Julia Watts Belser is the 2024 UUA General Assembly Ware Lecturer.

A spiritual companion and political manifesto that cuts through objectification and inspiration alike to offer a powerful new account of disability in biblical narrative and contemporary culture

For disabled people in religious communities, their families, and clergy and congregants

Product Code: 9308
ISBN: 9780807006757
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Beacon Press
Pages: 288
Published Date: 09/12/2023
Availability:In stock
Price: $29.95

Julia Watts Belser is the 2024 UUA General Assembly Ware Lecturer.

Open the Bible and disability is everywhere. Moses stutters and thinks himself unable to answer God’s call. Isaac’s blindness lets his wife trick him into bestowing his blessing on his younger son. Jesus heals the sick, the blind, the paralyzed, and the possessed. For centuries, these stories have been told and retold by commentators who treat disability as misfortune, as a metaphor for spiritual incapacity, or as a challenge to be overcome.

Loving Our Own Bones turns that perspective on its head. Drawing insights from the hard-won wisdom of disabled folks who’ve forged difference into fierce and luminous cultural dissent, Julia Watts Belser offers fresh and unexpected readings of familiar biblical stories, showing how disability wisdom can guide us all toward a powerful reckoning with the complexities of the flesh. She talks back to biblical commentators who traffic in disability stigma and shame, challenging interpretations that demean disabled people and diminish the vitality of disabled lives. And she shows how Sabbath rest can be a powerful counter to the relentless demand for productivity, an act of spiritual resistance in a culture that makes work the signal measure of our worth.

With both a lyrical love of tradition and incisive political analysis, Belser braids spiritual perspectives together with keen activist insights—inviting readers to claim the power and promise of spiritual dissent, to nourish their own souls through the revolutionary art of radical self-love.

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“This is an extraordinary book: beautifully written and accessible yet filled with scholarly insights; profoundly spiritual yet also boldly critical; fiercely angry yet also affirming and joyous. Readers of Loving Our Own Bones will not only come away with a deepened understanding of disability and ableism but will also likely have their views of many biblical texts challenged and transformed.” —Judith Plaskow, author, with Carol P. Christ, of Goddess and God in the World

“Written with a scholar’s deft touch and a poet’s lyrical precision, this book will draw you in to think and feel differently about sacred texts and disabled people’s complex and luminous lives, in the troublesome context of ableism’s strictures and structures. By the end, I was transported to new vistas, unimagined openings in my heart and understanding. Julia Watts Belser’s ability to move differently carries the reader to new realms: Loving Our Own Bones is a book that flies on wheels, a dazzling and revelatory ride.” —Rebecca Ann Parker, co-author of Saving Paradise

“This book reaches back to the oldest stories of the Hebrew Bible and retells them through perspectives on flourishing in bodies considered disabled—the kinds of bodies we all inevitably inhabit. Loving Our Own Bones is a gift to us all and a call to love ourselves and one another in all our varied, distinctive, and entirely human bodies.” —Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, author of Extraordinary Bodies

“Julia Watts Belser is a Wisdom Rebbe, a leader, an innovator, and a sacred guide to the deepest depths of all that makes us human.” —Neshama Carlebach, award-winning singer/songwriter

“An unapologetically embodied text, Loving Our Own Bones is essential reading for anyone interested in queer crip world-making. Seamlessly weaving together memoir, disability theory, biblical criticism, and activist practice, Julia Watts Belser offers readers vital new frameworks for understanding the textures of disabled life and the possibilities of story. Placing radically inclusive access at the center of her spiritual work, Belser reveals how loving our own bones is a collective act.” —Alison Kafer, author of Feminist, Queer, Crip

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