å Read ð Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity (California Studies in Food and Culture, 12) by R. Marie Griffith  Fat People Don T Go To Heaven Screamed A Headline In The Tabloid Globe In November The Story Recounted The Success Of The Weigh Down Workshop, The Nation S Largest Christian Diet Corporation And The Subject Of Extensive Press Coverage From Larry King Live To The New Yorker In The United States Today, Hundreds Of Thousands Of People Are Making Diet A Religious Duty By Enrolling In Christian Diet Programs And Reading Christian Diet Literature Like What Would Jesus Eat And Fit For God Written With Style And Wit, Far Ranging In Its Implications, And Rich With The Stories Of Real People, Born Again Bodies Launches A Provocative Yet Sensitive Investigation Into Christian Fitness And Diet Culture Looking Closely At Both The Religious Roots Of This Movement And Its Present Day Incarnations, R Marie Griffith Vividly Analyzes Christianity S Intricate Role In America S Obsession With The Body, Diet, And Fitness As She Traces The Underpinning Of Modern Day Beauty And Slimness Ideals As Well As The Bigotry Against People Who Are Overweight Griffith Links Seemingly Disparate Groups In American History Including Seventeenth Century New England Puritans, Progressive Era New Thought Adherents, And Late Twentieth Century Evangelical Diet Preachers Mixed feelings This is an extraordinarily interesting book but it s dense, somewhat overwritten, and not easy to read Trivial issues, just be sure to read it when you have a quiet space and time to concentrate.
The bigger problem I have with it is that, while I think assume I wouldn t know otherwise Griffith probably does great when sticking to topics within religious contexts, I am sometimes skeptical of her application of them to secular situations Fitness may not be a religion in the literal or academic senses, but it definitely is for a lot of people in the functional and practical senses, and I m not sure that her insistence on the difference between the two amounts to much than hairsplitting.
While I agree that religious view and practices likely did influence modern body images and fitness practices, I m not sure they were as big an influence as Griffith wants to believe It s difficult to prove whether one built the other or whether they developed in parallel, but I suspect a case could be made either way I guess we all tend to see things through the framework of what is most familiar, and hers is religion Mine is secular history.
She also seems to be, on occasion, either willfully blind to or incredibly naive about the motives of the historical figures about whom she writes It doesn t seem to occur to her that John Humphrey Noyes might have been a good, old fashioned, pervert, or that Mary Baker Eddy might have been a vain, entitled, hypocrite.
A truly excellent study of the complex interaction between Christianity and secular culture, providing a much needed nuance to overly simplistic accounts of the secularised salvation myth ingrained in western thinness culture A challenging read that reminds us as a church of our ongoing complicity in racial and economic hierarchies and injustices, and our fear and oppression of otherness This is a sharply and needfully critical, yet deeply empathetic and well written book, and I would highly recommend it.
Informative and insightful study of the body in Christianity The larger concept of the body, which could seem abstract, is firmly grounded in actual Christian practices I found her chapter on Christian weight loss, as told through devotional dieting, particularly smart and thorough.
We had to read and write a paper on this one for my Christianity class The whole class complained not many people got the point of the book I don t think , It may have been hard to follow for some, but I found it to be very interesing Could it be that in some Christian traditions the fat body is the physical manifestation or representation of sin Yes, according to the author It was an interesting topic and the author gave solid, extremely informative info I love the info on Weigh Down Diets and Father Divine.
This is an outstanding academic history of Christian thinking on the body from the birth of America to present It follows the major currents of thinking in Anglo American Protestant theology, though it veers into doctrinally unorthodox areas that are nonetheless important because of their overall influence on the wider culture For me, the highlights were the sections on fasting and New Thought, which strikes me as an obvious predecessor to Scientology The section on contemporary devotional dieting was morbidly fascinating, and proved helpful for me in a cultural critique portion of my Master s thesis Recommended for theology geeks who can handle academic language.
What do evangelical diets and New Thought air diets have in common A lot, according to Griffith Taking strands from unexpected places, she argues that diverse religious influences helped make the modern ideal of the body and continue to support racialized and gendered power hierarchies Her extensive ethnographic research is supplemented by a great deal of primary source documents Her writing style is clear, interesting, and supremely insightful.
An in depth look at the close relationship between the secular weight loss industry and the American Protestant Evangelist view of the body Oodles of information here with some challenging conclusions Rating 4 stars.
This book shows the relationship American Christianity has with the flesh Focusing on popular elements e.
g diet books rather than theological aspects e.
g fasting , this book argues that Christianity has a culture of perfectionism that manifests itself in pursuits of bodily idealism This book will be useful in my dissertation discussions on the health and wealth gospel as its desire for healing and wellness is part of a long tradition of Christian interest in the physical body.
One of the most entertaining academic books I have ever read.