Rationale for the inclusion of gluttons for convention service…

In case you missed it, I have submitted a resolution on gluttony for consideration at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. I believe the resolution provides ample evidence, both scriptural and practical, to justify its serious consideration by the messengers. There are, however, a few reasons to oppose this measure. I list five:

1. What was meant in the biblical times by the word “glutton” is not analogous to what is considered “gluttonous” today. Careful exegesis may demonstrate that the Body Mass Index (BMI) of the average Israelite was a substantially less percentage than today’s average Southern Baptist BMI. If we want to make a resolution about gluttony today, we need to determine whether or not the percentage of body fat acceptable to ancient peoples is the same percentage we observe today. What was considered fat in the New Testament times might not be considered fat today, and vice versa. Until exegetically-sound biblical scholars reach persuasive conclusions about this matter, we should refrain from making such comprehensive resolutions.

2. There are clear biblical passages that celebrate fatness as a blessing from God, whereas leanness is considered a curse. (Gen 27:28; Gen 41:1-4; Psalm 36:8; Psalm 63:5; Psalm 106:15; Isaiah 10:16; Isaiah 17:4; Isaiah 55:2)

3. Images of salvation and heaven, as well as the whole Jewish calendar, are clearly associated with banquet feasts, which implies God’s acceptance and blessing of hearty eaters. (e.g., Purim, Passover, Tabernacles, Pentecost, Trumpets, as well as Canticles 2:4; Luke 14:15-23; Rev. 19:7-10)

4. Both Jesus and his disciples were regarded as a gluttons by those who doubted or despised their ministry. If it’s good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for us. (Matthew 9:14; 11:19)

5. And now for the hermeneutically suspicious but emotionally charged argument. It goes something like this: God creates some people with a predisposition to obesity. Some people are born thin, while others are born fat. Obese persons struggle to deal with their natural proclivity to overeat, and the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention should not condemn or ostracize people because of the way God made them. Obesity is merely an alternate lifestyle for many of God’s fat and overweight children, and it should be celebrated as the diversity with which God has created us all in his image. Until, that is, we can find and supply a prenatal cure for the fat gene and thereby substantially reduce the frequency of gluttonous behavior.

4 thoughts on “Rationale for the inclusion of gluttons for convention service…

  1. “Hey, Grandpa Benjamin…what’s for supper?”

    “We got pinto beans and collard greens,
    boiled ham and candied yams.
    Sweet iced tea, just come and see.

    Red Velvet Cake, for goodness sake,
    chicken legs, and chicken thighs,
    buttermilk and custard pies!”

    “Yum, yum!”

    For anyone who will admit to having watched Hee Haw.

  2. Ouch.

    Coincidentally, Ben, a buddy of mine from my church has been living in Sri Lanka for the last 10 months, helping the Salvation Army’s relief arm direct tsunami-reconstruction work. He had to fly back to DC this weekend because his grandfather passed away in Baltimore. It was his first time back in the U.S. since going to Sri Lanka, and he said the first thing he thought when he got off the plane at Dulles is “wow, these people are FAT!”

    I told him his head would have exploded if he had landed at Houston or Atlanta instead. :-D

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