“To read ourselves as fiction is much more liberating than to read ourselves as fact. Facts are partial. Fiction is a more complete truth. If we read ourselves as narrative, we can change the story we are. If we read ourselves as literal and fixed, we find we can change nothing. Someone will always tell the story of our lives, it had better be ourselves”

Jeanette Winterson

What is bodytheology?

Bodytheology is “theology in the flesh”

The purpose of bodytheology is to create alternative outcomes to dominant stories and to stimulate human flourishing by exploring the relationship between experience, language, space and the body. In my practice, I draw upon narrative therapy, interdisciplinary academic research and the body itself to explore the stories we use to make meaning. To learn more, feel free to contact me.

Interpretation of bodytheology in representation of Hildegard, PhD thesis of Jacob Meiring
“Liber divinorum operum lasposieum” by Diek Grobler

About me

Dr Jacob Meiring, Narrative Theologian

Body theology begins with the concrete” and not with doctrines or creeds or problems in tradition. It begins with the concrete and “the fleshly experience of life — with our hungers and our passions, our bodily aliveness and deadness…with the bodyself making love with the beloved and lovemaking with the earth”  (J B Nelson 1992)

Many ideas “about me” shifted when I read these words of James Nelson for the first time in 1992. It challenged the religious views on my own embodiment, to be non-judgmental and self-affirming. It helped me to challenge dominant narratives in theology and in an Apartheid society where the body of the Other was seen as inferior when it did not conform to what was considered “normal”. These words inspired me to eventually continue with my post-graduate studies in theology in spite of many doubts. This journey led me to discover “narrative therapy” and bodymapping. Read more …

My services

Therapy and Workshops

Bodymapping from the work of Dr Jacob Meiring, narrative theologian and therapist

In bodytheology, I work with individuals and couples in trying to re-author dominant stories in their lives. My approach focusses on how people create meaning through their bodies. Focus areas include relationships, gender and sexuality, trauma, burnout and fatigue, body image, religion and the body, workshops on bodymapping (art-therapy), and people with disabilities. Read more…

Consulting for NGO’s and Public Initiatives

Dr Jacob Meiring shaking hands with Desmond Tutu
Meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu at Vreeland (NL) on 8 April 2014

I consult regularly for NGO’s and public initiatives. I have acted as a consultant for the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, the Artscape Theatre Centre, SBA and Coram Deo by evaluating programs, advising on disability and the arts, empowerment through language and the training of other narrative therapists.  Read more…

Academic Research, Lecturing, Writing

Promotion of Jacob Meiring on the thesis 'Theology in the flesh: exploring the corporeal turn from a southern African perspective', VU University, Amsterdam, April 9th 2014.

I completed a Masters in practical theology (narrative therapy) and later a PhD (theological anthropology) at  the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. As a research associate at the Universities of Pretoria and Stellenbosch, I lecture, publish and present my interdisciplinary research which focuses on the embodied sensing of meaning, body theology, storytelling, Ubuntu and social justice. Read more…

Public Speaking

I had numerous public speaking engagements for the National Research Foundation (NRF) on postgraduate studies; presentations on my use of bodymapping in narrative therapy; speaking to care workers on burnout and compassion fatigue and presenting my research at national and international conferences on the body and theology, narrative therapy, the notion of the body, masculinities and social justice issues. Read more…