Active RNS subscribers and members can view this content at the RNS Archives website.

LOS ANGELES (RNS) As megachurch pastor Rick Warren struggled to submerge members of his flock in the baptismal pool one by one, he realized his parishioners were heavy and that he, too, was fat, setting a terrible example. By Lilly Fowler.

2 Comments

  1. Health and fitness, inner and outer beauty–great things to strive for in order to enhance the quality of our lives and increase the quantity of our years! Thanks Pastor/Dr. Rick, Dr. Oz, Dr. Hyman, Dr. Amen, and other contributors and participants. A major thanks and congratulations to Chiquita Seals for being such an inspiration and being the Biggest Weight Loser! We want to know more about how you did it. Maybe a book? Here is Chiquita’s friend/mentor’s website that chronicles her health journey. http://www.TOTALPURPOSE.com

  2. I think Rick Warren has found a very hot topic for Americans and applied some good tactics to actually helping his congregation help each other to accomplish achieving health. Some may argue against him that mixing things like diet with religion may confuse some on what the message of Christianity focuses on. If you look at the Seventh Day Adventist church you can see how a similar message has positively helped them live longer and healthier (50% are vegetarians), however when learning about Christ, food could be a potential unnecessary roadblock. I read a study that showed the Southern Baptist church was the most overweight. It seemed from my reading that those churches with viewed the body more as temporary and not influencing your mind had lower views on the warnings of gluttony spoke about in proverbs. As a physician, I have also read studies on the mood improving effects of a healthy diet, similar to the Daniel diet (rich in fruits, veggies, and complex carbohydrates), whereas diets like the Adkins diet can actually worsen your mood initially. Ornish and Barnard are key authors showing how plant based diets can decrease incidence of diabetes and heart disease; diabetes that is controlled doubles the rate of depression and when uncontrolled is associated with even higher rates of depression and heart disease is also associated with depression. Further Dr. Ratley’s book “Spark” clearly shows how exercise can powerfully affect your mood, ability to concentrate, and general wellbeing. That being said, Jesus said don’t worry about what you will eat, or what you will wear… as these things will take care of themselves. Further Peter had a vision that he could eat “unclean” meats. Many of the disciples were fishermen and Jesus even cooked them up some fish to eat. This all pointing at this conclusion: food and exercise are blessings and should be celebrated as such; eat healthy (mostly plants), exercise daily (30-60 minutes a day), and do this together with those in your community!