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BOD4GOD: Must Lose Weight to Honor God

BOD4GOD: Must Lose Weight to Honor God

Now here’s an interesting concept – a side of weight loss with a huge helping of faith. Amen?

That’s exactly what Journey Church, a modern evangelical church in New York, is pitching city residents. With four New York locations in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Forest Hills, Queens, the Upper West Side of Manhattan and Greenwich Village anyone can get a “Bod 4 God.”

The 6-week weight loss program was inspired by Virginia minister Steven Reynolds’ book Bod 4 God: The Four Keys to Weight Loss which Reynolds, “The Anit-Fat Pastor,” wrote after losing 100 pounds. 

The book’s 4 keys to weight loss include:

1. Dedication: Honoring God with Your Body
2. Inspiration: Motivating Yourself for Change
3. Eat and Exercise: Managing Your Habits
4. Team: Building Your Circle of Support

I would argue that steps 2-4 are good advice for any weight loss program or healthy lifestyle, but the program’s ”dedication” step is what I find most disturbing.

Linking weight loss with faith sends members a very loaded message – must lose weight to honor God.

What happens to those who fail the program and are unable to shed the pounds?

What will this “failure” do to a person’s self-esteem and body image when not only their health is on the line, but God’s approval too?

If honoring God means being fit, is being out of shape equivalent to dishonoring God?

If faith is measured by the numbers on a scale how do we know what number is best? Are those with a more favorable number closer to God?

Conversely, if we are “God’s creation” as the program points out then what about honoring what God blessed us with?

In a city obsessed with fitness and dieting, BOD4GOD may be just another passing fad, but a church that entices members with promises of a better “bod” is troubling – especially if honoring God is on the line.

What do you think?

Related from Care2:

In Pepsi’s New Campaign, “Skinny” Means “Confident”

Facebook Use Leads to Negative Body Image and Eating Disorders

Study Blames Working Moms for Overweight Kids 

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Image by alancleaver used with a Creative Commons license - http://www.flickr.com/photos/alancleaver/4222533261/

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125 comments

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11:22AM PST on Feb 8, 2012

Agree as long as God help us

4:03PM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

I have a metabolic disorder that led to diabetes. Does that mean I am inherently spiritually defective? No. I am a good person based on how well I treat others, not how well I treat my body, or how well my body treats me. Being a good person is what matters to God.

7:15AM PDT on Mar 13, 2011

Marie K., as with all things that are done in God's Name, dieting should aim at maintaining harmony and balance in one's life. Anorexia and obesity both equal weight imbalances. Not what God would want from us either way.

7:51PM PST on Mar 3, 2011

Way back in my religious training, they said that your body is God's temple, so one shouldn't defile it with alcohol, sex, cigarettes, etc. God made you beautiful, so don't spoil it. People who believe in obeying what their ministers say, will be hurt when they fail, but if it helps some, ........... Religion is crazy.

3:56PM PST on Feb 28, 2011

silly name for a silly concept

2:30PM PST on Feb 24, 2011

thanks.

3:59PM PST on Feb 21, 2011

they aren't trying to say that you have to lose weight to honor God. why do you people always attack anything that Christians do the second you hear about it?
they are simply trying to lose weight and be healthier, and they are doing it in faith. yes, we should honor God with our bodies, and yes being healthy is a good way to do that. He didn't mean for us to live off of fast food. he created us to eat fruits and vegetables and to live a healthy lifestyle. and you're attacking people because they want to do that and the way they're motivating themselves is by honoring God.
if they "fail" so what? God will still love them (and always will no matter what they do or don't do), and they know that. they are just trying to get some motivation. which is more than I can say about a lot of people out there.

8:26PM PST on Feb 19, 2011

interesting article.

11:23AM PST on Feb 19, 2011

Quite disturbing A most dangerous theory..

7:56AM PST on Feb 19, 2011

They're all idiots.

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