How did I lose 40 pounds of unsightly flab? By leaving The Episcopal church! A bit of over-simplification1, perhaps, but true nonetheless.
This photo, taken tonight, is of me wearing the pants from the suit I wore when I walked out of The Episcopal church for the last time, in the summer of 2007. They fit me back then.
You see, it is hard to be Episcopalian without unconsciously picking up the habits and patterns of living of your fellow Episcopalians.
And one of the main patterns of living of Episcopalians I knew was what might be referred to as the Life of Ease. It is a Country Club mentality. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands2 ... but never late for cake and cookies at Social Hour! You will be hard-pressed to find anything like this lifestyle advocated by any New Testament writer ... but if you join The Episcopal church, and if you stay very long, it begins to rub off on you. Sodomy is not the only "S" sin of TEc; there is Sloth as well.
And, hand in hand with Sloth, Gluttony. I have actually heard Gluttony preached against in the Sunday morning sermon (at one of the better TEc parishes!), followed a few minutes later by an invitation to Social Hour ... where there was a large and pathetically unhealthy cake waiting. Judging by the portion sizes, many parishioners had not listened to the sermon!
And accompanying Sloth and Gluttony is a sort of Hopelessness ... the idea that we are really all victims of evil things ... that the world is winding down, that heresy, evil, and bodyfat advance relentlessly ... and that no effort on our part is able to stop them.
I would say (judging from my weight histogram) that it took me about 5 months from the day I left The Episcopal church until I began to have hope again ... hope for the larger Church Militant, and hope for reforming my own earthly body.
1Well, I did also spend quite a bit of time on the treadmill.
2See Proverbs 6:9-11