Ah, Jared's Java. Pleasant taste. Slight Monsterism.

Welcome to the home of my mind, where I brew my intellectual and spiritual joe. Sit back and let me pour you a cup or two. I promise not to cut you off, even after you get the caffeine jitters.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Temple Issues

On a recent camping trip with my dad, he was complaining about how much he weighed (I know it's mainly a chick thing, and I couldn't believe my ears either). He said "I just can't believe that the temple of the Holy Spirit is supposed to look like this."

I had some serious problems with that statement. It seemed to contradict most everything I read in Scripture. Not only that, it felt judgmental, like he was kind of implying underhandedly that I'm a larda** too. Would I like to be thinner? Hells ya! Is it the most important thing in my life though? Read on...

We read in the Old Testament in 1 Samuel 16:7 that the Lord doesn't look at outward appearance, but the heart. I'm certain what we think and feel, which results in how we act, is so much more important to Him than whether or not I shaved this morning, or if I ate a bowl of Cookie Crisp vs. Special K (the kid in me wanted the box of cereal that had Cookie Crisp, Lucky Charms and Trix at Costco, but, alas, I went with Special K). So, I have the best diet in the world, I go to the gym three times a week, but I couldn't give a damn less about orphans. My temple of the Holy Spirit sure looks acceptable, though!

Matthew 15:17-18 has Jesus telling us that what we eat isn't the important thing, but what we say is. This seems to totally contradict what my dad had said, also. God looks at the heart, and not the condition of the physical one, that is.

I'm bothered by this new moralism concerning weight that has penetrated the Evangelical church. There are systems of losing weight built around faith in Christ, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Gluttony is a sin issue in the church that should be addressed, but it isn't the same as being over-weight, which our culture gladly assumes. But, it's like you are considered less of a Christian if you have thunder-thighs, muffin top, a spare tire or are just plus-sized in general. It is like you have less dignity as a human being because there is a little more substance to your physical person.

At the root of this, I see the Evangelical church falling into a trap that it claims to be working so hard to be avoiding. This is a case of the negative aspects of the culture coming in and effecting how people calling themselves followers of Jesus are treating one another. Bringing this down to the deck-plate level, it's just plain wrong and anti-Jesus to do.

If you have issues with gluttony to address, I'd encourage you to do that, but, I find in most cases today, that isn't what the root cause of our size problem is in Western society. There are cultural and economic forces that have changed our daily lives, jobs and food supply. It used to be that poorer people could only afford the most basic ingredients that were healthy. Now, that has turned and the most processed stuff has become the cheapest. We are an "at hand" society that puts so many demands on our time that we have less and less time to invest in the home and food. Stress and chaos are at all time highs because of all of these forces, and that doesn't help the body stay slender, either.

We really need to rethink a lot of things in our society, including the food supply change. But, unless one of my readers happens to have about 10 billion dollars to just pony up to do this, I don't see a change happening. We need to rediscover local and seasonal foods at their finest. That will reduce processing and risk of disease outbreak. But, again, General Mills is making too much off of you and me to want to assist this, and since they have the big bucks, they will always be cheaper, which is the king in a country where the dollar is stretching shorter and wages continue to decline.

So, the next time you pass by someone who is "over-weight" or "obese" or just plain "fat" to you, before casting a disparaging look their way, ask yourself what Jesus would really have you do. Would He have you look at their heart and love them and show them mercy (not that their size would be due to sin, because that would be a sinful assumption), or would He have you pass judgment on them because they are not your definition of "acceptably" thin?

Rather, allow me to close with this note addressing the majority of America and likely my readership ("overweight" people now make up over 50% of the population): the next time you look in the mirror and tell yourself you're too fat, that you need to lose weight, that you need to go on a new diet, that you aren't beautiful as you are, that you are less valuable than you'd be if you weren't so heavy, ask yourself this question: Does God look at me this way? No. No, He doesn't. He looks at you with love and compassion. He looks at you as His incredibly beloved child. If your size is not the result of sin, quit shaming yourself. God wouldn't, and He sure wouldn't have you think so lowly of one of His most beloved creations.

Blessings and peace


Dapoppins said...

the king gets a gold star today for that thoughtful post!

Gold star for you, because I am sooo very generous.

R said...

Jared---I totally agree with you, but have my opinions about weight and whatnot.

I think it is important to have discipline with your body and discipline with your mind, etc. I have issues with being more disciplined with my body than I am with my Bible reading if we were going to compare the two. My main drive is this society---not to be like the movie stars, but to look the best I can for my husband's eyes. My husband does not ask this of me, but I do it because I know how hard it is to be a man in our world and all of the temptations there are. I want to make it that much easier for him to be attracted to me (both inside and out). And I know that if I find my appearance acceptable and good, he will too because nothing attracts a man more than a confident woman.

I am just saying that no, God does not require me to look this way or that, but my personal conviction is that I should do my best to look my best for my spouse, who is my first ministry of sorts in this world.

I just wish that I could encourage others that are not happy with themselves that they can change it if they want to and with discipline. It is very hard. Healthy food is not cheap, stress is insurmountable, lives are busier than ever, etc, time is very scarce.

You never hear anyone preach about gluttony---I am very prone to it. I love food and would keep eating it as the day is long---I have to stop myself. Just about anything can be abused, including my obsessive exercise program, or obsessive thoughts of what I should eat or shouldn't eat!

And I bet you won't post this!:)

KingJaymz said...

The joke's on you then, R, because it's already here! Ha!

I wouldn't disagree at all with what you said. You are totally right, but that is a completely different (though slightly related) issue for another post.

It's a bit premature to take this discussion in that direction. Moving forward I'd ask my fair commenters to consider my post and subject matter on it's own merits. Let's keep the discussion focused on the topic of the post.

MugwumpMom said...

My pastor once quipped that someone asked him "will I still go to heaven if I smoke" and my pastor said "yes, though you'll probably get there alot faster" - I suppose the same thing can be said about obesity. Personally, I'm working on loosing weight because I became lazy, ate too much fast and restaurant food and my blood pressure soared. Now I'm working at being disciplined so I can get healthy (I'd rather control the BP with diet instead of meds). But you are correct - it's the inner heart of man that God looks at and wants to change.

Evangelical weight loss programs? Who knew!

Enjoy our day.

Delia said...

Dapoppins should give you TWO gold stars for this one!

The Family Jewels said...

As an overweight reader of your blog I must say thank you. I have been the butt of many jokes, the object of nasty stares and the "poor lady who can't quit eating". I wish more people felt like you. Now that I have chosen a biblically based food lifestyle and am losing weight like crazy everybody is SOOO happy for me.

It is sad that people living paycheck to paycheck can only eat the processed foods. We did it for a long time and the best part was that it was so convenient. We were raised in homes with mostly all home-cooked meals, but even then it was a lot of processed foods. It is more expensive to eat this way, but our philosophy is pay the farmer now or pay the pharmacist later. By getting off all of the cheap foods I have gotten off all meds. For us it balances out.

I know that God loves me just the was that I am because I am doing as instructed and doing His work. All of our foster kids know that we eat healthy and many have said that they like the way our food tastes. A friend of mine went blind recently and lost her job that was supporting herself and her mentally handicapped son. She now has to be on Social Security Income and gets food stamps. She is given $67 a month to feed herself and her son. She had to move in with some family to help with paying bills because her SSI check covers less than the necessities. She has never taken hand-outs and really hates doing it now, but since she can't work to support herself she can't get insurance. She has no way to get the healthy foods. (I know that was a totally separate issue, but she is gaining weight and getting sicker because she cannot afford the good for your body stuff.)

I am very fortunate to know that God loves me in spite of myself. Would He like if I lost more weight? Sure, but I believe that it is because He has so much more for me to do while here in this body. I don't think He would love me any more if I lost more weight, but I am feeling SO much better eating the things that my body was designed for.

It matters most the intentions of the heart...not the size of the clothes covering it.

On the looking good for the Hubby thing, God created the two of us to become one and we have, sure there are plenty women smaller than me, but Hubby like God sees my heart and also loves me in spite of myself.

R said...

Jared, I think my post was related more than you think!

The scary thing about focusing on weight and how we look on the outside is that we neglect the inward person, and that is sort of what I was trying to say at first. I hate that I can be disciplined outwardly and then undisciplined spiritually. God wants the latter of me more, although the first is honorable as well.

I completely agree with accepting who you are as you are (outwardly) and even I, who am unsatisfied with certain things about my appearance have to step back and say, "God created me this way, He made me just as He wants me to look." Who am I to question Him in this?

KingJaymz said...

r - I certainly see it as very related, but it still isn't the same issue. It is an issue that deserves it's own opportunity for discussion. That's all I meant by it.

tfj - I'm thankful my post could encourage you. That is exactly what I wanted.

I hear you one "Pay now or pay the pharmacist later." Sadly, it is what it is. Like your blind friend, so many people don't have the money for healthy food (or time to prepare it even). Jen and I both have to work long days. By the time everything is said and done, we have little energy for anything. I think if we get into a better situation where we're experiencing a lot less stress, it will provide us with a little more time and opportunity, as I LOVE to cook. And I look forward to that. But, situations can be tough sometimes.

I appreciated the differing perspective from r and I on spousal responsibility. I rarely consider that. It gives me something to think about.

I will be doing a post on the SLM blog on the issue of weight/image and spousal responsibility on the SLM blog in the not too distant future. I'll direct you all over there when I get it up.

Anne said...

James 2:1-13

My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool," 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? 7 Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?

8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

R said...

Yes, yes, yes.

And should that be your next post? :)

I rather like getting off topic, don't I? I think I am famous for it. Haha.

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

Another way of looking at this issue could possibly be that a lot of people are under the assumption that all overweight people are unhealthy...and unhealthy people are not able to serve their God because of their illness.

KingJaymz said...

r - You're totally "in"famous for it, but it's cool.

anne - I think you're getting at "don't judge people based on their appearance or status," am I right?

sil - I could certainly see that, but I don't think most who claim the name of Christ that carry that prejudice think that. I think they have become prejudice based on the standards of the society, which is totally unbiblical. I hate that. As I'm sure you're getting at in your comment, claiming an overweight person to be unhealthy just because they aren't a specific weight is untrue and prejudice. There are a lot of fat people who diet and exercise vigorously, regularly, and they still can't take the weight off. It's time to take the shame out of the word "fat", and give it some joy and dignity. Rejoice for whatever skin you're in. It is beautiful.

The Family Jewels said...

I am a fat person who was unable to lose the weight until I switched from all of the processed crap foods and I was recently dieagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome which makes it medically not able for me to lose any weight on processed foods. I also have to watch the natural levels of sugar in foods because my body turns everything into sugar. If you are curious about this chronic syndrome I have posted about what it is and what it does to your body. It is not always diagnosed properly and can cause many other things that some doctors think are the reason for their obesity. Those are just symptoms that are caused by this syndrome.

R said...


Anne said...

Right on!