Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The (Fattest) Elephant In The Sanctuary

Let's face it and be honest with ourselves, when most of us look in the mirror we do not usually see the full image back that we would like to see, especially if we have a full body mirror. This is culture wide in the US and much awareness has been raised in recent years due to childhood obesity. My Argentine wife was amazed at the largeness of everything when moving to the US, people included. None of us were complaining all of those years we paid an extra .50 to value size our meal, but years later we are wondering what happened.

I hate to admit this but overweight issues are just as much a problem in the church as anywhere else. I would even argue that I come from the fattest protestant denomination, Southern Baptist. We justify our weekly gorging of ourselves by labeling it "fellowship."

This is one area of stewardship as Christ followers that we have easily ignored. Sure, the church likes to focus on what type of beverages you are consuming and whether or not you are puffing on a cigarette, but somehow what you eat and how much you eat has become a matter of privacy. 

Finally someone is saying something! My friend Joshua, fattest friend I have (340 lb.), is calling out the elephant in the sanctuary. Hear from Joshua himself:

THE ELEPHANT IN THE SANCTUARY
Over the years I’ve had hundreds of accountability conversations with dozens of men, asking and answering questions about spiritual disciplines, sexual purity, evangelism, etc. Yet one topic has remained noticeably absent. “Can we talk about your weight?” “Do you struggle with gluttony?” These are questions I can’t recall ever being challenged with. Generally, no one inquires and I rarely share, except during occasional attempts at getting-in-shape. Each which has failed, always leaving me larger than before and silence resumes.
Statistically, church attendees are fatter than the general population, and pastors even fatter still. The church will talk about stewardship (if it’s financial), about disease (if it’s cultural), even occasionally about alcohol and sex. We’ll pray for Tim’s diabetes and Anne’s back pain, while politely ignoring that Tim & Anne each weigh more than Refrigerator Perry. Every week in churches across America, we have fat pastors preaching to fat congregants and no one is willing to talk about the elephant in the sanctuary.
Joshua and I became friends through a church plant we were part of six years ago and have remained good friends since that time; but I have to admit that I am one guy that always ignored his weight when it came to issues of accountability. Thankfully God convicted Joshua in this area of life, which has caused him to begin embracing gospel (centered) wellness. He is now below 300 lbs. and has launched a new website called Gospel Wellness where he challenges and equips the church to grow in body stewardship, while sharing his own gospel wellness journey.
Tomorrow on the blog I will do a bit of Q&A with Joshua on his background, how he got to be so fat, and his journey to losing weight and the motivation behind it. Until then, check out gospelwellness.com  and make sure you do not skip his first post: A Plea From The Fattest Guy In Church

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