Imago Feminae: Image of Woman


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Madge's Voice

Christianity has been hard pressed to help me understand my physiology and metabolism. I am obese and my desire for food (appetite) is more a source for feeling guilty than healthy. My relationship with food is idolatrous and prevents me from genuine human relationship. The fat on my frame is a barrier between me and other (potential) members of "Christ's body." In ministry this affects my ability to perceive myself as a "good" or "good enough" evangelist of he Gospel of Jesus Christ. My self-critique is joined by a chorus of other Christians who would say, and have in effect said, that my size is an indication of something being "wrong" with me spiritually. My presence in the pulpit doesn't get lent authority by my size or stature, as might be the case with some men, but is rather considered "a distraction." So my struggle has been in understanding my "self" as good because I am created in the image of God, with cultural messages that would undo that notion, if they bother to acknowledge me as human at all, given my weight. Sometimes John's Scripture about abundant life helps me to love my abundant self. Other times those words are far from my consciousness and I just feel bound to sin by virtue of my eating habits. "Diet Scriptures" like "sealing my mouth" and Paul's athlete imagery seem only temporary fixes to what is really a stewardship issue. The churches I've regularly attended did not regularly concern themselves with preventive, educated efforts at whole physical/spiritual/intellectual wellness. Instead, attention was given to the sick. This seems typical.

Madge, 30 years old