Being Fat in the Church, Part III

8 Jan

Being Fat in the Church, Part III

Ah ha, I thought so.  I found the smoking gun!

Here is the Associated Press report about how cancer rates have gone down considerably over the past few years but now they are going to hit a roadblock.  We have reduced so many risk factors for cancer that the new “big three” of cancer-related risk factors are going to be obesity, poor diet, and lack of exercise.  Smoking has dropped off the radar screen because so many people have stopped smoking or never started smoking within the past few years that smoking is no longer going to cause the majority of cancer cases.

Can you hear the train coming?  Knowing what we know, as humans, about peer pressure, it is about to be turned up bigtime.  I am not sure we will ever make draconian changes in health insurance to try to force people to lose weight, eat better, and exercise, but we sure are going to posture a lot about it.  It has already started, as noted in the editorial about obesity in the church I published earlier from Fox News.

My take is that peer pressure has its place but I don’t want my whole world to turn back into middle school!

I especially don’t want to see people within the church doing that to each other.

Raising their eyebrows when someone takes a second donut.


Making pig noises behind the back of someone who weighs 400 pounds.

Mocking the big, lonely person who stands at the potluck buffet, nervously shoveling in vast amounts of fat-laden food.

Those pictures of human cruelty are not pretty, are they?  But neither is peer pressure at its worst.  Neither was middle school, for that matter (eighth grade was the worst year of my life.  And I was rail thin back then).

Churches are hospitals for sinners, not country clubs where we cop the attitudes of snobs.  I have been 100 pounds overweight (a year ago, on January 1, 2012) and I have just lost the weight.  There is no guarantee I will keep it off for the rest of my life, but, either way, I have known the grace of God my entire life, especially in this weight loss journey of the past year.

I want to shout it from the mountaintop.  God helped me!  He can help others, too, with weight loss, with drug addiction, with alcoholism, with confused sexuality . . .  With anything we’ve got as the problem, He is the answer.

And, you know what?  I have seen enough writing about the 20% of our females and the 10% of our males who have been sexually battered and can have horrendous body image issues afterwards that I can connect these dots.  I can realize that, not only do I feel compassion for people struggling with obesity, and not only do I feel compassion for people who have been sexually battered, but I feel tons of compassion for the people at the intersection of those two things.  It must  feel horrible to have been sexually battered as a child and to have felt so helpless that you decided to carry excess weight for the rest of your life just so evil men wouldn’t find you attractive . . . Ya know?

Fact is, we never know the issues most people struggle with deep down.  If we knew, we would show compassion.  So why don’t we just do it automatically, as followers of Christ?

If we did, I am pretty sure the world would take our message a whole lot more seriously, because we would be a whole lot more like our Master!  Oh, may it be so!


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