I read a blog by another author who questioned why so many Christian’s were fat? Conservative Christians, upon being confronted by a pierced, tattooed individual, are only to quick to quote 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know? Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit….” And yet, there are Christians out there who are overweight, many to the point of being classified as obese. If we’re going to use the temple argument (which I maintain is often taken out of context), maybe when we point the finger we should recognize that there are three pointing back at us.
I feel fairly comfortable posting this, as I have been in the overweight category for much of my life. Only recently did I get my BMI back into a healthy range. So, if you’re overweight, know that this is not an attack on you personally, rather a thoughtful insight into an inconsistency within the North American Christian context.
So why is it, that a leader in the church who struggles with substance abuse or pornography is shunted from the front/leadership (in many churches), whereas a person who is visibly overweight can stand in front of the church without having to worry about getting flack for their weight?
Gluttony has become a socially acceptable sin in the church. We all have to eat, and as eating is often a social endeavor, it’s easily justified as building relationships and community. Questions of self control and food aren’t broached in the church. We’d rather turn a blind eye and continue our massive post-service potlucks, or chatting over coffee and cake.
Food is meant to be enjoyed, but like all of life, there’s a responsibility aspect. Granted, our consumerist, self-entitled society in which we live doesn’t help this any, but shouldn’t the church be different? I know, some people have medical conditions that effect weight and such–I’m not intending to speak to that. What I am speaking of is this: food is a coping mechanism. What is it that we’re all coping with? If we could get to underlying issues such as loneliness, boredom, stress, or family issues, maybe the weight would take care of itself. Instead of going to the church*, people go to food. Is this somewhere that the church has failed? Has the church allowed food to become a crutch for its people, rather than providing them with real support? Maybe, just maybe, if we really started to love each other as Christ commanded, then we wouldn’t be so lonely, isolated, stressed, or what have you. Maybe if we supported one another and were more willing to be real with each other, there would be no need for gluttony within the church and the weight would take care of itself.
* church here is meant to reflect the followers of Christ, not the building in which they meet or the leaders within that community, but the community as a whole.