Friday, August 14, 2009
Do You Think This Applies To Sin?
She had, she told us, overcome bereavement, illness, financial problems and weight issues to arrive at a “happy place”, and wanted to direct others there. Each inspiring anecdote was followed by a burst of country & western music. We stood and clapped along to Tammy, or Kenny, or Dolly, before chanting an empowering slogan. It was all mildly humiliating, but her enthusiasm was hard to resist – until she got on to the subject of food; namely, why we over-eat and how we can stop it.Hunt goes on to deride the recent reclassification of some diet drugs in the UK to non-prescription status and the likely abuse to follow, both of the drugs themselves and the excuse for not actually losing weight.
There was an elephant in the room, and, I’m afraid to say, it was the lady herself. Nor did she dress to conceal it. Like Marjorie Dawes, the obese leader of Fat Fighters in Little Britain, she seemed oblivious to the impact of her physical presence. As she continued with her lecture, the atmosphere grew tense. There was an unspoken question hovering – would anyone dare to ask it, or would courtesy prevail?
In the end, hard cash won out. Having forked out more than £400 for the session, at least one member of the group believed they had a right to query why they were being advised about weight loss by someone who had rather a lot to lose herself. The smile disappeared: “I have a thyroid problem,” she snapped. “It’s genetic.”
The group erupted – but not, as I’d expected, in mirth, or outrage at this Marjorie-esque riposte. In fact, the life coach had said exactly what they wanted to hear. Now they were desperate to share their own experience of being at the mercy of their dodgy genes.
I could not help but be struck by how often we handle sin in general in our lives in the same way. We seek excuses and easy fixes instead of actually changing anything. We talk positively about things but nothing ever actually happens. We talk of a gospel where we say a single prayer and voila - we are sinless - and yet, the church is riddled with sin.
And then we wonder why we fail at politics, or any other endeavor for that matter, where we seek to change the real world somehow! If the gospel of Jesus Christ does not change me, how can it change the world? Like the self-improving fat lady's cry of "genetics," we claim "God's not finished with me yet, please be patient." Then everyone else just sighs a sigh of relief, "Oh, all we have to do is talk abut this?" and life goes on unchanged.
We are indeed pathetic creatures. Thankfully, my hope lies in my Lord and not in us.