Higher power, or higher calling?

I had a conversation with a dear loved one not so long ago about health and fitness. This person, who is among the most “Godly” people I know in terms of doing everything in their power to please God or see God’s hand in everything that happens in life, has also struggled with weight their whole life. This person said to me that they knew it was “a sin” to not take better care of their body but they just haven’t been able to make a commitment to get healthy.
I guess I had never thought of being unhealthy as a sin, per se, but if you are a person who believes in the Bible, I suppose there is evidence of a relationship between unhealthy behavior and sin ( not treating your body as a “temple” which doesn’t belong to us but to Him; gluttony; ect.) But arguments of sin aside, I have long viewed staying healthy as a way of honoring my blessing of good health and not taking it for granted. Even non-believer friends have shared this view with me — call it karma, testing fate or whatever, the fact is, people are dying at too young an age every day, and good health was never promised to any of us. Therefore good health should be something we cherish and strive to hold on to.
But since that conversation with my loved one, I have often wondered if it’s a common view in the church for unhealthy behavior to be considered a sin. Certainly it seems to be “sinful” when the unhealthy behavior is, say, doing drugs. But if unhealthy behavior of the overeating, non-exercise variety is, in fact, considered to be a sin, why is it not taken more seriously? Do they think they get a pass on that particular sin because it’s too hard? Because it doesn’t involve illegal behavior? My loved one as an example, I cannot think of one other aspect of this person’s life in which they are consciously engaged in behavior they consider to be sinful, but somehow this particular sin is acceptable. Obesity is even the source of humor in many churches. I think most every church-going person has seen the overweight pastor who jokes about his rotundness while scooping up a second or third helping of Sister Mary’s banana cream pie at the church picnic.
Yesterday I saw this story on MSNBC about a church that is starting a weight loss program for its parishioners. I thought this was such a great idea that I hope others will emulate. Then later the same day I saw a post on a community blog about a local church in my neighborhood forming a group to discuss this book, “Craving Hope,” about the connection between food, exercise, family and God.
I’m glad the church is finally stepping up to support people in this way. Even if you don’t buy into the whole unhealthy behavior = sin argument (which I, personally, am unsure of), it’s been well established that people are more likely to stick with their weight loss or fitness programs when they partner with other people. This has certainly been true for me and my marathon training. Since church is considered a community, why should church goers have to find a different community for their health goals? And if you think you need a higher power to help keep you on track, then the church is a good place to seek that help.


About travelerontherun

I am a chronic adventurer who loves to see and experience new places. What I really love most is experiencing those places after parking my RV and lacing up my running shoes.
This entry was posted in exercise, Fitness, Running, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Higher power, or higher calling?

  1. i think it’s a sin to not continuously have Girl Scout cookies in the house. Look it up, it’s in there!

  2. I think you are right that we do not look at it as a sing because it is not illegal. It is also not spelled out in the 10 commandments. Christ did not write on there “And thou shalt not be a 2 ton tubby” I think we all realize that food does not effect your mental awareness, it usually does not harm anyone else, and it is a deeply private issue. It is a hard issue…. for a lot of reasons, but I also do believe that it is a sin because most people are over eating because of deep issues. It is usually not just because they like the taste of food.

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