|Obesity:Take control of your weight|
Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Ballston Spa
"Rick Warren, a mega-church pastor and author of The Purpose Driven Life, latest weight loss ministry has raised questions about the purpose of a church. Warren has lost 60 pounds under a new ministry called “The Daniel Plan“. The Daniel Plan is based on the story of Daniel only eating vegetables. The weight loss lifestyle ministry employs healthy eating, regular exercise, stress reduction, prayer and small groups meeting in church member’s homes. Apparently, the ministry is effective. The church claims to have lost over 250,000 pounds among its 30,000 members.
What sparked this ministry? Warren explains his revelation to CNN:
On that particular day, I was baptizing 858 people… That took me literally four hours. As I’m baptizing 858 people, along around 500, I thought this … ‘We’re all fat. But I thought, I’m fat,” he said. “I’m a terrible model of this. I can’t expect our people to get in shape unless I do.This weight loss ministry for Warren’s Saddleback Church is catching on. Dr. Oz is now partnering with the church and is providing a fitness and diet plan.
Is Rick Warren’s latest announcement a gimmick for weight loss or is there something deeper going on?
Obesity is a big problem for America and no seems to be doing much about it. Yes, we post information about the food on packaging and at McDonald’s, but it is not enough. Christians talk about self-control when it comes to things like sex or other sins, but there is almost no conversation about how fat our churches have become. There is a dangerous connection lurking between obesity and Christians. Perhaps the most damning evidence of obesity among American protestants is found in the book Thieves in the Temple by G. Jeffrey MacDonald:
An epidemic of overeating among Christians highlights a basic lack of self-control. Obesity has become rampant among American Protestants. Nearly one in five Methodists is obese, according to a 2006 Purdue University study. Among Baptists, it’s more than one in four. Meanwhile, fewer than one in 100 American Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists are obese. Even when allowing for geographical considerations, the research found Protestants to be fatter than people of other religious backgrounds.Another study from Northwestern University found that, “Young adults who frequently attend religious activities are 50 percent more likely to become obese by middle age as young adults with no religious involvement.” In 1998, researchers at Purdue found the percentage of obesity highest in states where religious affiliation was more prevalent: Michigan, Mississippi and Indiana were among the states with the highest percentage of overweight persons. There is a correlation.
Church and church life revolve around food. We Christians talk about self-control, but never self-control with food. I was discussing this very issue with a fellow pastor, William Shiell on twitter. He quipped, “@alanrud this is the level we have finally descended to– just a religious weight watchers.” But, is this really just a religious weight watchers that waters down what Christianity is supposed to be?
No and Yes. No, we are not supposed to be a religious weight watchers that catches on to the latest trends or fads. However, based on the statistics above, how can we preach a message of self-control when we can’t even control how we over stuff our faces? Obesity kills and it drives up the cost of health care. It’s preventable and leads to other life threatening conditions. Think how people could live longer and healthier lives!
Clearly, when God created us he created us to be good stewards of everything… even our bodies. If churches will not lead the charge on holistic health (mind, soul, and body), who will? For those of us who need a purpose driven life, we may also need a purpose driven diet and exercise program."
A cure for obesity is as simple as being willing to change .I have found that a big enough WHY?will provide a do-able HOW.Write down your WHY? For example I want to travel more,I want to see the Taj Mahal.Be specific and describe your goal in detail.Ask yourself :If I know I Will succeed ,what will I do with a healthy body? Read and review your goals often.(Daily ).Make small changes Remember drops of rain make the oceans!