I don’t know how to approach this post in a politically correct way so I’ll just say it. It’s a quasi-post about weight, obesity, and overweight people in society.
There: I said it.
In some ways but especially in the church, it’s one of the “elephants” in the room.
And by that, I’m not try to sound like a jerk or smartarse in any way by the usage of elephant, it’s literally a rare a conversation we host. It’s certainly not something I regularly teach or preach about but I should if I care about my congregation.
And by that, I’m not saying that it should be directed at those who are overweight but to really approach it from the perspective of stewardship, body, and health. And that being said, I can tell you that I’m personally struggling with health, exercise, and the stewardship of my body.
But the conversation isn’t just about “weight” but there’s even a more important, critical, and soul question. What is it?
It’s the way we judge those who are fat or obese. Just those words in themselves conjure up certain preconceptions, judgement, and assumptions.
And if we are truly honest, we all do it on some level. We judge and make assumptions:
overweight, gluttony, lazy, not useful, or whatever
and perhaps most painfully from our church perspective, we go beyond judgment to condemnation:
not able to be used by God like “normal people.”
And that is something we need to repent for.
Honestly, I think what needs to happen is that both of these conversations need to happen – but always in the context of trust, love, and relationships. That’s why…it ought to happen in the church.
Because if they don’t, I can assure you they probably just happen in the minds and hearts of people – in isolation. And that’s where judgments fester.
Consider these words from one of my blog readers:
I’ve endured a lot of judgment and condemnation from people (pastors, church leaders, family) who have either said out loud to me or to my friends behind my back that I am an embarrassment, lazy, a burden, selfish, undisciplined, and perhaps the most hurtful . . . that they don’t believe I can be effective or credible in God’s work.
There are many underlying reasons for obesity; overeating is not always the cause. It’s very hurtful to make an assumption or critical judgment, or show pity or contempt. Why not get to know the person, spend time with them, ask them about their struggle, and become a friend rather than a critic.
You may be surprised to find treasure that has been discarded because of its packaging.
Watch this beautiful video:
But let me just share this video with you starring opera duo, Charlotte Jaconelli (16) & Jonathan Antoine (17), as they sing ‘The Prayer’ in a very recent episode of Britain’s Got Talent 2012.
It’s beautiful, magical, and inspiring. I’m a sucker for these kinds of stories. Here’s 7 thoughts that randomly ran through my head:
1. The voice.
Wow. What a voice. Wow.
2. We all know what the judges and crowd were thinking.
It’s the same thought we all had about someone like Susan Boyle (“Wow…she’s old and doesn’t look the part.”), Sung-Bong Choi (“But he’s an orphan?”) and this duo: Jonathan and Charlotte. (“He’s fat.”)
And for some, perhaps, that’s all we see. How tragic.
Learning a bit more about Jonathan’s story, he shares about #3 and I’m sure the constant comparisons to his sister…who’s an aspiring model. You can’t make this up.
3. The impact of judgment to the soul.
Something haunting about how Jonathan describes the judgments of people:
“It took a little piece out of me in a sense.”
In an interview I read somewhere, Jonathan shared that has had been so badly bullied about his weight that he “suffered a nervous breakdown in October and is currently seeing a psychiatrist.”
Before blowing away Simon Cowell and the rest of the judging panel at the BGT auditions, the curly-haired teenager opened up about his past.
‘At primary school I had the mick taken out of me and it damaged my confidence quite a bit,’ he said. ”When people would say something it would take a little piece out of me.’
However, despite suffering from a breakdown last year, Jonathan revealed that it was with the help of his singing partner Charlotte Jaconelli that he found the confidence to get up on stage.
4. I really like Simon Cowell.
Really blunt and honest but in my opinion, a helpful way. That’s me. We can’t have 100 Simon Cowells in our lives but we all need at least one Simon Cowell.
How honest can you get?
5. Collaboration and Loyalty.
No one is an island to themselves. No one.
“Well we’ve come on here as a duo and we’re going to stay here as a duo.”
6. Carmen Elektra?
What in the world is Carmen Elektra doing there as a judge? Really?
7. Who didn’t tear up even a little bit?
I want to know.
[ What are your thoughts?]
- About Jonathan and Charlotte?
- About the conversation of weight, health, obesity, and the judgments. Fair? Agree? Disagree?