Quote of the day

Apropos the discussion of weight and gospel music, an insightful comment from reader SV:

I think Christians have difficulty with the flesh, oftentimes. You grow up hearing that you are innately evil and that you ought not worry about today as you bank up good deeds for your heavenly crown. The message sometimes becomes ANTI-BODY; the body is evil of its own accord and its functions are the result of the fall of mankind or whatever.


I generally don’t subscribe to a specific set of christian beliefs but I don’t think it would be out of line with christianity to be mindful of the notion that I should eat in a way that is beneficial to my body.

My fear is that the Temple of the Holy Ghost is a little too tolerant of the Big Mac.

I choose not to be.

Exactly. This is the kind of smart stuff that I wish I could think of.

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  1. Tom wrote:

    SV is certainly on the right track. There is a strong tendency, especially among evangelicals and especially in North America, to assume that the body can be used and abused because either (1) material bodies are rather unimportant vis a vis some sort of “eternal spiritual soul” or (2) we’re not going to need them once we “get to heaven.”

    It’s quite interesting that this topic comes up today, because TIME Magazine just posted an interview a couple of days ago with the renowned theologian N. T. Wright that addressed this very issue (among other things). A crucial quote:

    TIME: And it ties in to what you’ve written about this all having a moral dimension.

    Wright: Both that, and the idea of bodily resurrection that people deny when they talk about their “souls going to Heaven.” If people think “my physical body doesn’t matter very much,” then who cares what I do with it? And if people think that our world, our cosmos, doesn’t matter much, who cares what we do with that? Much of “traditional” Christianity gives the impression that God has these rather arbitrary rules about how you have to behave, and if you disobey them you go to hell, rather than to heaven. What the New Testament really says is God wants you to be a renewed human being helping him to renew his creation, and his resurrection was the opening bell. And when he returns to fulfil the plan, you won’t be going up there to him, he’ll be coming down here.


    Actually, the TIME interview with Wright has to do more with widespread misconceptions about heaven (another topic that is very widely misconstrued in sg songs), which is the subject Wright’s newest book addresses. There isn’t anything new here; theologians and Bible scholars have been trying to make these points for decades, rather unsuccessfully (particuarly in conservative evangelical circles). But perhaps Bishop Wright, who is widely regarded by evangelicals and who is gifted at communicating academic theology to the average layperson, can make a dent in these kinds of pop theologies.

    Of course, if sg songs presented a more accurately biblical picture of heaven, probably 25% of our songs would have to go–no more “Step aside, John, let me get to the throne . . .” or “I’ll fly away, oh glory . . . .”


  2. Scott wrote:

    I was always amazed at some of my more “right-leaning” friends when I was growing up. Their mothers and fathers considered it a huge “sin” to drink alcohol, but they wouldn’t think twice of having a pre-packaged deep fried cherry-filled pie from the corner market.

    I also remember a certain 350 lbs Vacation Bible School teacher from my youth. She was co-teaching my class with my Aunt Shirley who was a smoker at the time. The 350 lb woman chastised my Aunt in front of the whole class.

    “Don’t you know you’re body’s a temple of the Holy Ghost?” she said.

    My Aunt Shirley didn’t miss a beat.

    “If my temple were the size of the size of 7 Sistine Chapels, I don’t think I’d be one to criticize.”

    I love that….

  3. wackythinker wrote:

    I like the tshirt I saw recently: “My body is temple of the Holy Spirit. I’m building a mega-church.”

    And obese people don’t seem to see the hypocricy.

  4. antipathy wrote:

    wackythinker, that is awesome!!! I want one of those TShirts!!! That’s almost as good as the Mackie T Shirt I saw at NQC a few years ago. For those who aren’t familiar, Mackie is a sound company that makes PA systems, mixing boards, etc. On the front it said “Church Soundman”. On the back it had a large picture of one of their 100mm volume sliders on their mixing boards. Underneath that, it said, “Backslider”. Hilarious.

  5. FormerDJ wrote:

    Scott, I can identify. When I started in radio, I smoked. I was working for a small SG station owned by a rather obese man. One morning I walked in and was taken to task because I smelled of cigarette smoke. This huffing, puffing fat preacher didn’t see that what he was doing to his body was every bit as much a sin as what I was doing to mine.

  6. BUICK wrote:

    Isn’t it interesting that this thread, which is a rather serious discussion of a “weighty” issue, has had only 5 posts (as of this writing) and the one quoting Pamela Furr has had 99. That’s NINETY-NINE posts (admittedly, two of them mine) responding to the sensational, shock-talk article. Much of it is not given in a very helpful manner, either. But this thread, intended in a more constructive vein, has FIVE posts. Does that tell us anything?

    I do understand the antipathy that was highlighted. I want to go to heaven as soon as I can so why should I spend too much time, effort and money taking care of this temporary dwelling? On the other hand, I am a steward of this body so how can I not try to be responsible about it? I find myself caught in a strait between the two.

    What about those mega-churches with food-courts in the foyer that sell Big Macs, KFC and ice cream? Is that inconsistent for a church? Or is that part of a larger issue of churches now trying to cater to the desires of the public even if it is at odds with Scripture? Clearly the general public are not clamoring for healthy food or it would be Kentucky Broiled Chicken and the MacFish would be grilled instead of deep-fried.

    So we make a decision that we are going to be sensitive to the wants of those we try to reach and then we give them what they want instead of what is good for them (spiritually as well as physically) and we can end up reinforcing the very traits we ought to be helping people overcome.

    When we define the effectiveness of a church just on the basis of a number, we set ourselves up to be chasing numbers instead of changing lives. (I recently heard a mega-minister in the mid-west lamenting that the snows of December had brought his annual average worship attendance down by 10. He said, “And in January, I will have to go to a conference of mega-church ministers and all the men from Arizona will be bragging about their numbers and they don’t have to deal with snow out there. It’s just not fair.” Does this reflect a misplaced priority or what?)

    Sorry, I’ve kind of rambled here but I feel better for getting it off my chest. Sometimes this is a good blog for venting.

  7. JW wrote:

    My, my, aren’t we all so-o-o-o much better than thou silly, fat right winger evangicals? What, no mention of Walmart?

    It’s funny how many “experts” there are on evangicals, here and elsewhere. I guess you guys are the experts, but have any of you ever heard any evangicals actually say “the body can be used and abused..”? That’s utterly ridiculous. The biggest chubbo evangical, or even non-evangical, might abuse their bodies but I’ve never met the most self righteous Christian ever deep down not wish they were overweight.

    BTW, before your stereotypes kick into gear, any of you want to join this evangical 5 to 6 days a week at the gym are more than welcome. If you can still breathe after one of my 6:00 AM boxing workout classes taught by a former pro boxer, we’ll discuss!

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