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Consuming the Body - The Church and Eating Disorders

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                         ã   ã   ã        i Elizabeth Anne Kent Consuming the Body: The Church and Eating Disorders Abstract The aim of this thesis is to suggest that through practical means based on a cohesive theological engagement with the issues, the Christian church has a unique contribution to offer those affected  by disordered eating. Taking a canonical narrative approach to Scripture and using the methodology of the pastoral cycle the thesis examines how the Church might understand the relationship between eating, identity, food and the body. After an exploration of the nature of eating disorders from the perspectives of physiology, psychology, history and sociology, this thesis examines how the Church’s practices of baptism and eucharist, confessing and being accountable, and the doctrine of Christian Perfection relate to disordered eating. The argument advanced is that there are particular contributions the Church can make by living in the light of God’s revelation in Christ, demonstrated through a rediscovery of particular practices. These seek to address the societal context in which disordered eating flourishes, the underlying issues generating and sustaining disordered eating, and its impact upon individual and communal life. In re-interpreting ancient practices of the Church it is hoped that the body of Christ in the present age may be equipped to engage with disordered eating and be a conduit of God’s healing and hope for those who long to know freedom and release.     ii Consuming the Body: The Church and Eating Disorders Elizabeth Anne Kent Department of Theology and Religion Durham University Doctor of Philosophy 2013 Thesis Word Count: 91380 This research is the product of my own work, and the work of others has been properly acknowledged throughout. The copyright of this thesis rests with the author. No quotation from it should be published without the prior written consent and information derived from it should be acknowledged.   iii Table of Contents Abstract …………………………………………………………………………………………… ..i Title Page ………………………………………………………………………………… ...ii Table of Contents ………………………………………………………………………… .iii Acknowledgements ……………………………………………………………………… ...v 1.Introduction .................................................................................................................................. 1 1.0 Introduction ................................................................................................................................. 1 1.1 Background context .................................................................................................................... 3 1.2 The need for this research ………………………….……………………………………………5   1.3 Thesis aim, location and approach………………………….………………………………….11  1.4 Framing the questions ………………………………………………..……………………….. 12   1.5 Mapping the way forward …. ………………………………………………………………… 17 1.6 Metho dology … ……………………………………………………………………………….. 20 1.7 Conclusion … …………………………………………………………………………………. 23 2. What are Eating Disorders? . ………………………………………………………………….24   2.0 Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………… 24 2.1 Defining anorexia nervosa ……………………………………………………………………  27 2.2 Defining bulimia nervosa ……………………………………………………………………... 61 2.3 Defining atypical eating diso rders …………………………………………… . ……………… 65  2.4 Current op inion ………………………………………………………………………………. 67  2.5 Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………………………. 68 3. Towards a theological response to Eating Disorders ……………………………………….. 72 3.1 Inadequacy of pastoral support ………………………………………………………………..  75 3.2 The inadequacy of CBT and other clinical and self- help approaches as a sufficient church response …………………………………………………………………………………………..  .78 3.3 Inadequacy of other practical theology approaches …………………………………………...  83 3.4 Practices of the church ………………………………………………………………………… 86 3.5 How are the practices within this thesis selected? …………………………………………….. 93 3.6 Baptism & Eucharist …………………………………………………………………………... 96 3.7 Summary …………………………………………………………………………………….  100 4. Baptism & Eucharist ………………………………………………………………………… 101 4.0 Intro duction ………………………………………………………………………………….  101 4.1 Methodology …………………………………………………………………………………. 104 4.2 Baptism ………………………………………………………………………………………. 106 4.3 Eucharist ….………………………………………………………………………………….. 130 4.4 Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………………………  151 5. Confessing & Account ability……………………………………………………………….  ..152 5.0 Intro duction…………………………………………………………………………………... 152 5.1 What has been the Church’s historical understanding and practice of confessing and being accountable?................................................................................................................................... 157

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