This Chicago Tribune article talks about how churches are now combining the two things that, apparently the world needs more of: weight loss schemes and religious indoctrination.
Somehow some pious folk agreed that the reason fat people are fat is that no one has taken the time to point out to them how ashamed they should be for letting themselves go. Now, you could just walk up to a fat person in your congregation and say, “You sicken me, you fat piece of crap.” Surely that would shame her into thinking twice about second helpings at the post-sermon pancake breakfast. But let’s face it, that’s just mean. There has to be a better way…
Oh, hey, what if you tell your congregation that gluttony is a sin, and if they are fat it’s because they’re bad Christians. Because if you had faith, you would ask God to help you not be so weak. This way, you’re not saying they disgust you, per se, you’re merely a holy messenger.
Steve Reynolds, the founder of (not making this up) Bod4God, is that holy messenger:
“Jesus Christ was not obese,” Reynolds told the audience, pointing to passages in the Bible that describe Jesus walking 40 miles in one day. “I believe the heart of God is so sad today when it comes to our physical shape.”
Come on, that’s not fair! How can you be obese when your body is made of bread and wine? Though I find it suspicious that there’s no mention of Jesus’ love of all-you-can-eat fish buffets.
One woman, who totally got God’s message, talked to the reporter about her problem with over-eating:
“That’s not OK,” said Grier, who had stuffed extra granola bars in her coat pocket at lunch but decided to give them back. “You’re representing God in a bad way. … I just think you should be an example in every way.”
Yeah… God hates granola bars. To hell you go!
This woman doesn’t drink, smoke, or have sex because they’re all sins. She’s working very hard to stay in line with what is “good” and “righteous”. But somehow she felt empty, so she turned to food. Now I’m not a Christian, a preacher, a pastor, a nutritionist, a social worker or Jesus but I have a feeling that this woman needs some love and support and a program focusing on her eating disorder.
I don’t think she needs to be told that “pies make baby Jesus cry.”
Of course the article gives examples of happy, newly-skinny folks that have prayed and cardio-kickboxed their way to God’s love by losing 40, 70, or 100+ pounds. Nowhere in the article, or on the Bod4God website, does it say whether the results are or are not typical. (If I were playing Bod4God roulette, I would put all my money on “not typical”.)
Take Karen Cunningham, for example, a Christian who has always been overweight but never realized that she was going to hell for it:
“I didn’t think what I was doing was sinful,” Cunningham said. “Going to McDonald’s was getting a hot meal.”
Cunningham says she and her daughter cut down on fast-food trips, started drinking water instead of sweet tea, read the Bible and exercised. She’s lost 70 pounds; her daughter Laura Belle has lost 40 pounds.
So let’s go over that again:
- Gave up Whoppers
- Gave up sugary beverages
- Started drinking more water
- Read the Bible
- Started exercising
- Did it all with a diet buddy for support
I’m going to tell you, I think Karen got it pretty close to right. This is a good plan. But I’m guessing it was all possible without #4.
Its almost like someone couldn’t decide which evil was more powerful, the weight loss industry or religion as an industry, so he combined them to make one Ã¼ber-powerful evil industry.
I fear more people are going to be hurt by this than helped. Telling obese people that their weight problems are an affront to God can only backfire. If curing obesity were as easy as saying, “Hey you’re fat, but I’ve got some inspirational Bible quotes that will make you skinny”, the diet industry wouldn’t be making $64 billion a year.
I have a feeling these people are going to end up feeling emptier and sadder in the end. I hope I’m wrong. I really want these people to lose this weight and keep it off. Failing at a diet is heartbreaking, but what happens when failing your diet means failing your diety? No one wants to be the 300 pound person shamefully returning pockets full of granola bars a second time around while God and the congregation look on.