way to the next booth where they're selling essential oils and microderm. And some of us will see the twinkle in God's eye, take a chance on the Lucky Charms and see the world turn magical and delicious right before our eyes.

Channing: [00:40:20] And I love it so much. Like I just love this image of God. One of the things that has brought me closer to understanding the everyday, sacredness of God is Lucky Charms. One time I had a dream where God like met me and was eating a bowl of Lucky Charms. And all we did was sit around together and talk and eat Lucky Charms. And so I think it's like one of our secret languages now. So now it's not secret because you guys are all in on it, but Lucky Charms and God go together for Channing Parker. And I think it's beautiful and I think it pairs really nicely with what you talked about earlier, Elise, with the recognition of God in all things. But God also asking us to take responsibility for our own lives. Like we're all just sitting around eating a bowl of Lucky Charms, but if God is every day and if God is us, and if God is in all of us, then we realize that when LGBTQ people are asking for room and safety in the church and in kingdoms of heaven, when BIPOC people are asking for reparations and safety, that it's not just LGBTQ folks and BIPOC people asking for those things.

If we are God, and God is us, then God is asking for those things as well. And I think that that's a really radical reading of the story of the brother of Jared, but it's also one of the most liberating because this story shows us both in its literal interpretation and its extended interpretation that we're offering here that God is us and we are God and whatever is happening and needs to happen in this world, we have to work with each other to get there, collaborate partner, listen, and work together toward a future and a world that is going to be safe and healthy and fulfilling and nourishing for all of us. And it's us snd it's God that makes it happen. And I’m just all over the story, Elise, like we are all over the story. I love it.

Elise: [00:42:47] I don't have any like Lucky Charms stories, but for me, I think what we can learn about God from this story, because God is an embodied God, I think that means that everything that comes along with the body is divine, including sexuality and love and touch and taste and all of the senses. And I think that if we recognize that the body is divine, the body is godly, then that changes that everyday way we move through our world, because imagine how radically that would change our understanding of not only of ourselves, but of others, of the sacrament, of the church culture that moves us from every day pounds of flesh to divine beings that are able to experience love. There's a lot of capacity to express love and I think that’s because of our body. Thanks to our body.

Channing: Friends, thank you so much for joining us today for this dynamic conversation about partnership and collaboration with God, about authenticity and about the divinity of the body. We're incredibly excited to share this episode with you and we can't wait to hear your thoughts. Before we go, we just wanted to remind you one last time that we will be taking a break at the end of the year for the holidays.

We'll finish out the month of November, we'll read the rest of the book of Ether. And then the last episode that we'll be releasing for the year will be on November 30th. And that episode will cover the entirety of the book of Moroni so we'll finish that out with one big episode, then we'll leave you to celebrate the holidays. Enjoy, be with your friends, make some delicious cookies, hang your ornaments and Christmas lights and do all of the beautiful holiday things. And we'll see you back on January 4th. So just so you're aware, we don’t want you to to think we've left you, cause we'll be back. We just need some time to rest. We love you so much and we'll talk to you again next week.
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