Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, but I'd like to discuss an issue that is as timely as it is critical: obesity.
I'm specifically talking about the connection between faith and health.
A recent Time magazine story caught my attention several weeks ago and I've just had time to digest it, no pun intended.
The article focused on evangelist Rick Warren's Daniel Plan, a health and fitness program launched in January 2011 at his Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. The story came with an appropriately catchy headline: “Does God Want You to Be Thin?”
The Time article describes a slogan on a T-shirt worn by people participating in the program: “God created it. Jesus died for it. The Holy Spirit lives in it. Shouldn't I take care of it,” a motto apparently based on 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
Warren, author of the best-selling book “The Purpose-Driven Life,” said he based his program on the biblical Book of Daniel. In short, Daniel and three other Jewish boys are taken to King Nebuchadnezzar's court, but they decline the king's meat and wine, opting for vegetables and water instead. Their refusal to eat at the king's table is a metaphor for a person of faith refusing to be sucked into the ways of the secular world — to his eventual benefit.
Warren's Daniel Plan includes a diet high on unprocessed fruits and vegetables. The plan also includes nutrition training, sports, exercise groups, recipe tips, Walk and Worship sessions and small support-group meetings.
I'll be the first to admit I'm trying to lose weight as well as make other healthy lifestyle changes. In short, my temple needs a lot of TLC. I happen to like Warren's biblical approach to health. And you don't hear a lot of folks talking about the perils of gluttony (or at least calling it by that name) but it is one of the Seven Deadly Sins (Proverbs 6:16-19).
So what say you? Do you think faith-based health programs like Warren's Daniel Plan are needed to combat the nation's obesity crisis? Are we morally obligated to maintain a healthy weight and stave off obesity?
Let me know what you think by sending your thoughts via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Carla Hinton, c/o The Oklahoman, P.O. Box 25125, Oklahoma City, OK 73125. Please include your name, city and faith affiliation. Your comments could be used for a future story in The Oklahoman.