Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Book Review

Every Body Matters
by Gary Thomas
Zondervan 2011

Reviewed by Diane Busch

I Corinthians 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

Author Gary Thomas may be best known for his book “Sacred Marriage”, but in his newest book he broaches a subject that many in the church are afraid to touch:  the fact that we need to take care of our bodies by eating healthy and exercising so that we will be in our best shape to serve God and do kingdom work.  He has honest discussions about the words “gluttony” and “sloth” used in the Bible, saying that these two things make us less useful and less prepared to do any good work. He talks about his own struggles and the changes he has made, as well as using many examples from other peoples’ lives to give inspiration and encouragement to the reader.

In Every Body Matters, Thomas offers superior motivation for Christians to “recognize we might have grown a bit soft—in our bodies and in our souls and that there may even be a connection between the two.  The lack of physical discipline can undercut and even erode spiritual growth. We want to get in good physical shape so we can become, as Paul writes, ‘instruments for special purposes, made holy useful to the Master and prepared for any good work.’  We are vessels set apart to serve God.”  Thomas says, “Christians who don’t take their health seriously don’t take their mission seriously.  God gave us souls--and bodies to go with them.  To be fully alive, fully human, fully the people God created us to be, we have to care for our bodies, discipline them, and make them our servants in our service to God.”

“Being silent about eating too much because we don’t want to sound judgmental, or refusing to address laziness because it can sound elitist or we think it’s none of our business, is to allow and even encourage fellow church members to live lives in which there is no inspiration to be made holy, useful to the Master, and prepared to do any good work.  Let’s create a new kind of environmental influence—one that demonstrates how we treat our bodies as a form of Christian stewardship, a vehicle for evangelism, and preparation for the good work that God has planned for us to do.  The spiritual disciplines are the place to start, but their effectiveness is magnified when joined with physical discipline.

For some of us this may be the kick in the seat of the pants that we need. Thomas gives tips for making changes and setting goals.  This book would be appropriate for any age or maturity of Christian reader from teenagers on up.  Included in the back of the book are questions for discussion and reflection for each chapter.

This book was provided by Zondervan free of charge for the purpose of review.

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