Over at The Gospel Coalition, Lindsey Carlson wrote about her faith and her weight in her article, The Weight That So Easily Entangles.
Compared to most of what I hear about faith and fatness, I think this is a step in the right direction. Carlson says, “To shed these burdensome weights [of fear, shame, helplessness] I must fight to see myself as God sees me: loved, adopted, forgiven, and accepted. I have to exercise self-control in my thought life, refraining from words of self-deprecating body-shaming. I have learned it is more important for me to watch my heart intake than my calorie intake because what my soul feeds on will ultimately guide the choices I make for my body. I am the most encouraged and edified to persevere when I choose to value sanctification over skinniness and spiritual fitness over thigh gaps or great abs.”
That is just simply beautiful!
However, elsewhere in her article there still seems to be the general conclusion that if one is fat, then weight is a “struggle” or an “affliction” or body size is alluded to being a burden we were never intended to carry. I’d love to see us place the blame for the “fear, shame, and helplessness” on the shoulders of a society that teaches us that fat bodies are to be feared or shamed. I’d love to place the burdensome weight on a diet-industry that churns us through yo-yo dieting patterns that make us feel helpless while they line their pockets with money.
I refuse to accept that burden or shame, they are not mine, that is a burden I was never intended to carry.
One thing that I notice constantly is the way “fat jokes” (or, fatphobia) is so a part of our life and casual conversation that most of us don’t realize it happens or that we participate. I’m going to try to keep up with where I hear that kind of stuff in specifically Christian contexts and point them out here as an awareness exercise.
On the Radio:
On Sunday morning my drive to church takes approximately 7 minutes. When I turned on the car this week the radio was in the middle of somebody’s sermon. The pastor was talking about something that I can’t even recall right now – he made a remark about how things don’t make sense sometimes, and then said, “Like, How do we eat three square meals and wind up round?” (Sunday, 10/5/14, 93.3, Dr. Benny Tate)
This morning when I turned on the car, the radio station was discussing recipes or something. One of the hosts said, “This is why I don’t like taking pictures – heavenly chicken pies.” Implying somehow that eating food makes our bodies unphotogenic. (10/10/14, 93.3)
I See You at A Deeper Story moved me to tears. (in a good way!) Andrea Levendusky tells us about her daughter, who really sees people in all their beauty and wonder and glory.
Personal note from this fat woman: I never mind when kids ask me about my body. They notice things; it’s what they do. It’s my pleasure to answer with a smile.
*For this inaugural issue of “Faith and Fatness” – – I’ve included a few things I’ve seen the past few weeks. 🙂