Tuesday, January 27, 2009

the overweight of glory

I spoke this weekend at Northstar Vineyard. It was good to see how well the gang is doing there since being planted in 2002. Matt Massey and his crew are cranking—lots of good outreaches and mission trips. Northstar meets at Loveland High School—check them out some Sunday for heartfelt worship and Matt’s passionate messages.

And, of course, caught Joe on Saturday night at the mothership. I love Joe’s honest and simple approach to spiritual disciplines; he takes the guilt out of it and makes you want to be with Jesus. I’ve said it before, but I’ll take brokenness over “we’ve-got-it-all-together”-ness any day of the week. Actually, I think it’s pretty easy to spot people who have been broken, are over themselves, realize how immense grace is and how dependent they are on Jesus. Call it “Discernment 101”. It’s ragamuffin-radar. Anyway, I’m a major Joe Boyd fan and love working with him. I can’t wait until he actually moves to Cincinnati. He lives in South Toledo. That’s a joke. Sort of.

The weekend before I spoke on the physical life. I’m pretty sure it ranked up there with some of my more humiliating moments. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight, a hospital gown and a prostate exam. Mostly on video. Oh well…it’s good for the soul. Er, my soul. Sorry you had to see that. And at the risk of sounding like some shallow suburban pseudomartyr, if it encourages anyone to think differently about our One Life and our one life significance, it’s worth it. Really.

So here’s the deal: some Weight Watchers, a little cardio and strength training (uh, eventually), and a lot of water. It seems to be simple—you just burn more than what goes in. How difficult is this? Hmmmm.

Anyway, the approach I wanted to communicate was one of management, that your body is not your own, but now belongs to God. He’s moved into the house and is throwing out the trash and moving the furniture around. And no room is off-limits. Remember?—it’s His house now. That changes everything.

That’s how Paul approaches the issue of sexuality: you’re sacred space. If you’re really an appendage of Jesus—part of His body—think how odd it is that you would join Him to another person in some casual (whatever that means…) sexual activity. It does get strange when you think of it in that light. Probably because authentic holiness is such an alien thought to us carbon-based bipeds.

Likewise, in the past I’ve told prospective marriage partners that the new arrangement in their marital endeavor will be this: you’ll now be owned by the other. That’s quite an adjustment—this idea of no longer being your own person. That’s why marriage can be difficult for people who have been single for a long time; it’s hard to make the shift that you now have someone else who can call the shots as well, after you’ve had years of making decisions that only intimately involved you. Welcome to potential nuptial hell…if you don’t understand this dynamic.

Anyway, if I think of me being responsible to take care of this one body that I’ve been given…and that it’s really sacred space, then personal health begins to make sense in the larger scope of the kingdom.

Anyway, I’m off to a rousing start: I’ve lost two pounds. Only twenty-eight to go.

“I’m not overweight…I’m undertall.” ~Garfield; circa 1982?


  1. that pic is hilar. talk about major progress! what was the name of that gym again?

  2. I do not think you have any room to comment on single people and telling them that they should stay holy. If you want to get real have a single pastor comment about that issue. You married people can not begin to understand what a single person goes thru in this sex soaked world. So get a grip and stay out of out. I value your opinion just when you have lived in my shoes, which are single and your not. So take a leap!

  3. Wow, anonymous. Sounds like you are really struggling with some stuff. It's nothing that the Lord Jesus can't free you from, if you let Him. Remember too that all of us married people were also single once, so we HAVE walked in your shoes. Some of us have probably made the same mistakes you have, and know how much heartache it caused us and others, not to mention our Savior. Just as God's commands are given to us because He loves us and knows what is best for us, so also is advice and guidance from our pastor. He loves us and wants the best for us too. Living in a sex-soaked society does make things difficult, but that should just make us reach out for Jesus all the more. We can do ALL things through Christ who gives us strength. We also need our brothers and sisters in Christ to help us, encourage us and pray for us and with us. Surround yourself with God's people. We need each other.

  4. I totally agree it's a "sex-soaked world". But actually, I wasn't even solely thinking about singles when I wrote this. Not sure how accurate these stats are, but according to the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, approximately 50 percent married women and 60 percent of married men will have an extramarital affair at some point in their marriage. And while I may not be able to walk in your shoes, I've certainly met and counseled with singles for many years. Unmarried pastors may have a higher capacity for empathy, but that still doesn't excuse me from expressing truth according to scripture. I think your beef is more with Paul, not me. And he was single.

    By the way, Paul the Single Guy gave lots of advice to married people in his letters. Seems like turnabout is fair play.

  5. Paul

    Had no right to talk about married people. everytime i read pauls writings i get confused. All Paul does for me is doubt who I am. so much for paul commenting on married people. Did not he say husband of one wife to be a pastor? So if you take this to heart, I guess you need to fire every woman pastor at the vineyard. Did not Paul say that women should not speak in church? If that is true then all women in the vineyard should be silent.

    Did paul say that if you burn you should ge married? So if you have bad thoughts or think about sex get married? that works for a lot of people.

    Yea, stick to what u know and it will be ok, its when you talk about stuff you dont know about you are a fool. I guess that makes you a fool for christ. is that an insult?

  6. I can see this isn’t going anywhere. If you’re going to argue with Paul, get a good commentary so you can truly understand context, language and interpretation. I would suggest anything by Fee or Keener. If you want to have a respectful dialogue sans sarcasm and vitriol, I’ll be glad to…just email or call me. And no, it’s not an insult. Believe me, I’ve been called worse.