Should the church let fat people preach?

A Facebook friend posted this call to arms against the “fat acceptance movement.” I had never heard of the FAM, but, apparently, it is a thing. And based on the post my friend put on Facebook, some people really don’t like the idea.

By any medical definition, I am fat. My fatness results from a combination of lifestyle choices and genetic factors, no doubt. Some of it is in my control. Some of it is not.

According to the federal government, I need to lose 40 pounds to move from the obese to the merely overweight category. To be at a healthy weight, I should lose 80 pounds. That would bring me to what I weighed when I was 19 years old, played basketball or racquetball every day, and lived on college dorm food.

So, let’s talk about this.

Overeating is a sin. It damages the body that belongs ultimately to God. It uses money that could be better spent to help those who are in need. It leaves me less able to engage in the important works of the kingdom.

This is not a sin that features big time in the Bible because most people in biblical times were living on the edge of starvation much of the time. But gluttony does come in for its licks and certainly the Bible condemns satisfying the desires of the flesh.

I am not a member or a supporter of the fat acceptance movement. My fat is not something I am proud about or want you to give me encouragement to accept about myself. But I am fat and have been for a long time.

So, why does the United Methodist Church let an open sinner like me keep preaching?

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5 thoughts on “Should the church let fat people preach?

  1. Why allow you? Because of the attitude and belief expressed in your last 2 paragraphs.

    I’ll take a 1000 preachers who confess they are sinners who long for perfection over one who seeks to justify their sin and sees no need up change.

    1. John may have confessed, but he did not repent (i.e. changes his ways). He has not changes his lifestyle to become “healthy.” It’s an interesting question, why do we demand that people confess and repent of certain sins and not others, especially clergy?

      1. How about we just do as we are required and call all people to repentance? None of us are perfect, yet I hope as Methodist pastors we are all “on our way to perfection.” You can’t get there if you don’t see your sin as sin. That’s the first step.

  2. Probably not… haven’t you noticed that most of the pastors who receive appointments to vital or potentially vital churches are physically attractive? Those of us who do not meet this standard may be useful in situations where decline is expected.

    I’m reminded of something I read recently. I don’t remember the exact quote, but here’s the gist– Today Christians spend more time monitoring their physical appearance than the health of their soul.

    I don’t think Wesley would like our obsession with physical beauty and our neglect of spiritual health.

  3. In Wisconsin, the board of ordained ministry requires a complete physical exam for ordination or commissioning. Where persons have identified unhealthy characteristics, they are counseled by the board to take steps to correct the health situation. So the issue is raised with people who are overweight or especially obese (medically). I’m not sure anyone has ever been turned down for that reason, but it is an issue that is addressed by the board (or was when I served on it).

    I think we owe it to people who are dealing with physical health issues to provide guidance and support. Where there is an eating issue (either over- or under-), that may involve counseling and spiritual direction. The idea is not to necessarily “weed out” people with problems (see Chad’s comment above), but to support people through change, including repentance if necessary. If a candidate was resistant to working on the issue or blew off the board’s counsel, he/she should probably be deferred.

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