Festival of Homiletics: Krispy Kreme Kommunion?

Briefly, briefly from PeaceBang’s observations of 1,680 preacher conferees in Nashville:

  • We have to talk about weight. PeaceBang is quite serious about this. She saw dozens of people who were in the 300+ pound range, and when Grace Imathiu announced that there would be Krispy Kremes at the break and a sigh went up as though she had announced that Jesus Himself would be handing them out, PeaceBang knew we Had To Talk about our eating situation. We really do. Especially because PeaceBang couldn’t help but notice that every single one of the main speakers was fit and trim (well, Jim Wallis is a bit hefty, but he was the exception) and what does that say about the body-spirit connection? It certainly doesn’t say that if you’re chunky or fat you can’t be a fantastic preacher, but it says something. And when PeaceBang figures out what that something is, she is going to invite us all into a conversation about it, so stay tuned.
  • Scraggly facial hair. Gentlemen, super-casual clothes are fine because we were all pretty much on retreat, but I’m guessing that you didn’t all go home and fire up the Norelco Nose Hair Trimmer and beard clippers. Now that you’ve gotten home safe and sound, could you please get after those gorilla hairs that have taken over your neck and ears?
  • Dudes with HAIR PARTED IN THE MIDDLE. PeaceBang is speechless. It didn’t work on Scott Baio in 1978 and it doesn’t work today. Okay, maybe it did work on Scott Baio. And Erik Estrada. But darling fellas, it doesn’t work on you, especially when you’re strawberry blonde with a sunburned scalp.
  • Ladies with the big ole toes hanging over the front of your sandals, a tip: our feet all slide forward when we walk. Also, leather stretches. Keep this in mind when purchasing sandals and try to keep the little piggies in their pen. I’m trying to be cute about this but really, it’s just basic grooming. Because, yuck.
  • Filthy knapsacks: again, I know we were all pretty much on retreat and there’s no need to go about with especially fashionable or professional bags, but could we stop dragging around filthy, beat-up knapsacks as though we’re in the sixth grade? Even a clean tote would be better than that.

But aw, overall everyone was so happy to be there I couldn’t really fault them for being messy. I did see a profusion of ankle-length denim jumpers — even some with SOCKS and LOAFERS — but I was honestly just feeling too tenderly toward my hard-working, hard-laughing, spirit-seeking colleagues to cast a very critical eye. Bless all our hearts, and especially those arteries. And Lord, preserve us from Krispy Kremes and other false idols. Amen.

12 Replies to “Festival of Homiletics: Krispy Kreme Kommunion?”

  1. “but it says something”

    It says, “I’m so busy taking care of my parishioners that I don’t take care of myself.” Which sounds self-sacrificing and all that, but it’s a false-martyr syndome, plus, it’s bad role-modeling for your congregants, who probably all have reasons to not take care of themselves.

    LE, who could stand to lose a few lbs herself.

  2. I’m sure it says something a bit different for everyone, but here are some other possibilities.

    It says “I’m working so hard and secretly resenting it so much that I deserve a quick and delicious reward.”

    It also says. “I refuse to recognize society’s guidelines for what women are “supposed” to look like because they are sexist and unhealthy. I refuse so much that I’ve neglected to notice that I have become unhealthy.”

    It also says “I wish I could loose weight but it is next to impossible when all around me people are in raptures over Krispy Kreems and of course I want two!”

    iMinister who could also stand to lose a few lbs, really tries, doesn’t ever really succeed for long. Also who wishes someone would do a dedicated blog for this topic and doesn’t have time to do it herself.

  3. Before starting the whole weight commentary (I actually would prefer to see an eating and exercise commentary, just to avoid the whole fat people=bad,ugly people thing, which might make me stop reading), I would recommend reading some of what’s being said at body acceptance blogs like Big Fat Deal, Fat Fu, and Shapely Prose.

  4. Like lots of folks, I put on 15 lbs in seminary. Actually, many put on much more. With all the schoolwork plus church commitments (even student pastor assignments for some) plus family needs for us older students, there wasn’t any time left for exercise. There’s a lot of talk out there about self-care but in practice it still requires time, a scarce commodity.

  5. Yes, it does require time. I put on weight in seminary too — in fact I did for the other two degrees, undergrad and doctoral, and am laboriously losing the doctoral weight now. So I sympathize. But it can be done with some planning or with some support. I’m not blaming here, I’m just sayin’. And it’s not just an individual thing — our culture doesn’t help, it keeps getting more and more rushed and expecting more and more of its professionals.

    All the same, what really gets me is not so much the weight as the health issue. When I put on weight it wasn’t from unhealthy food, it was mostly from too much food (big portions and too much “comfort eating”) and not enough exercise. No fried sugary stuff involved. How in the world can people have a sense of wholeness and holiness and eat junk food? Are seminaries and congregations reinforcing the stuff you can read about (or see — haven’t seen the movie but did read the book) in Fast Food Nation? Is no one thinking about sustainability and eating local food (organic is good but local and organic is better, and just plain local is already good — and don’t tell me this is only a California thing, I know someone in Syracuse, NY who is blogging on food and sustainability up there in the snow belt, and living it, too)? Have we so screwed up our taste buds that we don’t know that fresh fruit is more delicious than Krispy Kremes and a few squares of dark chocolate ten times better than ten Twinkies?

    I’ve also noticed that Coffee Hour (that great sacrament of the Episcopal Church and many other religious bodies) is often really unhealthy. We’ve gone for the Fair Trade coffee in many cases, good. But what’s with the lack of herbal tea as an alternative? And what’s with the white sugar? And the cookies on an empty stomach?!

    Sorry, but I could rant for hours about this. (I also just had my first sugary dessert in weeks at a friend’s home, I just realized — hmmm, maybe it got me worked up; but don’t blame this all on sugar shock.) It’s not just the aesthetics and the representational thing — though that is important and PeaceBang, I’m with you on the professional image (what does it say to congregants if their pastor is exhausted and out of shape? And I don’t mean a little round, we all have different body types)and the self-care — but the issue of health awareness and the fostering of health.

    BTW, in two congregations I’ve been in, people have been thrilled to have alternatives to eat. I’m not a full-time pastor these days (I have another religion-related gig to earn a living and do the occasional leadership thing at my congregation) so I can get away with some things that perhaps would draw more fire if I were the major authority figure but when I take a turn at catering coffee hour and I bring local cheese and whole grain crackers and hummus and a bit of fresh fruit, people say ooh and aah and scarf it down, and by the way I live in the South where it’s not Northern Chi-Chi Land (though I did come from Chi-Chi Land originally).

    What I am rambling about is that there’s a pastor issue and there’s a broader community issue of changing the culture and of public health problems in the U.S. having to do with health and food and exercise and rest and BALANCE. I’m not talking about getting everyone on a diet but about being mindful about how we live in the environment, what we put in our bodies, how we make and share food and where we get it (and who benefits economically and for whom it’s economically hard to get and make healthy food — I know the class issues here), how we experience pleasure, and so on.

    How can we all help each other? This is a community issue and not just a ministers’ issue.

    At the same time, I do notice the high, high percentage of overweight and out of shape clergy.

    But I notice the same thing when I travel, in airports, and in various public spaces.

    Another thought: some denominations have regional committees on clergy wellness (we do in the Episcopal Church though I’m not sure it’s true of all dioceses — but it has been of the last two in which I’ve lived, in two different regions of the U.S.), an excellent idea, and they encourage clergy to meet with their vestries/steering committees/sessions/councils/whatever-your-lay-leadership-group-is-called or with a subgroup of lay leaders and to have some conversation and accountability around issues of clergy wellness.

    But there is also the issue of whether seminaries deal at all in a formal way (I mean beyond informal pastoral care by the dean of students and student-initiated or community-based activities) with the question of health, health and spirituality, health and wholeness, health and justice, clergy and their bodies, food and exercise, body/mind/spirit and so on. I will bet that almost none of us had an actual for-credit seminary course or even mini-course on this topic. Am I right? (I sound like New York. Now you KNOW I didn’t start out in the South.)

    Thanks for the space to rant. I mean well, I just go off on friendly tirades. It’s probably also that sugar. 😉

  6. P.S. What’s with the lack of spacing on this blog software? I put a space between my paragraphs and kept them short so my post wouldn’t be hard on the eyes and so people could read it more easily, and when it came out above it was all smooshed.

  7. Hello Rev Peacebang! Just a little fan comment to say how much I love your blog. I just bought new shoes today (heels!!) and thought of you – they will be for wearing to work, and I usually wear Birks to work (nerdy maths/sci teacher).

    But with your comment about how leather stretches, I’m wondering if I should exchange them for the slightly smaller size… Hmmm.

  8. i am not sure if i was one of your case studies… i might not have shaved one day, but generally i can get away with two days before my body’s understanding of gross facial hair really shows.

    gavin-who could loose some pounds but also didn’t entertain the doughnut.

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