March 10 - 16, 2008


The Weight of Our Decisions

The other day I watched Caddyshack on DVD. It’s that zany golf movie from 1980 with Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and other top comics. The film is a real side-splitter, but here’s what I found myself thinking from the first few moments on: “Those people are thin!”

Watch any old TV show or movie and it’s apparent just how “plus-size” we have gotten. The federal Centers for Disease Control reports that since 1980 obesity among adults has more than doubled from 15 percent of the population to the current level – about a third of the population! And everybody else is bigger, too.

As one who battles daily to keep my weight down, I know it’s not easy. There are too many temptations for food. Cheap. Tasty. And highly caloric. It’s a losing battle.  Losing battle.

I discovered why it’s a losing battle tonight while watching TV and burning calories on my Schwinn Airdyne exercise bike. While sweating to burn a measly 10 calories a minute, an advertisement came on TV for a hot pastrami sandwich from a national sub chain. But this wasn’t just any pastrami sandwich. It had a half-pound of lean pastrami, and the camera zoomed in on someone cutting a piece of succulent pastrami. I thought, “Dang, that looks good.”

And then the ad showed a sandwich – an ample bed of hot pastrami with melted cheese on a sub roll – on a tray being pulled out of an oven. I thought, “Dang, that looks good.”

C’mon. A half pound of pastrami? In one sandwich? With cheese? I looked up the sandwich online and found it contained over 1,100 calories. I would have to spend nearly TWO HOURS on my Airdyne to burn off just one sandwich. And that wasn’t including a drink or chips.

In the face of such cheap, abundant, tasty food, we’re never going to loose weight. We have no self control. It’s a metaphor for our whole consumption pattern in America. We see, we desire, we say, “Dang, that looks good,” and we buy. And we carry the weight of our decisions around with us.

--Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster
Reprint rights gladly given to congregations for local, nonprofit use. Just include the following notice: “Copyright © 2008 The Rev. Robert Blezard, Used by permission.”

New This Week:

UMCTithing: Law of God or Gift of God (Part 2)
Here’s the second part of David Bell’s essay on the controversial issue of tithing. (We highlighted the first part several weeks ago.) “God offers us a different perspective on giving. It is not one of last resort and compounded with guilt, but one filled with abundance, freedom, and joy.” Click here to read part 2 of “Tithing,” from the United Methodist Church’s Center for Christian Stewardship. Click here for Part 1.

Stewardship as a Ministry in the Local Church
ej logoThis article discusses the potential for stewardship as a discipleship opportunity. “Many churches and organizations are discovering that these are exciting days for stewardship ministries. The resources that God has placed in the hands of His people to meet ministry needs are more than we could ever ask or think.” Good reading. Click here for “Stewardship as a Ministry in the Local Church, from Enrichment Journal, a publication of Assemblies of God.

windowPowerPoint: Stewardship 101
This creative PowerPoint presentation puts stewardship ministry into the context not only of discipleship but also congregational life. Although it is probably too specific to its own context to be used in your church, it can inspire and guide your own efforts to craft a PowerPoint presentation for your congregation. Click here for “Stewardship 101,” from the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.