A South Carolina pastor recently wrote a blog post asking a simple question: What if the church would fight obesity the way it battled homosexuality?
Perry Noble is the lead pastor of Newspring Church in Anderson, South Carolina. I’ve never met Perry, but I’d love to sit down with him over coffee if the opportunity ever presented itself.
I’ve watched several of his messages on the church’s main website.
But it’s a blog post on his website that prompted this post.
His post was actually a follow-up to an earlier piece he’d written called, “10 Convictions I Have About the Church,” in which he said this:
8 – The world would change in an unbelievable way if the church would attack the issue of obesity as relentlessly as it attacks the issue of homosexuality! (It would also be way more relevant to the church!)
He said while that statement turned out not to be popular, it’s true.
He then pointed to a familiar Bible verse, that verse in 1 Corinthians that says homosexuals won’t go to heaven.
The problem is, as he pointed out in a message on homosexuality more than a year ago, is that Christians seem to have something resembling selective blindness when it comes to this verse. Many use it as a weapon against homosexuals without managing to actually read what it says.
Here’s 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 in its entirety:
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Most quotations of that verse seem to conveniently skip that first question and begin with the “Do not be deceived” part.
Why? That’s an important question, isn’t it?
Without that first question, we Christians are free to point the finger at everyone else. When we have that first question added, since Jesus Christ was the only man ever known to walk the earth and not become a wrongdoer, we’re suddenly included in that list.
There’s no fun in that, is there?
Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control, which include the fact that more than a third of American adults are obese, he says this:
Our country is literally eating itself to death, yet the church chooses to remain silent about the issue because it seems to be too personal.
But then the truth does hurt, doesn’t it?
I’ve visited churches recently where the lead pastors would probably feel compelled to lose weight themselves before tackling such a topic for their congregation!
Obesity implies — except for those who pridefully (see what I did there) hide behind excuses of “glandular problems” — gluttony and sloth. Obesity is evidence that people aren’t treating their bodies as temples to God, as 1 Corinthians 6:19 states we should.
And if we believe that oft-quoted statistic that about 10% of society is homosexual, why are Christians acting as if they are so focused on that 10%, particularly when many Christians have convinced themselves that one can’t be gay and be Christian, and that therefore there are likely no homosexuals showing up in church to hear the message, anyway?
If the church were to fight obesity the same way it fights homosexuality, it’d certainly be uncomfortable for any of us who is overweight.
It’s easier to pick on people we assume are different from us. It’s more fun to focus on the problems with “them,” not the failings of “us.”
But how is that helping anyone?