Fear Of Whales

Tales of a reluctant minister

Weight As a Social Justice Issue

with 2 comments

If you read my blog, You’re probably familiar with the trendy Social Justice issues in the world today. Sex Trafficking, Creation Care, Multiethnic Reconciliation… I’ve written on most of them in passing, You may see a whole post on each one day. Today however, I want to see if I can’t contribute a new issue to consider.

Obesity.

No I’m not kidding.

It’s associated with discrimination based upon an individuals appearance, it’s systemic, and it is responsible for the early deaths of millions (particularly the poor)

The way an individual relates to food is passed down according to the same patterns as domestic abuse or alcoholism, overeating is comparable to drugs in the way it is used to medicate or mask deeper emotional and spiritual problems, and it nurtures a vicious cycle of self loathing.

The Bible is far from silent on the issue. Condemning gluttony as a spiritual problem in both the old and new testament. Paul  spends a substantial portion of 1 Corinthians discussing food and various issues that arise around it.

The American Church, by contrast is impotent. Our response ranges from pithy and unbiblical, to harmful contribution to the problem. You do know the obesity rate is higher within the church don’t you? It’s no surprise, we want to be a welcoming and accepting place rejecting worldly standards of beauty, but as we’ve learned in a bazillion other areas, there is a difference between accepting a person, and encouraging their behavior.

So why not bring that up at the next potluck?

I earnestly believe that now is the time. Previously we may have had bigger fish to fry, but I think the world, and the church, is ready now for a revolution of biblical thinking about out relationship to food. I think we can see healthy cooking classes, weight loss accountability groups, and action teams that help get healthy eating habits into the minds of the next generation. Who’s with me?

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Written by RyanGaffney

April 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. I disagree with you on one point. I think you are mixing up obesity with gluttony. They are not the same.

    A Christian can use the Bible to condemn gluttony. A Christian should not use the Bible to condemn obesity. Obesity is a symptom of repeated gluttony along with other factors such as lack of exercise.

    The sin of gluttony can be committed by almost anyone. I do not consider myself obese, but I am overweight. I have often been gluttonous in the past. If I go three weeks without committing the sin of gluttony, I will still be overweight due to the fact that I am already overweight and the extra baggage doesn’t just disappear in such a short time.

    Likewise, an obese person may not necessarily be gluttonous at the time. It is even possible (though unlikely) that he or she has never been gluttonous, but just engaged in years of slight overeating.

    At any regard, the sin is not being obese. The sin is gluttony. Unless you actually see the obese, slighlty overweight, or rail-thin person scarfing down everything in sight, then you shouldn’t call them out on it.

    Denny Fusek

    April 16, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    • I believe obesity is consistent with having an unhealthy relationship to food that is different what what God wants for us. That could be gluttony or not, I don’t care. What i care about is that it hurts God’s children

      RyanGaffney

      June 28, 2012 at 8:20 am


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