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Pastoral Care Practicum Paper # 4: Book Review on "Fearfully & Wonderfully Made … "



Introduction

 

This book report will explore the first six chapters of the book Fearfully & Wonderfully Made by British Physician Dr. Paul Wilson Brand C.B.E. (1914-2003) and American Christian Author Philip Yancey (1949-). The whole book is basically an analogy of the human body being divinely created, working for the betterment of both the individual and humanity. I will focus on human cells and the authors analogy of them being part of a larger body. In other words, the individual being part of the Body of Christ.

 

Cells - Members

 

" For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - Jew or Greek, slaves or free - and we were all made to drink one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but many." 1 Cor.12:12-14.

 

Brand and Yancey look at the cell members and use Saint Paul's words for their analogy. For them, the body is one unit. Though it is made up of many cells, there is only one unified body. The white cells do not act independently of the brain cells, nor does the optic nerve act against the muscle cell. They must work together in order to achieve proper function. As they put it, "if the whole body were an auditory nerve, where would be the sense of sight?"

 

It is their belief that God has arranged every cell in the body. If all the cells were the same, where would the body be? The reality is, there are many cells and one body. Just as there are many people and one Body of Christ.

 

Specialization

 

  Within my body there are many organs. The brain, heart, stomach, liver, and kidneys are full of millions of loyal cells working so efficiently, that I have no way of noticing their presence. When my cells work well, I am scarcely conscious of their collective presence. What I feel is a combination of their activity known as 'me as an individual'. I am composed of many parts and yet, I am one body.

 

Diversity

 

  The Body of Christ, like our own bodies, is composed of individual, unlike cells that are knit together to form one body. As Brand and Yancey put it, "He is the whole thing, and the joy of the Body increases as individual cells realize they can be diverse without becoming isolated outposts". When we realize that God has granted us our own individual spirit within a whole and much larger Spirit, I believe that we are free to explore our universe in light of others around us. In essence, we are never really isolated or alone.

 

We then can begin to understand the Hindu concept of "I worship the God I see in you." To put it another way, when a Christian values and loves his or her neighbour, they recognize the image of God in that neighbour.

 

Worth

 

  It is important that everyone in the Body, the Church, acknowledge that all others within the Body are vital contributing members. According to the Authors, if everyone can relish the fact that we matter little, except in relation to the whole Body, and that if we each recognize the value of every other member, then perhaps the Cells of Christ's Body will begin acting as God intended. It is a call to all members to value each others diversity and accept the challenge to work together for the cause of the Body.

 

Unity


We should not see the process of joining the Body of Christ as a rejection of our individuality. It28 is more important to see it as repudiating our old value system - where we had to compete with others on the basis of power, wealth and talent- and committing ourselves to Christ, the Head, who frees us of our past. By being faithful to Christ our sense of competition disappears and we no longer have to prove ourselves.

 

In our New Identity, our standard now is to live as Christians, so all may come to see that Jesus Christ lives in us and that His love has enveloped us. We become focused on God and not on us. It is because of our New Identity, as faithful Christians, that transforms us into truly Christ-centered people. Brand and Yancey have found this process of rejection and recommitment to be, "healthy, relaxing and wholly good."


Conclusion Recognizing the Creative Imprint of God by Serving Others

Unified, the cells serve the body. When we value each other and are unified in our commitment to Christ, we begin to experience the loving presence of God. Organizations, like the Emmaus Movement, have been created to serve the cells of the body which are in greatest need. Their purpose is to be in service for the uplifting of others.


Brand and Yancey found that Spiritual motives benefited those who cared for others. By serving others, we are also served. For example, the early Church responded to the needs of their members. The Apostle Paul took months out of his schedule to collect money from Greek Christians to aid improvised Jewish Christians in Jerusalem.

 

In our age, we must look at ourselves and see if we are offering Christian service to not only our Body, but to all people. As a Priest, I am concerned about the spiritual needs of everyone who may come into the Hospital. They are part of the body we call the human race.

 

This book, Fearfully and Wonderfully made, offers a unique picture of the Perfection of God through His Creation. we lern from it that as much as the disease of Cancer can destroy parts, if not the entire body, we also can destroy, through our own selfishness, the Body of Christ (the Christian Community). I believe, the key for us is to recognize the creative imprint of God. If we are able do this, then we will be able to answer the call to serve the entire Body of Christ by way of our own acts of selflessness.

 

 End.


A Book Review of Fearfully & Wonderfully Made: The Cells Of The Body...Humanity Within The Body Of Christ by Paul W. Brand & Philip Yancey was submitted to the Rev. Dr. Avery Kempton & the Rev. Sandra Morrison as a Unit 2 Clinical Pastoral Education Practicum Paper.

Published on June 21st, 1999

{Revised December 15th, 2023}


© Dr. Charles Warner 2023

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