Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Review: Every Body Matters, by Gary Thomas- a keeper, get your own copy!

I could make this a quick book review and tell you I just finished reading a great book. However, that would be a simple response for something that needs a more complex commentary. 
It re-calibrated my thinking. 
Every Body Matters, by Gary Thomas, is a keeper. He addresses an issue that my husband and I have spent many hours talking about already...the health our bodies, especially as Christians. 
You see, we hear sermons on having a strong faith, sinful behavior like dishonesty and adultery, and how to be great givers; all of which are important topics. But how many times have you heard the sermon about maintaining a healthy body in regards to gluttony? Or what about food as a idol? 
Here’s what I have taken from the book:
-Food is supposed to be a tool, a source of nutrition, fuel for our bodies.... not something we crave, obey, or think about constantly. 
-Hunger pangs before lunch or dinner aren’t life threatening. Duh, right?
-I need to have a solid, strong, and steady body (rather than a soft one) in order to complete the tasks God created me for.
Every Body Matters is not a diet book, health or nutrition manual or condemning for any reason. Thomas clarifies his understanding that we can not and must not judge the outward appearance of anyone for any reason and that fitness is not a measuring stick for faithfulness. 
About his own struggle, Thomas shares, “I sensed a stronger resistance to impatience, lust, and other sins. Confronting excessive, indulgent eating was almost like taking spiritual penicillin or antibiotics in that it seemed to cut the feet out from under other demands.” (61) “With my nutritional needs for the day met, I can focus on other things.” (85) 
He says, “One blessing of sin...is that it can usher us into a new honesty. Our frailty is exposed...[we can] be completely honest with ourselves. (181) Did opening the bag of chips, even though your conscience was telling you not to, really help you feel better thirty minutes later, or did you feel worse? Did blowing off the exercise session- even though, many times before, exercising when you didn’t feel like it made you feel renewed and invigorated- serve your long term goal of better health? Or was it simply a matter of coddling a soft spirit? There a times when it’s wise or even necessary to skip working out, but was this one of them?”(180)
One point Thomas makes that I agree and disagree with at the same time (is that possible?) is that “a soft body cannot carry a hard message; a fragile personality cannot endure a harsh response.” (200) I have met a handful of people who have weak, failing bodies; yet have strong-as-a-lion wills, capable of capturing the heart and soul of individuals many times their sizes or strengths. And on the other end of the spectrum, I know people whom are the perfect picture of health; yet are cowards inside. But I get what he is saying and I agree... I don’t want to intentionally do something to cause my physical body to weaken, hindering my ability to accomplish the tasks I have been made to do. 
Perhaps I should read this book a couple times a year... like right before the holidays! 
Zondervan gave me a free copy of this book in exchange for a thoughtful, honest review...and I am very grateful for that! 

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