The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Called to be fit

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19).

One day it hit me: This verse has a very practical side. In addition to all else that Paul is saying, I was thunderstruck by the idea that I am called to be physically fit. I, who have access to clean water, to healthy food grown with few or no chemicals, to meat that is raised and slaughtered humanely, to good medical care and no physical reason to not exercise regularly.

When I make choices that are not in the category of “good stewardship” of my body, what is my witness? Many small, bad choices over a number of years left me, at middle age, a bit overweight and with resulting joint problems.

I’m well aware of the conditions many of my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world live in: walking miles to access water that often isn’t clean; starving because of ineffective distribution practices by their government; seeing their children die from preventable or treatable diseases; living with mental and physical disabilities because of lack of sanitation or adequate nutrition; existing on “junk” food because they can’t afford or don’t have access to better options.

The question that day became for me: What was my physical health and appearance saying about what I believed to be the good news of Jesus Christ? Francis of Assisi said: “Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary, use words.”

This is a most personal issue. We dare not access others’ faith commitments based on how they look or what they eat. But if becoming physically fit for all the health reasons we hear so much about isn’t enough motivation, how about doing it from a sense of humble gratitude for our bodies—the temple we each have from God? We’re called to be fit so we, who “are not our own,” can be fit to serve one another, especially the poor.

This week's front page features:

Celebrity babies: Abby & Belle. Carlsen twins connect a congregation and community with the country. (Photo at right.)

Of life and death: Vietnam chaplain shares memories.

Feeding the hungry: Youth raise awareness of hunger issues.

And the envelope goes to…: The Lutheran picks 13 winners in church Web site contest.

Also: Growing into faithfulness.

Also: Report from the Reformed Church in America meeting.

Also: Choice of words matters in exchanges.

Read these articles at our front page > > >

Discuss congregational Web sites:

Today we kick off a two-week discussion about congregational Web sites, their development, content and design.

Dave VanderKloot (right) of Web development firm 1530 Design will lead the discussion today through August 1. He's the Web manager for Hope Lutheran Church, Hollywood, Calif., one of the overall winners in The Lutheran's Web site contest.

Consider reading "And the envelope goes to ..." before joining in.

Join the discussion > > >

This week on our blog:

Andrea Pohlmann (right) blogs about the bombing of the homes of three staff members of the Contact and Resource Center in Beirut, which she visited on a 1995 trip to Lebanon.

Amber Leberman, a night-owl, writes about the joy of waking up early.

Sonia Solomonson writes about the gift of sabbath time and recommends some books on the topic.

Check out our blog (and leave a comment) > > >

Are you in the call process?

If you’re a pastor seeking a call or a congregation looking for a pastor, be sure to check out The Lutheran’s expanded classifieds section.

Even if you read the print version of The Lutheran, note that some opportunities are posted only in our Web classifieds.

If your congregation is looking for a pastor, it may post an ad in The Lutheran’s Web classifieds for $150 per month. (Congregations should check with their synod office about how to handle replies.)

Also, The Lutheran now offers congregations and individuals the opportunity to post announcements about anniversaries, church anniversaries, birthdays, deaths and reunions. Web prices start as low as $75 per month. (Visit www.thelutheran.org/classifieds or e-mail advertising@thelutheran.org to learn more.)

Check out our online classifieds > > >

Tell us! Reversing greed.

How does your family stay grounded in this crazy consumer culture?

For our November cover story, we’d like to know how you reverse greed in your home, especially if you have children or grandchildren.

Send your idea (100-200 words), with your name, congregation, city and state, to Elizabeth Hunter or The Lutheran, 8765 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago, IL 60631, by Aug. 1.

Or respond online > > >

Subscribe to The Lutheran magazine:

Did you know: An individual subscription to The Lutheran magazine is only $15.95 a year and includes a Web Premium membership at no additional cost?

For only $15.95 you'll receive 12 issues of The Lutheran magazine in your mailbox. You'll also receive access to back issues' articles since 1996 and unlimited study guide downloads (regularly $3.50 each) at www.thelutheran.org.

(Congregational subscriptions begin at $7.95 and include Web Standard memberships. Call Augsburg Fortress, Publishers, for details about our congregational plans. 1-800-328-4648.)

Subscribe to The Lutheran > > >

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