“Jesus was a Fatty” – In this month’s issue of Geez Magazine

8 12 2006

Jesus Was a Fatty
by Carrie S. Martin

Two months after I married my pastor husband, I did the appropriate pastor-wife thing and quit my full-time job. I had to find something to do. I did what any good pastor’s wife would do, I found a Tuesday morning ladies’ Bible study. A Bible study not affiliated with the church where my husband preaches.

I was glad to have something in my life that was my own. Something to look forward to. A way to make new friends. Proper Christian friends. Because when you marry a pastor and stop going to happy hour after work, your circle of friends changes.

The first Tuesday I went to Bible study, was the first person I encountered at the church warm and welcoming? Hell, no!

The very first time I went to Bible study, I walked in the door and a woman was coming to greet me. How lovely of her! Wait just a second, it turns out she wanted to tackle me, practically wrestle me down to the ground, because she thought I was getting too close to the sanctuary with my venti Starbucks cup. Thanks lady, for showing me what Jesus must have acted like.

I really tried to get into the Bible study.

Every Tuesday morning, I would get decked out for Bible study. I tried to tone it down a bit and make myself look like a proper pastor’s wife, albeit a trendy and stylish one. Never the same outfit, bag or shoes twice. Getting dressed for Bible study was just as important as doing the homework.

The Bible study was intended to closely cover the book of Genesis over a nine-month period. Each week there were passages to read and specific questions to answer. You were supposed to spend time every day working on the homework. I could not do the homework at home. Because of my household demands? No! Are you kidding me? I have almost nothing to do. But I couldn’t do Bible study homework because I had to hide it from my Bible scholar husband, whose area of expertise happens to be the Old Testament, which happens to contain the book of Genesis! If he saw my homework and Bible study materials, he would have license to mock them.

Then as far as the actual Bible study group, I hated it. I also hated the other ladies at the Bible study. That’s probably not how Jesus would want me to feel. This was a large group of women, divided into smaller groups of a dozen or so for discussion. As luck would have it, the leader of my group was someone in the community who knew my husband and what he does for a living. This left me with the choice of asking to change groups, possibly offending my group leader, or just staying in the group I had been assigned to and not saying anything. I chose the latter.

I went each week. I listened to the theologically uneducated make their scriptural interpretations. Methusulah really lived to be 969! I listened to their prayer requests and pretended like I cared. For instance, the woman with seven kids (yes, she home-schooled) who wanted Jesus to give her a nicer house. I prayed over a blue truck.

I quit the Bible study after six weeks, a complete failure. I hadn’t made any friends, and I didn’t feel I belonged.

I didn’t give up though. I kept searching for a place to belong, and I finally found it.

Weight Watchers.

The whole stress of marriage and quitting my job had caused me to gain a couple of pounds. OK, 15. I started devoting my Tuesday mornings to Weight Watchers meetings.

And, as compared to the nice Christian ladies at Bible study, at Weight Watchers I found complete acceptance and unconditional love. Nobody chastized me for my Starbucks cup. Nobody cared what I wore. In fact, wearing the least amount of clothes possible and no makeup or hair products or nail polish was preferable. Anything that adds ounces to your weight was not encouraged.

At Weight Watchers, I found love and acceptance. No matter how badly you had screwed up, people were glad to see you, welcome you back and completely forgive you for anything you might have done wrong. Even if you were too afraid to join, weren’t ready to follow the program, and didn’t want to step on the scales of justice, you were still welcome. No matter how often you stumbled, people were there to pick you up (even if there was a lot of you to pick up).

The only conclusion I can make from my experience is that Jesus must have been a fatty too.

My prayers were answered. I found a group I could go to each Tuesday.

And, I lost 15 pounds.

– – – – –
Carrie S. Martin lives with the Pastor and their three kids in the Bible Belt.

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Thursday Reflection – Week #10. The Church in Culture, or Science 101

8 12 2006

I’ve always avoided trying to understand the definition of “modern.” For me, it’s basically been a type of art that I despise. And avoiding the definition of “modern” makes an understanding of “post-modern” even harder to come by. But we went there last Thursday in class, and I’m glad we did. It gave me some new insight into the progression of the church in culture that I’d like to share. Allow me to offer a simple analogy from the science.

Solid : Modernity
Matter: rigid, inflexible, stationary – like ice.
Church: In the early 20th Century, “church” was a location that people came to – like mission compounds in India.

Liquid : Post-Modernity
Matter: fluid, flexible, mobile – like water.
Church: Mission involves people movements, where people are no longer expected to leave their cultures in order to know Jesus – like participating in the Burning Man.

Gas : Global Information Culture
Matter: chaotic, quick, loose, less visible – like air.
Church: Every culture is integrated, community is no longer attached to a place, the church must participate in various networks (practices) and turn them back to God – like ?????

We are now in a global information culture, where information and relational networks are changing at a rapid rate. The Church must learn to equip people not just for personal enrichment, but for practice-redemption. The question is…how?