Weight no more

Okay, I promise. This is the last Boundless post. The previous posts are beating the obesity dead horse and pickiness and you may marry someone you’re not initially attracted to.

The main reason why I wanted to discuss is that in the previous post there was supposed to be a perspective from a man coming this Friday. Well, here we are. Weight no more.

I had previously posted on several traps that Christians tend to fall into when looking at the issue of physical appearance. Let’s get a refresher:

  • [Cultural] Beauty standards — Women are inborn with wanting to be physically beautiful for a reason. After all, it’s a good thing that a wife is attractive for her husband. The problem occurs is if women want to be beautiful for vanity via grabbing attention, power, or other men not-her-husband. Unfortunately, most Christians believe that beauty is just vain and has no purpose otherwise.
  • Reality denial — this can be seen by those who call beauty shallow or those who claim beauty is subjective or a cultural construct. These are two sides of the same deception coin aimed at placating feelings at the expense of the Truth. Beauty is minimized as something that is not good, even when everything they’re saying states otherwise. After all, if fat is fine and healthy then why do you have to write long posts to convince yourself and others?
  • Churchian deception — this is the Christian ought trap where godliness is good so it should be attractive, or a woman’s feeling evaluates how well a husband is leading, or women are more spiritual than men. In this case, godliness or personality or other things that women want to be attractive take the place of beauty.
  • Victim mentality — Other people should change to fit me rather than working on myself. That’s somewhat of a crass way to put it, but Christianity is an inside-out change religion. Other people around you don’t change… you change because you’re God’s disciple which God can use to change other people.

Let’s see how many of them are here in his post. My comments in bold and parentheses.

Dating. Why is it that that six letter word causes me to cringe every time I say or write it? [Victim mentality] For whatever reason, and I’m sure there are different reasons for each of us, dating is difficult. It’s especially difficult when you’re husky and broad-shouldered like me. To paraphrase my friend Joy Beth, dating as an overweight Christian man is nearly impossible. [Victim mentality]

Just recently I had the privilege to be in one of my best friend’s, Josh’s, weddings as a groomsman. It was a beautiful ceremony, but I was distracted. Words that I’d heard earlier that day kept buzzing around in my head: “James you sure do have a handsome face, and from what I’ve been told you’re a godly young man,” said a woman I hardly knew, “but honey you should seriously workout more because you’ll never attract a woman looking like that.”

I love working out. I love running. I love exercising. Shoot, I even have a degree in physical education! But this lady made me forget what I was even doing that day, and she reminded me that culture has invaded the church. [Cultural beauty standards]  Somehow being a little bigger will always be linked to unhealthy lifestyles. [Gasp, appearances matter to humans] Had this women known that I’ve struggled with weight issues my whole life and have been depressed by them, or had she realized that I’m adamant about living healthy and exercising often, she probably wouldn’t have been so blunt. But unfortunately, she only gave voice to what many are thinking—I’ve heard similar statements from older women “looking out for my best interests” and from some women I’ve shown interest in. [Victim mentality]

It seems I’m too big to love, but I’m not alone in feeling shame over my body. If I wasn’t too big, I could be too short. Too skinny. Too tall. My hair could be thinning, my acne raging, or my six pack fleeting. I could have too scraggly of a beard or unable to even grow a beard. [Reality denial] The standards of physical beauty, even for men, are paralyzing. And we’ve been silent on for far too long. [Victim mentality]

The problem here is simple: It’s sin. [Churchian deception] That’s why we’re unable to recognize the beauty, the imago Dei, in each other. [Christian ought trap] We’ve unknowingly infused our churches with a distorted view of humanity and sexuality. [Cultural beauty standards] And while attraction is no doubt important, we’ve prioritized lust over a desire to truly know another human being. [Churchian deception] We’re making decisions on who to marry for the rest of our lives based on who will look the best for the next decade. [Reality denial] I want the women in the church to see Christ in me, and to see that I, James, have so much more going on for me than physical attractiveness. [Cultural beauty standards]

I  long for the day I can be like my friend Josh, crying like a baby as I watch my bride adorned in the radiance of Christ walking down the aisle to publicly tell people “I choose him above all others. James is mine, and I am his.” [I don’t even know what to call this, aside from feminine] I long for the day to be a dutiful father, lavishing my children with love and homemade key lime pie. But for that to happen, a woman has to see me how God the Father sees me, as a redeemed sinner saved by grace, on fire with desire to see Christ made famous. Until that day, I remain ever devoted to Christ and the mission He’s given me to preach the Gospel in season and out of season, with the occasional watchful eye in the crowd seeing if there are any single women listening to me preach. [Red herring on the topic of physical attractiveness]

As I snap on my Fitbit to track some miles, I rest in the promise of God: He is for me, and He will never be against me. God knows the desires of my heart because He put them there. He calls me His child and reminds me to mosey on down to the cross daily where all men are made equal and rest at the feet of the One who gave new life to this husky kid 18 years ago. [Reality denial]

The interesting part about this is not that he succumbs to all of the 4 points mentioned above on beauty standards, reality denial, Churchian deception, and victim mentality.

No, the real interesting part is how we have a different visceral reaction to a man doing these things as opposed to a woman. It’s easier to sympathize with a fat woman, at least to some extent. However, when a man claims to be a victim — even if he is or isn’t — it viscerally disgusts us, especially when reading the part about how he’s going to cry like a baby because his wife ‘unconditionally loves him.’ I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the women reading this had real feelings of revulsion from reading what he wrote. It’s very unattractive.

This man is looking for something he is never going to find on this earth. Only God is able to love us unconditionally. Every time we hoist up expectations of unconditional love from other humans we are bound to be disappointed.

Additionally, we can see that he’s blurring how God loves us with the roles and responsibilities of marriages. Husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. What love looks like from a wife is different than it looks like from a husband — they are told to submit to their husbands (Eph 5, Col 3, Tit 2, 1 Pet 3), to respect them (Eph 5, 1 Pet 3), to love them as a friend (philandros not agape — Tit 2), and to cultivate various behaviors and qualities (Tit 2, 1 Pet 3), even to win unbelieving husbands. His attitude is seeking the love that a husband would give his wife.

It’s not that unattractive is bad. Indeed, you could say at most that attraction is a general proxy for the roles of a husband and wives in marriage, but it must be tempered by godliness and character. The real issue is what I stated in the paragraph before this one is that this man wants the love that a husband would give his wife. This is the viscerally unattractive part because what he is implicitly telling us through his words is that he wants to be the woman in the relationship. He wants to be unconditionally loved by the wife, who is thrust into the role of the husband.

That is the feeling of disgust defined in a Biblical perspective. It’s right that you feel disgust to what he is writing.

James Forbis serves as the Director of Church Relations and for the Center of Evangelism at Ecclesia College in Springdale, AR and as a Discipleship Pastor with First Southern Baptist Church in Goshen, AR.  He is completing his M.Div at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He’s a self-proclaimed sweet tea connoisseur, coffee snob, and Tex-Mex addict. You can connect with him on Twitter at @jforbis

Ladies and gentlemen: this is your next generation of pastors.

What will likely end up happening is that he will start to pastor a church. Then some women will be attracted to him because of his leadership position in the church. He will get married. Then marital troubles will come down the road like they do for most Christian pastors. If he’s ‘unlucky,’ his wife will divorce him. If he’s ‘unluckier’ he will live in marital hell with a nagging and contentious wife, who throws ‘godly temper tantrums’ or ‘uses leaving to wake him up to God’s voice in her.’ Indeed, this results in the pastor taking out his marital frustration on the Church by telling men to double down on serving and being nice to their unhappy wives like he did, which perpetuates this dysfunctional cycle. See: Dalrock’s blog if you want names to put to these examples.

If he’s blessed, he’ll realize that he is the man in the marriage relationship and he is called by God to be the leader. He’ll recognize that he needs to call out discontent and nagging behavior as sin in his wife and give her structured leadership. He’ll tell her that he can do nothing to make her happy. He’ll tell her that happiness and contentment cannot be derived from anyone or anything but Christ.

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36 Responses to Weight no more

  1. Pingback: Weight no more – Manosphere.org

  2. theasdgamer says:

    “James you sure do have a handsome face, and from what I’ve been told you’re a godly young man,” said a woman I hardly knew, “but honey you should seriously workout more because you’ll never attract a woman looking like that.”

    Not enough context to be able to evaluate this. May be a shit test. If so, respond with, “Handsome? I get that a lot. I need to go eat a pizza.” [smirk] Girls will hamsterize away the weight.

  3. SapphireYagami says:

    if he is exercising, he should be losing weight and gaining muscle but if he us eating healthy and working out there must be something else thats going on and maybe he should go to the doctor.

    Side note: being big is not equal to unhealthy. America has an issue with what is overweight and obese. Most women by americas definition of beauty would be considered plus size or overweight when some and i do mean some are actually just curvy. Then some women are skin or petite but that doesn’t mean they are healthy. Everyone is gonna have a different body type. The women in my family all have curvy figures, thick thighs, big booties, and big breast- me i was born with a slightly athletic build that if i was trained as a child, i could have been the next serena Williams . however, at my current age my figure has come in a bit more.

    so looks are important to an extent. A man or woman in marriage can exercise and be healthy but the mindset needs to change. How a person looks in their twenties will change when they turn 50.

  4. @ SapphireYagami

    It’s not solely his weight that women aren’t attracted to him. To be clear, the pedestal is strong with this one.

    Overweight charismatic men get married all the time. So do overweight rich men. Overweight leaders. Overweight celebrities.

    Not overweight feminized men.

  5. SapphireYagami says:

    oh, gotcha

  6. thedeti says:

    “I long for the day I can be like my friend Josh, crying like a baby as I watch my bride adorned in the radiance of Christ walking down the aisle”

    In my opinion, this was the most cringeworthy part. I couldn’t believe he actually wrote that. Wait, maybe I can. He wrote that because he thinks that this will make him more attractive to women. He believes that baring his soul, wearing his heart on his sleeve, will attract women to him.

    Even if he believes it, you never ever say it publicly. Internalize that lesson, men. Women absolutely CRINGE at things like this.

    “James you sure do have a handsome face, and from what I’ve been told you’re a godly young man,” said a woman I hardly knew, “but honey you should seriously workout more because you’ll never attract a woman looking like that.”

    I don’t believe for one minute that a woman actually said that to him. Women do not talk to men they hardly know in that fashion. Not even drunk women do this. Not even nonChristian women do this.

  7. thedeti says:

    And what’s more, the woman allegedly saying that totally made up quote to him was ostensibly Christian, else she wouldn’t have referred to him as “godly”. Christian women do not talk to men like this. Christian women do not say things like this. Especially not to men they hardly know.

  8. @ deti

    Not necessarily I think. Since they used “James” to start the sentence… sounds like an older woman friend of the family who gives out no-filter tough advice.

    Also, yeah, the cringe is real.

  9. Ame says:

    excellent.

    *sigh*, again, to boundless.

    can you expound on this some more, please: “The yoke of “unconditional love” is not placed on wives for good reason and is given to the husband instead.”

  10. @ Ame

    can you expound on this some more, please: “The yoke of “unconditional love” is not placed on wives for good reason and is given to the husband instead.”

    Well, debatable in some sense. edit: I edited out the unconditional part.

    Even God’s love is conditional in that it’s available for everyone, but the only ones who get it are those that choose to receive.

    Love — Agape — is the responsibility of authorities. Love flows downstream. God -> Christians, Christ -> Church, Husbands -> Wives, Parents -> Children, Gov’t -> Citizens/Christians

  11. anonymous_ng says:

    His picture is on his twitter. He’s average looking at best, not overly obese, but definitely overweight especially for his age.

    I’ve been thinking about weight for a bit since reading something about trifflypuff whining how people weren’t commenting on her arguments.

    When I look at someone who is overweight, I not only don’t find them attractive physically, I also conclude that they are lacking in self-discipline, and that’s another red flag.

  12. Ichaelmae says:

    I recognise some signs of my former self in this guy. I’m grateful for writers like you DS, who help me to see the light.

  13. @ anonymous_ng

    I too looked up his picture. I too was not surprised.

    When I look at someone who is overweight, I not only don’t find them attractive physically, I also conclude that they are lacking in self-discipline, and that’s another red flag.

    The thing is that it’s not an unreasonable assumption. Most people don’t care.

    However, the problem is that people who are trying to lose weight take the assumption the wrong way and double down on their victim mentality.

  14. SnapperTrx says:

    I don’t understand the idea that we, as Christians, are supposed to become so holy that we become completely separated from the way this world works. Do people really believe that they can become so spiritual that they shun their likes and dislikes? That suddenly the bodies ability to determine between ugliness and beauty, healthy and unhealthy, would be turned off?

    This reeks of Gnosticism to me. The physical has become profane to these people because of their perceived spiritual holiness. They believe that someone can become so attuned to God that they can turn off the part of the brain that says “Wow, she’s hot!” and instead can force their eyes to see the “inner beauty” from a distance. Will they some day attain another level of spirituality that will enable them to consume whatever nasty thing is put on their plate because they can overlook its physical qualities? Will they eventually reach the pinnacle of holiness that will allow them to eschew EVERY pleasure of this world and allow them to live in an alley, naked and starving all because their holiness covers their nakedness, shelters them from the weather and fills their stomachs?

    This is getting out of hand. No wonder our country is in the toilet! If this is what passes for a man of the church now days the American church will surely be overrun by another religion who doesn’t cause their men to become no different than their women!

  15. theasdgamer says:

    I long for the day I can be like my friend Josh, crying like a baby as I watch my bride adorned in the radiance of Christ walking down the aisle to publicly tell people “I choose him above all others. James is mine, and I am his.”

    This is Pedestalization. He gets his self worth from his bride telling the world that he is her first choice. The bride is giving him his worth via her proclamation. She has higher status than this mangina because the giver has higher status than the receiver. Hence, Pedestalization.

    This mangina is so pathetic.

  16. @ theasdgamer

    The ironic part is it’s not *just* pedestalization.

    It’s VAIN pedestalization.

    He has to have a woman verbalize that he is her first choice to everyone.

  17. @ SnapperTrx

    This reeks of Gnosticism to me. The physical has become profane to these people because of their perceived spiritual holiness. They believe that someone can become so attuned to God that they can turn off the part of the brain that says “Wow, she’s hot!” and instead can force their eyes to see the “inner beauty” from a distance. Will they some day attain another level of spirituality that will enable them to consume whatever nasty thing is put on their plate because they can overlook its physical qualities? Will they eventually reach the pinnacle of holiness that will allow them to eschew EVERY pleasure of this world and allow them to live in an alley, naked and starving all because their holiness covers their nakedness, shelters them from the weather and fills their stomachs?

    Yep, it’s a combo of a lot of dualism type things. Gnosticism, asceticism, and so on.

    Jonadab had a great comment on this here:

    https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/a-christian-understanding-of-attraction-and-the-role-it-plays-in-marriage-part-2/#comment-7135

  18. @ Ichaelmae

    Welcome. Yeah, it’s easy to see once it’s pointed out clearly.

    Focus your eyes on Jesus and the Scriptures!

  19. Wizard Prang says:

    My first thought on reading that was “Funny how it’s OK when women say that to men, but when a man tells a woman to lose weight, her head usually explodes.”

    The second thing is that women are far too picky when it comes to appearance; okcupid data showed that men rate women’s appearance fairly (normal distribution curve), while women skew the curve to the left, which means that women think that the average man is ugly. And *they* call *us* shallow. This is as true within the church as without.

    It’s his attitude, however, that is truly repellent to women. He needs to work on that.

  20. theasdgamer says:

    @Deep

    Pedestalization is still worship of the woman. Idolatry. Breaking the Ten Commandments.

    Of course, it also makes him lower status and unattractive to the woman. She wants the Prize–she doesn’t want to be the prize.

    @Wizard

    The second thing is that women are far too picky when it comes to appearance;

    This only happens when a man isn’t actually in front of the women. A man wets panties because of his charm. A charming man doesn’t need looks. If you are relying on your looks, you are shallow. More valuable to women is social acuity…manners, graciousness, wit, charm, being engaging yet frequently aloof…being in demand…when you leave a party, you are always missed.

  21. Ame says:

    DS – thank you. that makes sense. i will ponder this for quite awhile.

    ___

    i think that there are two parts to this that christians, in particular, get crossed. we are to love our enemies, we are to want to draw people to Christ, and we are to know we were all sacrificed for equally on the cross. souls matter. one soul is not more valuable than another in the Kingdom of Christ. should one care more that an attractive person come to Jesus than an unattractive? absolutely not.

    that’s salvation, though. not marriage between two humans.

    i love that God’s standards are such that, truly, no one will ever reach them … meaning we all have room to grow. and yet, He still chooses to love us anyway. no one is ever equal to or better than God. but there are ‘levels’ in God’s creation, there’s an order in God’s creation. and there are checks and balances in His creation.

    within our humanity, within how God, Himself, created us, we have specific needs, roles, likes and dislikes. and that is not only normal and okay, it’s how we are created by the Creator.

    the attitude that i hear in that article is the same i hear from homosexuals and feminists and others …. they not only want you to give them the freedom to make their own choices, they want you to *love* their choice and make it fit some kind of biblical standard of acceptance … and then to agree with their choice as if it’s your own.

    “I’m … homosexual, overweight, feminist, etc … and God loves me, so that means He accepts me and my choices and lifestyle, so you should also love me and accept my choices and lifestyle, too, or you are not godly. However, it is okay for me to not like your choices and lifestyle because they convict me that mine are wrong.”

  22. Looking Glass says:

    If the quote was even roughly accurate, everyone is missing the tell: the Woman was responding to his homosexual cues and suggesting others. Though I doubt the Woman would have actually understood what she was doing.

    It’s easy to forget that “gay-dar” is a verifiable ability that an ovulating Woman has. What is being responded to is the subtle differences in the face due to the Testosterone/Estrogen cycling in the body being negatively effected. (Since we’re in a place we’re allowed to talk about it, the current research points pretty clearly in the direction that most homosexuality is more likely viral load on the Endocrine system, influenced by congenial factors, rendering the immune system surprised and the body very frail. And that’s before the effects of the lifestyle bring about intentional suppression of sex hormones. It’s actually a fascinating subject that you’re pretty much not allowed to talk about.)


    Those are pictures posted from his own Twitter feed.

    Now, since everyone tends to not understand homosexuality properly, I’m not saying he is a practicing homosexual. I’m saying his body is in such a situation that he’s significantly more likely to fall to that temptation. (There’s a massive difference between the two points.) But it explains much of the reason he’s prone to come off so insanely effeminate, thus how cringe worthy the piece he submitted to Boundless sounds is to be expected. It would also explain the problems losing weight, self-control and generally why he writes like a Woman in the piece.

  23. anonymous_ng says:

    ^^^

    Good grief, they both need to get a better tailor.

  24. donalgraeme says:

    When I look at someone who is overweight, I not only don’t find them attractive physically, I also conclude that they are lacking in self-discipline, and that’s another red flag.

    Same. For 99% of the population it is a sign of the sins of sloth and/or gluttony in action.

    At the same time, I might be willing to give a woman (who would be otherwise off my list) a chance who was willing and actually trying to use some discipline to lose weight.

  25. J says:

    When I first read the Boundless article, I thought it was a joke. Seemed like he had taken something an overweight woman had written and adjusted the pronouns and a few details — not to get sympathy for heavy men, but to shame men for treating overweight women this way. Anyone else read it that way at first?

    Only after I got to the end and started reading the comments did I realize that he was being serious. Wow…they truly are (as another blogger once said) “boundless in their foolishness”.

    After reading that, I have to go lift some weights…

  26. J says:

    DS: Ladies and gentlemen: this is your next generation of pastors.

    That scary thought is yet another reason why understanding what it means to be men and women is not just a peripheral issue. I can only imagine the damage that such a man, even if well-intentioned, could cause from the pulpit.

  27. Minesweeper says:

    @Deti,DS

    ““James you sure do have a handsome face, and from what I’ve been told you’re a godly young man,” said a woman I hardly knew, “but honey you should seriously workout more because you’ll never attract a woman looking like that.”

    I don’t believe for one minute that a woman actually said that to him”

    You dont think a woman can say this because you’ve missed the preceding 20 mins of him blubbering like a girl that no-one will love him to a complete stranger that he met at the wedding.for the 1st time 30 mins ago. She was giving him the wise up speak. What does Dalrock call that again ? The wake up call.

    She had reached the end of the line with his whining crap and that my friends is how you stop a conversation ! I’ve never met a fatty who didnt have some deep emotional problems or health problems – hence the fat due to stuffing themselves to not feel anything. NAFALT of course. She should have told him to put down the cake and pick up the whiskey and call adsgamer to show him the ropes at the local dancing hall.

    He just wants to be indulged in his pain reduction treatment plan and loved out of it “if only she loved me i wouldnt have to eat all this cake”

  28. Jonadab-the-Rechabite says:

    @DS

    Wives are NOT commanded to love their husbands unconditionally — they are told to submit to their husbands (Eph 5, Col 3, Tit 2, 1 Pet 3), to respect them (Eph 5, 1 Pet 3), to love them as a friend (philandros not agape — Tit 2), and to cultivate various behaviors and qualities (Tit 2, 1 Pet 3), even to win unbelieving husbands. Husbands should not expect a wife’s ‘unconditional love,’ but they should expect loyalty and commitment. The yoke of “unconditional love” is not placed on wives for good reason.

    This paragraph is stated is not quite true. While a wife’s primary duty toward her husband is honor and submission she is also commanded to love (agape) him. All Christians are to love (agape) fellow Christians, their neighbor and even their enemies. It is preposterous that the only person on earth a Christian wife is not commanded to love is her husband.

    1 John 3:10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

    Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you

    Luke 10:27 And he answered and said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

  29. @ Jonadab-the-Rechabite

    You’re right.

    I think it would be more accurate to say what ‘love’ looks like depending on position in the relationship looks different.

    The man in the OP is looking for love that a wife receives from her husband.

  30. @DS
    I think it may be more correct to say the husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church and wives are to love husbands as the church loves Christ.

    While the modes of expressing that love are not a perfect correspondence between husband/Christ – wife/church, there is more intersection than contrast in the parallels. Christ loves His Church by protection, provision, teaching, rebuking and sacrifice – While the Church loves by obedience, honor and worship.

  31. Minesweeper says:

    Yep as Jesus said “you will love me if you obey what I command”.

    And I have to say as a man you need the obedience of your subordinates to feel loved by them. When you dont have that you dont feel the love at all even if it is there. Respect\submission is key for a man to feel love.

    I guess God knew after all what he meant. And I think for a woman to feel love she needs an authority over her that will take action to protect her from her own worst actions. Without that, can it really be love if an authority lets you harm yourself and others by your actions ?

    There is a whole realm of psychology that game just touches or imitates, that addresses even more fundamental premises that’s not mentioned explicitly in the bible, as we venture forward in this journey, we will get the reasons for God’s instruction.

    btw as a man God does provide somethings, does he provide everything ? heck if he did we wouldnt have to work our flamin arses off for entire lives. So this whole thing about men providing all for their families and for every request is nothing more than BS.

  32. Minesweeper says:

    Men need respect then love, women love, then respect.

  33. Pingback: The Different Ways Husbands and Wives are to Love Each Other – BlendingAme

  34. jonakc1 says:

    notice how he longs to be the one looking after the kids and making lime pie for them….

    fatherhood is now motherhood…

  35. Pingback: Christian marriage components | Christianity and masculinity

  36. Pingback: Make it happen | Christianity and masculinity

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