Beacon Press: Loving Our Own Bones
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Loving Our Own Bones

Disability Wisdom and the Spiritual Subversiveness of Knowing Ourselves Whole

Author: Julia Watts Belser   Narrated by: Sara Sheckells

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A transformative spiritual companion and deep dive into disability politics that reimagines disability in the Bible and contemporary culture

An essential read that will foster and enrich conversations about disability, spirituality, and social justice

“What’s wrong with you?”

Scholar, activist, and rabbi Julia Watts Belser is all too familiar with this question. What’s wrong isn’t her wheelchair, though—it’s exclusion, objectification, pity, and disdain.

Our attitudes about disability have such deep cultural roots that we almost forget their sources. But open the Bible and disability is everywhere. Moses believes his stutter renders him unable to answer God’s call. Jacob’s encounter with an angel leaves him changed not just spiritually but physically: he gains a limp. For centuries, these stories have been told and retold in ways that treat disability as a metaphor for spiritual incapacity or as a challenge to be overcome.

Through fresh and unexpected readings of the Bible, Loving Our Own Bones instead paints a luminous portrait of what it means to be disabled and one of God’s beloved. Belser delves deep into sacred literature, braiding the insights of disabled, feminist, Black, and queer thinkers with her own experiences as a queer disabled Jewish feminist. She talks back to biblical commentators who traffic in disability stigma and shame. What unfolds is a profound gift of disability wisdom, a radical act of spiritual imagination that can guide us all toward a powerful reckoning with each other and with our bodies.

Loving Our Own Bones invites readers to claim the power and promise of spiritual dissent, and to nourish their own souls through the revolutionary art of radical self-love.
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“Belser’s book is a triumph of theological insight, disability activism, and honest, personal, hard-won wisdom . . . An excellent, impressive addition to the conversation around theology and disability that shines on many levels.”
Library Journal, Starred Review

“Eloquently argued . . . This is an impressive achievement.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“A fresh perspective on disability.”
Spirituality and Practice

“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

“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

“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

Loving Our Own Bones

ISBN: 978-080701370-0
Publication Date: 9/12/2023
Size: x
Price:  $24.00
Format: Audio
Availability: In stock.

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