Guest blogger, Kim Shippey, is a full-time writer and editor based in Boston. He is a keen runner, and has organized many fun runs and marathons.
I smile every time I turn to the June issue of the magazine Christianity Today. It keeps falling open to page 39, which shows a minister standing in the carpeted center aisle of his church in Virginia in a dark tracksuit and snazzy sneakers. His T-shirt says Losing to LIVE, and he looks poised to jog at least 50 times around the sanctuary, with church members in hot pursuit, in an effort to lose some weight.
The feature article by Leslie Leyland Fields explores ways in which some churches across the country are whipping members into shape with highly marketed, faith-based health programs. Fields points out that this Christian wellness trend has unfolded amid national debates about health care, overweight children, government-banned large sugary drinks, and who or what is to blame in a country where about one in three adults is clinically obese.
Yet this fresh interest in the development of the whole person–body, mind, and spirit–is not new. You need only go back to Charlie Shedd’s 1975 bestseller Pray Your Weight Away to be reminded that, as Shedd wrote with gentle humor, “if our bodies really are to be temples of the Holy Spirit, we had best get them down to the size God intended.” Continue reading