Before I start writing on the basics elements of the Church, I felt prompted to add a few comments to my previous two posts. If you did not read them, the links are below:
Exhausted… -Rediscovering the core elements of the Church
FRUSTRATED!!! -The 10,000 Pound Elephant in the Church
Until four years ago, I had been obese for most of my life. I actually weigh less now than I did when I was in the sixth grade. By the time I was a freshman in high school, my doctor informed me that I would probably be dead in my 30’s if I did not make a change. Telling a 14 year old kid he is headed for sudden death motivates him to action, at least it did for me. The following summer I lost over 100 pounds by following a low calorie diet and becoming more physically active. After losing the weight, the physical activity stayed but I went back to my old eating habits. And honestly, my eating habits had no boundaries.
Until four years ago, I ate whatever I wanted -whenever I wanted it. I was a product of my culture. As most families, food was at the center of our family’s culture. Being heavily involved in the church, food was often involved in the church culture that I was a part of. And obviously, food -and plenty of it, is at the center of our American culture; this is the reason why obesity related illnesses are the #1 cause of death in our nation. Until four years ago, obesity was “normal” for me. -And thus in my mind, my obesity was normalized and justified. I weighed in at over 300 pounds.
So the obvious question for you to ask is: “Eric, what caused you to change?” There are two answers to that question. The first answer is my children. I began to see my children eating the same things that I ate and I knew it was not good for them. I love my children and would do anything for them, including the correction of my own bad habits. The second answer is education. I began to educate myself in regards to obesity and healthy eating. I found out what junk food did to my body and I found out what healthy food did for my body. I began to find it really hard to shove a dozen donuts down my throat when I realized what effect those donuts would have on me, and on my children who were watching…
I know my past few posts have been really tough on the current state of the Church and have probably offended a few (or more) of my friends who are pastors and church leaders. Please understand, I love the Church and am called to serve the Church. Nothing could ever change this, it is the simple reality of who God created me to be. But after unplugging from vocational ministry for a few years and taking a step back to just “observe,” my perspective has been profoundly changed. The past few years have been very enlightening for me. I did not set out two years ago to be a “critic” of the established church, just like I did not set out five years ago to become a “health nut.” However when you become “aware” of the truth and other vital information, what you do with that information demonstrates your character. What would it say about me as a “responsible father” if I continued shoving unhealthy amounts of soda, donuts and ice cream down my throat and my children’s throat AFTER having the knowledge that I have now? And what would it say about me as a “responsible pastor” if I just returned to vocational ministry and continued as I was two or three years ago? I never wanted to make any enemies and I certainly never wanted to be labeled “a radical.” My flesh would much prefer to just “fit-in” and go with the flow… But, that simply goes against everything that is in me. I cannot fathom just “going with the flow” at this point; I love the Church too much to do that.
For the record, I do not consider myself a “health nut” when it comes to my physical lifestyle or a “radical” when it comes to Christianity. However, I do seek “balance” and a lifestyle that pursues “reconciliation” to the teachings of Jesus. So… that leaves me with taking the risk of sharing these thoughts on my blog and waiting to see if they gain traction with others. I have to be honest and share that I can not help but wonder if there is anyone else out there who feels the same as I do. Feel free to share your comments below.
2 responses to “The Basic Elements of the Church: A Few Thoughts on Detoxing”
I have “served” in the church as a worship leader for many years, and after stepping back as you have, I’ve found the same thing as you… The Church (in North America) is sick, and it’s a frustrating experience to see it and realize that the people attending these churches are happy that way. As soon as someone questions or calls someone on a “tradition” or “program” the tendency is to be shunned and called a radical.
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