Last week I got a call from Bob Smietana, the religion reporter at the Tennessean. It seems like Bob is always calling looking for some sort of response on the latest study or some political happening, so I wasn’t surprised to hear that he was looking for comments on a recent study out of Duke on the unhealthiness of clergy folk. I hadn’t read the study, but replied that I wasn’t very surprised, talking about how the pressures of schedule lead to bad eating habits, and a general aversion to exercise. Along the way I made an off hand remark that my running from place to place often leads me to too many McDonald’s drive-through runs. I didn’t think much about it . . . I was just talking to Bob . . . until the story came out the next day and I find myself as the poster child for clergy unhealth.
There’s a couple of warnings to the rest of us in this piece. First, don’t make off hand comments to reporters. (Of course, it’s easy to be wise when you’re not the one taking the phone call). Second, don’t underestimate the speed at which strangers will rush to judgment. Many of the comments at the Tennessean are somewhat less than helpful.
Of course, it is easy to be judgmental about the ‘weight issues’ of others. I’ve done it myself. So I’m grateful to Jay for the reminder that what we all need is “a supportive community who is willing to walk beside me, who doesn’t judge but rather encourages, who is willing to not only share words but is willing to give the time to walk with me”.
A vision of what the church could be?