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?
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