So, I’m a fan of Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren’s book Adventures in Missing the Point and I think that self-esteem should be thrown into the mix. Or maybe it is in their book and it’s been so long since I’ve read it I’ve forgotten.
Regardless, I was thinking today about self-esteem for some reason. Maybe I read something about it or overheard someone talking. I don’t know. What it comes down to is that, in youth ministry at least, it seems that in our attempt to respond to culture’s message that we all have to have slim, fit bodies to have any worth, we have essentially told students that it is okay to be fat, lazy, and excessive in their eating habits. We feed them the line “God loves you no matter how you look, and so should any guy who is worthy of your time.”
While that is true, it is equally true that God loves us despite our sin, yet we do not encourage students to be complacent about their sin (hopefully). Why is it any different when it comes to taking care our bodies, our temples of the Holy Spirit? Yes, God loves us regardless, but some of us need to do a lot better job of taking care of ourselves. I’m not saying that every girl needs to weigh under 120 pounds and that guys have to have a six-pack, but I am beginning to see that a well-rounded diet as well as a decent bit of exercise is necessary to maintain a holistic attitude towards growth as a disciple. As I try to think about ways in which to be holistic in my own discipleship and to get away from dichotomizing between the “spiritual” and other realms, I think that the church has missed the boat on self-esteem and encouraged lazy, gluttonous living.
Yes, Jesus loves you even if you’re fat and lazy (or skinny and lazy – like me). But that doesn’t mean that’s the way it’s supposed to be.