A Pre-Emptive Strike Against Thanksgiving Gluttony (and Dairy Queen)

I wrote something like this last year after the Thanksgiving festivities…I thought I’d share it this year before we gorge our bellies ; )

Buzzin’ on Grape Juice

Church culture intrigues me.

I am always curious as to how inconsistencies or contradictions are birthed in church traditions and cultural Christianity. Alcohol consumption is just one example. Especially in my own tradition (Baptist), abstinence from any alcoholic beverage, no matter the temperance exercised, is a prerequisite for any church leadership position. It is written with permanent ink in the church bylaws. And though this would be another post topic, I can never reconcile how drunk people in John 5 thought Jesus saved the best wine for last if He was only serving up watered down grape juice.

While we strain a gnat out of our wine glasses, one “camel” that is commonly overlooked in cultural churchianity (especially the Southern flavor) is gluttony (Leviticus 19:18). Yes, Thanksgiving is a celebration of faith, family and provisions (as it should be), but it has also become centered around ginormous meals that include ungodly amounts of red meat, lardy gravy, casseroles, sugary pies, and sweet tea. It is a time to brag about caloric intake and the intestinal fortitude it took to force down that last bite of pumpkin crunch.

I consume enough each Thanksgiving to get sick to my stomach for the rest of the evening and well into the night, the ache only subsiding after a couple BC powders and Sprites.

It’s not just during Thanksgiving.

Follow my example…to the buffett…

Look at church leadership. When was the last sermon you heard from the pulpit condemning the sin of gluttony? Even worse, when is the last time you saw a pastor who was clinically obese preaching from the pulpit, a likely persistent indulger in the sin of gluttony?

I’m always reminded of the story about the interaction between CS Lewis and a well-meaning pastor. The Pastor beseeched CS Lewis to quit his unseemly habit of cigar smoking, being it was such a nasty inelegant act for a Christian leader. Lewis quipped back to the portly pastor, in effect, “When you lose the fifty pounds you need to lose then you can come talk to me about bad habits.”

Many rotund pastors will rail against drugs, sex, and rock & roll without a batting of the eye, all while carrying their idol before the congregation within their size 44 waistband. Since when does treating our body as a temple only have to do with premarital sex and masturbation (1 Cor 6:19-20)? Of course it is wrong to murder, but why is it OK to slowly kill ourselves with our poor lifestyle habits?

It’s not just my Baptist brethren.

Supernatural Jenny Craig

No lie: I heard a personal account of one pastor in the apostolic/prophetic movement who was counseling a young single lady who should be considered medically obese. She suggested to the pastor that she felt she needed to lose weight and find a man. The pastor told her, “Don’t worry about that. God is going to grant you supernatural weight loss very soon, and you will find a man soon after that.” (!?!?!)

Do huh?

I don’t have time to address all the glaring problems with this miracle “cure” and the irreparable damage it may do to this girl emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Not only is that pastor making an irresponsible and whimsical false promise with no biblical truth in it, he is putting that woman’s very life in danger. Instead of speaking into her life a healthy lifestyle change (and the pitfalls of gluttony), the misguided pastor gave her a quick lightning bolt fix she would rather hear (tickling ears); Supernatural weight loss sounds better to me too than eating broccoli, tuna-fish, and sweating my butt off….

I’m not saying we should elevate gluttony and food excesses above any other vice, just a call to make an honest evaluation as to why we overlook some sins and not others. As with everything, it is not a physical issue but a spiritual issue. Addictions come in all forms, the most subversive types are usually the culturally accepted ones.

Thankfully, the gospel of Jesus Christ heals all addictions; and always gives grace towards our daily indulgences.

But as new creatures, if we are called to crucify the flesh (Galatians 2:20), that would seem to include the syrupy sweets and fried fatties we take with gleeful gratitude into our flesh. How would a dead man (or lady) react to the temptation to “super size” or “have it your way” when the opportunity daily presented itself?

To be crucified with Christ in part means the dynamic sway of Dairy Queen has died to us.

To be honest, I don’t like that. Because, after all, Dairy Queen has some really tasty fried onion rings.

Bryan Daniels

Getting Fit Like A Pre-K’er And Paying To Move Rocks

In my past experience the gym has been little more than an embarrassing place to sweat and socialize with fellow self conscious masochists (no offense to my gym member readership). Of course I am probably projecting my own shortcomings onto gym memberships more than I realize.

It just seems to me that gyms generally involve more “pea-cocking” than actual personal fitness.

On a more positive note, I’ve consistently kept an at home workout routine going for the past month. (GO ME!) I don’t want to be one of those coaches (football and track) who demand their athletes to be in tip shape while personally sporting a portly waist and diet that could feed a sizable family of grizzly bears. There have been a few short relapses hither and thither, but overall I’ve cut down on Goliath portions and diabetes inducing drinks.

Josiah, my three year old, likes to join in on the circuit weight training workouts. He can fling around his mom’s 3 pound plastic weights like a champ. His little boy frame will be beach-body ready come summer time. : ) Afterwards, he always asks, “Can I have a smoothie?” He must think I put ice cream in it.

On a work note, I had two athletes earn District Champs last week in track and field in the long jump (22’8″) and high jump (6’4″). Yesterday, I traveled with them to Regionals in Jacksonville and my high jumper qualified for state next week with another jump of 6’4″. So back to Jacksonville I’ll go with him as he competes with the best of the best in the state. The state track meet coincides with the start of spring football practice, so needless to say it will be a busy few days.

In Algebra class we also have Finals, EOCs, FCATs, and many other educational and professional hoops to hurdle before school ends in June. A deadline is also fast approaching for me to finish all my remaining online educator classes and teacher certification tests that will finally earn me a permanent educator certificate.

I say all this to let you know: If you don’t hear from me a consistent basis the next month or so, it’s not because I don’t love you dearly like a German kid loves sauerkraut! It’s not you, it’s me….promise. And in the midst of all the gratuitous sweating and sports I’ll try to remember with you:

Bodily training is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8)

Peace and grace,

Bryan Daniels