Liz Williams Webb founded The Joyful Body Project in 2016 as an entrepreneurial ministry to combat bodily shame and support people and institutions on a journey towards embracing and celebrating embodied life. It was many years in the making.
From Liz's studies, her personal experiences, and keen observations and critique of culture, politics, and religion, she realized that shame about our physical bodies has a deep impact our culture's harmful misunderstandings of issues related to race, gender, sexuality, ability/disabilty, age, beauty, and our relationship with earth/environment/creation. Individually, our bodily shame affects our self-esteem, our ability to acknowledge and pursue what we desire, our ability to have compassion for ourselves and others, and our ability to feel and express joy. This inspired Liz to bring her gifts and passion to a new enterprise that could work with communities, organizations and leaders to dismantle structures and counteract messages that lead to bodily shame. The Joyful Body Project was born!
Commitments and Foundations
Liz founded this project with an intention of supporting faith communities and their growth. She knows the importance of recognizing that there are differences in the perspectives of faith communities and is committed to working with communities based on who they are and where they are on their journey.
The work of the Joyful Body Project is based on a particular set of theological commitments:
God loves diversity in creation and shows divine love by expressing God’s self in enumerable ways.
God is revealed in the diversity of creation and therefore we should embrace diversity and endeavor to love all the ways humans express diversity.
Our bodies, in all of their variety, are essential to our experience of being human and are as much part of the sacred creation as any other aspect of human self-hood.
Accepting that we are each divine expressions of God’s love leads to us being better able to love ourselves and to love others.
Humans were created to be in relationship, to be in community with one another, and to amplify and enrich our relationship with the Divine through relationship with each other.
For those in the Christian tradition, the metaphor of a community acting as or becoming the Body of Christ is a powerful metaphor for building a loving, diverse community in which God’s love can flourish and God’s will for justice and peace in the world may be accomplished.
God is counting on us to be God’s hands, feet, and voice in situations of injustice and we are called to stand in solidarity with the oppressed and take action against injustice as God’s people.
About Liz Williams Webb
Liz founded The Joyful Body Project in 2016 as an entrepreneurial ministry to combat bodily shame and support people and institutions on a journey towards embracing and celebrating embodied life.
Liz lives and works at the intersections of religion, politics, and human bodies. She loves to dig into all those scary topics we've been told are unfit for polite social interaction, and there she finds all the hearty, sexy, messy goodness of human life.
She seeks to integrate the wisdom from many different sources and disciplines in a way that magnifies the meaning and awe in life, and share that with others.
Due to an unexpected calling of God (or a bizarre twist of fate, if that's more your thing), Liz discovered that she is a theology geek and has studied theology at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO. Liz earned a Master of Divinity and Certificate of Sexuality and Religion in 2017. She has refined her own theological perspective and developed an understanding of the theological foundations for a variety of perspectives in the Christian tradition.
Liz previously: earned a B.A. from Iowa State University in political science and environmental studies, earned a J.D. from Drake University Law School where she focused on public policy formation, and was admitted to the Iowa State Bar.
As a champion of social and economic justice, Liz has worked passionately as an advocate and community organizer on public policy issues including poverty reduction, addiction treatment and prevention services, access to affordable health care, and LGBTQ rights.
Liz likes to hike and run in the woods and around lakes where she can commune with God and nature. Her favorite spiritual practice is dancing, and she supports others in a daily dance practice through a Facebook group she started. Liz is totally on the coloring for grown-ups bandwagon, and is crazy for dogs. She also yearns to return to singing in a choir, is always aching to travel, and aspires to become a laudable amateur photographer someday.
Liz recently moved back to her hometown of Des Moines, Iowa where she lives with her brilliant husband John and adorable dog Rootie. She is also lucky enough to have the best friends in the world.