Monday, December 5, 2011

Things that Deceive

I don't know why I still do it, but for some reason I just can't help it.

I stepped on the scale again this morning.

My weight was up again--over 220 lbs.

I could hear the folks over at the Mayo Clinic screaming.  I could hear my life coach shaking her head in disappointment.

That little voice in my head started talking, "You've set as your goal to get healthier.  You're supposed to be working out and eating right.  Your weight should be going down and not up.  You've been holding right in that area for several months now.  You might want to rethink some of the things you are doing.  Your BMI is too high and we need to bring that down."

I'm working hard right now to strangle that little voice.


Well, the scale says one thing, and my body says another.  My waistline actually continues to shrink in the midst of the weight gain.  I've arrived at the final notch in my belt, and if I wanted to be slightly uncomfortable, I'd need one 1/2 an inch deeper.  I've already asked for a new belt for Christmas.

Sure, I've gained some weight, and I'm purposely trying to do so, in my arms, shoulders and chest.  Looks like I'm having some success because it's not in my waist.  BMI too high?  Yep, according to that instrument of stupidity.

BMI, like the scale, is deceptive.  It doesn't give a true measure of health and vitality.  It doesn't give a true measure of a person's strength, muscle tone, muscle mass, body fat content, etc.  One must be very careful using just these measurements as the sum of overall health.

Just like in congregations and churches.  If you only use worship attendance, if you only use membership, if you only use giving as your core measurements, you will not get an overall picture of health and vitality.  There are many others to consider.  Like: discipleship--are people striving to follow Jesus Christ?  Like: involvement in the community: does the church address community issues and involve itself with community needs?  Like: transformation--are people's lives changed by an encounter with Jesus in the congregation's worship life, ministry life, Bible study life? 

There are, of course, more measurements to go by.  And perhaps one need to take as many of them into account as possible to get the overall health of an institution or person. 

One or two can end up being very deceptive.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

The other day, our condo maintenance manager fell into The Trap. He was standing in a line at Home Depot and asked what we call "The Fatal Question": "So sonny, is your mom expecting a little brother or sister?" After that, there was nothing he could say or do to save himself.

I think we all deal with weight issues, but I also think it is good to focus on spiritual issues.

The point of your post is about how to measure a church. I think the qualities of measurement you chose are very good and balanced.

In my case, when I try to discover the worth of a church, I ask; "How much Truth does it have?" Now, I know this question is subjective, to a point.

On Living Lutheran, "Chemnitz" recently wrote: "Faith in Jesus Christ, the gift God gives through Word and sacrament." Although I would have capitalized "Sacrament," I think Chemnitz identified the core of what makes us "church."

To me, it is the height of irony that the ELCA places so much emphasis on works. Even its motto has "Work" in it. Mosquito nets for Africa. Endless help for the homeless. It has turned the church into a social work agency.