Soft pillows, comfy chairs, and holiness...
(Tim) Entertainers are the only ones permitted to be honest, today. But sometimes, scientists are cut some slack and are allowed to speak their minds, too. In that vein, did you notice yesterday's news that women are hard wired not to lose weight as easily as men. WebMD titled their article on the study, "Hunger Control: Women the Weaker Sex?" Turns out if we pay scientists to study the difference between the sexes, one of the results we'll get is that the sex that carries and nurses our children is hard wired to...
Well, to what?
Amazingly, to carry and nurse our children. Brilliant! Which got me thinking...
Anyone who's viewed a Reubens has to be skeptical of the cult of the thin body rampant in the American church. Only the perfectly naive would see it as a battle for holiness, the repentance of those who recognize their god is their belly.
When I was in Africa several years ago, David Wegener cautioned me to watch how I spoke about weight. Over there, he explained, any reference to one's weight (if one is adipose, as I am) is seen as arrogance. In other words, Africa is normal across history in thinking a fat wife contented and prosperous. Not sinful.
Through the years, I've had a number of wives come to me and ask me to pray that they'd lose weight...
Never that they'd win the battle over their appetite (although some undoubtedly would have put it that way if they'd spoken from their heart rather than simply following convention in how they expressed their request).
Usually, I take the occasion to give a pastoral warning concerning the idolatry of the body that permeates our culture; and particularly, the thin body. I tell them that the three books that will always find publishers and sales are books on Abraham Lincoln, dogs, and dieting. Then I ask them whether they think Christians working to lose weight are just serendipitously helped by culture to repent of their sin in this one area, while in every other area culture encourages them in their besetting sin? Or is it possible that all our concern over weight control is just one more capitulation to the Spirit of the Age?
Mary Lee and I well remember some years back, meeting with a husband as he confessed his years of adultery to his wife at our round oak table. And during that time together, there was an unforgettable exchange between them over the wife's weight. The adulterer himself was heavy, but he had the chutzpah to point to his wife's weight as justification for his adultery. Right there in front of us.
Maybe he was attracted to holiness?
Having explained my reticence to jump on the svelte and buff bandwagon, let me quickly add that every time I read "whose god is their belly," I hear God's call to me to repent. There's no question I love food and am sinful, here. Please pray for me.
But don't ask me to judge brothers' and sisters' piety based on their conformity to our cultural idolatry of visible skeletons. Speaking personally, I'd guess every infant who had a choice would choose to lie in the thick soft arms of a mother cuddling him against her comfy belly as he nurses at her voluptuous breast. You know, a Song of Solomon mother.