Lim on Divine Experience, True Conversion, and Embodied Community


How then do we work with the experiences of Divine love that threaten to undo us, leaving us unsure as to how to next proceed? Here, Paul’s conversion is instructive. Blinded by the light he sees on the road to Damascus, Paul is met by Ananias, who against his own revulsion at Paul (Acts 9:13) answers God’s call to receive this previous persecutor of Christians. Paul’s mystical experience of Jesus, which is momentarily maiming (he goes blind), is then built upon and reshaped by the miracle of human community, forgiveness, and touch. (No autonomy here.) Ananias receives and lays hands on Paul, restoring Paul’s sight. We find here that true conversion is the result of blinding Divine love that is contextualized within the structures of a forgiving and accepting embodied community, represented by Ananias. This means that whatever mystical experiences we have that make us feel powerful and elevated, or undone and diminished, need to be grounded, checked, and moderated by an encounter with embodied human relationships. There is no way to do this other than to know one’s own embodiment.

Leng Leroy Lim, “Exploring Embodiment,” in Boundary Wars: Intimacy and Distance in Healing Relationships

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