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Eat It or Beat It: When Pastors Struggle


When did we decide it was okay for pastors to be overweight but not okay for them to struggle with porn?

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My family and I visited a church this past Easter. So did a lot of people. We were in out of town visiting my favorite donut shop, so we decided which church we should attend that morning based around my donuts. It was a geographic decision, not a spiritual one.

Anyway, church was great. The message was solid, but ... well, let’s be honest ... a bit long. Hour-long sermons seem to be the norm these days (though I think you should call it a day around the 40-minute mark). So, about an hour into the message, I got distracted and started looking through the nice flier the smiling greeter had handed to me when I walked in.

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In this flier, I found information about this church’s seven signature ministries; and then I zeroed in on one related to health: “This is a program that shows you how the powerful combination of Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends can change your health forever… More than 15,000 have already lost well over 250,000 pounds!”

There was more to the description, but you get the idea.

My wife Jeanette always has to remind me that my voice carries or that I talk too loudly, and it wasn’t any different, because I read that, then pointed it out to her, then said, too loudly apparently, “How can one of the signature ministries at this church be about weight loss while the founding pastor is so overweight?”

“Please stop!” she said.

Maybe you’re saying the same thing, but stick with me here—I promise you I’m making a point and that I’m not criticizing this pastor for his dietary choices. Maybe he just struggles with temptation and is doing the best he can.

Now let me ask this: Should that pastor lose his job because of his weight?

[sharequote align="center"]What would happen if more people were as open with sex and porn addictions as people are with food?[/sharequote]

Of course not, right? That would be ridiculous! He can be a fantastic pastor and still be a heavy guy.

So thinking about that got me curious about the nature of what we do at Because if you’re a pastor and you have trouble eating well, that’s going to be very obvious to your congregation. But what if you have trouble staying porn-free? What if you have an addiction to sex? That’s much easier to hide than a struggle with food.

Think I’m overdoing it? I’m not alone. The apostle Paul wrote about food and sex in the very same passage, in 1 Corinthians:

“You know the old saying, ‘First you eat to live, and then you live to eat’? Well, it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor him with your body!”

I guess my question is: When did we decide it was okay for pastors to be overweight but not okay for them to struggle with porn?

In this past year, I personally have witnessed over 30 friends and people I know get fired from churches because of hidden sexual sin. I get it. You cheat on your spouse or use your power to prey on people in your congregation, you should be disqualified from ministry.

But I met a guy the other day who told me he was in charge of 150 pastors in his church’s denomination, and he asked if we would work with his pastors.

“Let’s be honest,” he said, “who’s not struggling with porn these days? Even these guys. I know it and tell them don’t hide here.”

He gets them everything they need to fight this and deal with these issues head on.

He doesn’t fire them.

What would happen if more people were as open with their sex and porn addictions and struggles as people are with food? Imagine a show like "The Biggest Loser" where contestants battle sex and porn additions. Would anyone watch? Would we cheer them on? Would we sympathize with them? Or would we just think they are creepy?

We probably will never get that show on a major network, but your world would change if you were more honest with yourself and others around you and stopped hiding. Let your pastors be people.

TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.

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