Readers didn't mind sharing their views on a somewhat weighty matter recently.
A June 23 column in the Life section of The Oklahoman asked for readers' opinions about the connection between faith and health. The column included information about a Time magazine story focusing on evangelist Rick Warren's Daniel Plan, a health and fitness program he launched in January 2011 at his Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. Warren told Time that he based his program on the biblical Book of Daniel.
Several readers responded to the following questions: 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?
Here's what readers said. Their city and faith/denominational affiliation, when noted, also are included:
The Rev. Steve Eden, senior pastor of Grace Church in Choctaw, nondenominational:
I believe since every human being was made by God and FOR God (Colossians 1:16-17), that when we give our hearts to Him and submit our ‘selves' to Him, a byproduct is better health. If you asked a heathen doctor (or atheist) “If a person chooses unconditional love, chooses to forgive others and forgive themselves, chooses peace, etc., over bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred etc., wouldn't they live a longer and better quality of life in most cases?” His answer would be unequivocally yes. You see, the Kingdom of God being the best “way” we are designed to live is not just written in the Bible, it's written into human DNA, organs and tissue. Since we are made in God's image, we do well in the things He does well in — character traits like love, forgiveness, etc., as I mentioned earlier. Notice the term “ill-will.” The first part of the word is “ill.” Why? Because if we humans stay in it too long it makes us sick — from the inside out. Scientists today are saying that around 75 percent of all structural disease in humans is originating in the spirit and soul (emotional and thought) realms! Unfortunately our society is not sharing these things because saying that God is not just good but good for us is not politically correct.
Christy Hanna, nondenominational:
I agree completely with Pastor Rick Warren's church and their mission to use faith as a catalyst for improving their health. I am so thankful that the nation is looking at its habits and its culture that it has been created in regards to diet and exercise over the past few decades. Something HAS to change! I love the quote that Saddleback is using on T-shirts, “God created it. Jesus died for it. The Holy Spirit lives in it. Shouldn't I take care of it?” The answer to that is a resounding YES. Gluttony IS a sin. Allowing yourself to think more about food than God takes away from His ability to work in your life. Therefore, food becomes an idol and eating in excess becomes a sin. Yes, we need to eat mindfully, but don't allow the pleasures of life to become more important and to take away your time from getting closer to God. At my church, Victory Christian Center, there is a program called Babes, which has been changing women's lives for years. Women work out together, talk about life's challenges together, and improve their temples together. Just as Daniel was not tempted by secular pleasures, neither should we.