You’ve probably heard this joke. An elementary school class was having show-and-tell day and the students were told to bring something in that represented their faith. The Catholic kid brought in a rosary. The Jewish kid brought a yarmulke. And the Baptist kid? Oh, friends, the Baptist kid brought a casserole dish!
It’s funny because it’s true. Haven’t we Christians kind of established food – second only to Jesus – as the answer to everything? I’m pretty sure our secret mantra is, “How sweet the crunch of Cheezits tastes in a believer’s mouth.” Did someone just have a baby? Bring them a meal. Trying to get to know someone new at church? Go out for coffee. Need a “missional” activity? Host a Super Bowl party at church. Want to thank someone for bringing you a meal after having that baby? Make them cookies. Is it Sunday? Have a potluck. And there better be snacks at the next members’ meeting. And Lord? We’re not joking about that whole “give us our daily bread” thing.
So I was amused but not surprised to hear that church makes you fat (I’m taking some artistic license with the conclusion). Northwestern U. has good ‘n’ plenty data to back up their research:
“The study, which tracked 2,433 men and women for 18 years, found normal weight young adults ages 20 to 32 years with a high frequency of religious participation were 50 percent more likely to be obese by middle age after adjusting for differences in age, race, sex, education, income and baseline body mass index. High frequency of religious participation was defined as attending a religious function at least once a week.“
The proof is in the pudding! Now I know, I know. Bodies = temples. Gluttony is traditionally one of the seven deadly sins. Food can be and is, tragically, an idol for many. But I can’t help it. I cannot help snickering a little bit over here. I have so many questions. Are one’s mounds of love handles in direct proportion to their level of spirituality? Does this mean I’m not a little on the “more to love” side, I’m just super holy? Does your spare tire get you to Heaven faster? And, perhaps most importantly, can I just snarf down some Oreos for the sake of the Gospel? Pleasesayyes.
What do you think, peeps?