“I hate the health message” is what I told this presenter.
I know that’s a weird thing for a pastor to say. For our church, the health message is such an important part of it. We give out books. In seminars we have health nuggets. No other church has this many vegetarians. So why would I say that “I hate the health message”?
Ever since I was a kid growing up in the church I would sit through these health lectures that would guilt you into being “healthy”. I would hear people read books or show slides that would continuously cut down your diet. Too often the presentations were about ‘Don’ts’.
Don’t eat this.
Don’t drink that.
Don’t eat this with that, while drinking those.
Someone desiring to do what was right, I would frustratingly follow these things. But with each presentation that I heard I felt more and more restricted. It got to the point where any product that had sugar I didn’t eat. Do you know how much products when you read the ingredients has sugar? It even got to the point where I stopped using soap because some presentation talked about one bad ingredient that wasn’t kosher. Same thing with toothpaste and I had to stop using toothpaste until I found a kosher one. I felt like I couldn’t do anything. Then in one of these presentations, someone said something about some “bad water” and I LOST IT. I was done. I couldn’t keep restricting my lifestyle like this, and now they are talking about certain waters I can’t drink. I threw my hands in the air and gave up on listening to people and their “health” presentations. I needed to get to the bottom of these issues. So water, soap, and sugar… I studied all those things vigorously while I was in high-school. I even called companies and realized that the issues with these bad ingredients were not present today which would have made them non-kosher. I was so relieved after doing the research that I could relax.
I decided from that day forward to not take people’s word for it. I don’t even think the people who did these presentations actually followed these rules that they made me feel like I had to keep.
So I hated these health presentations. They were so doom and gloom. They were legalistic. The people who did these presentations didn’t even look all that healthy.
Fast forward years later. I am no longer in high-school. I am graduated from college. And I start doing raw-vegan diets. Not cooking my food for 3 months with no break or cheat days. Then for 6 months, no cheat days or breaks. Now, this year I am working on completing 300 days of no cooked food spread throughout the year. I have been working out and got into the shape I long wanted.
What was the change?
I still hated the health message. Meaning, I couldn’t stand these legalistic health presentations.
I didn’t want them in the churches I was pastoring. I get skeptical whenever someone wants to come and do a presentation in my church. I am not fan. There is too much of a tendency for legalism in our church, and these presentations plays into that mindset too easily. I lived it.
So while on a raw-vegan diet, working out consistently throughout the week. I went to one of these health lectures at someone else’s church. I spoke to the presenter afterwards. He tried to invite himself to my church and I told him, “I hate the health message.”
His face distorted in shock to hear that from a pastor.
Then I continued. “I hate the health message, but I love living it.”
His face got confused.
“Let me explain. I can’t stand when people talk about the health message, because most times they are legalistic. However I love living the health message, not because I think it’s going to save me or make me a better Christian, but because I like being healthy. I have seen more people work on their health by living a healthy lifestyle and sharing my experience with them, than people sitting through a health lecture. A lot of people who sit through a health lecture are turned off by these presentations. Meanwhile I see people getting excited about raw-vegan (much stricter than being a vegetarian) because of seeing me live it.”
The presenter understood and agreed. I assured him his presentation wasn’t a bad one, which I was pleasantly surprised. I ultimately didn’t book him present, because of pricing issues.
So I still don’t like hearing most health message presentations, but I enjoy living a healthy lifestyle and allowing that to be the message I give people.
So when my buddy, Jeffrey, told me he wanted to start a health podcast and he wanted me to partner up with him, I was down. This was an opportunity to present the health message in a different way. Not legalistic, but holistic. For the last several months we have been working pretty much each week preparing this podcast.
It’s called AdventFit. We want to change the mentality of what it means to be fit as a Christian.
We plan to launch this podcast in Spring 2021 and make it free to the public. You can sign-up to join the email list today and we will message you when the podcast airs. Just go to our website AdventFit.org
Thank you in advance for your support.