Monday, November 24, 2008

My husband and I are traveling to Phoenix, Arizona on Wednesday, to spend Thanksgiving with my parents. And since I just lost 1.4 pounds (down to 194.6), I thought I’d take a break from the weight-loss stuff to talk a little bit about my religious beliefs.

Actually, there’s a connection between the two. I don’t remember who said it – perhaps Lewis or Chesterton – but the ideal behind having a Christian society is to “make it easy to be good”. In other words, because we’re all prone to sin as the sparks fly upward (and I know who said THAT!), we should do the best we can to remove “occasions of sin” from our lives.

For example, if you have a serious problem with Internet porn addiction, it might be a good idea to remove your computer from your life altogether – or at the very least, install some porn-blocking software and give the password to someone else. If you have a drug problem, throw out all the pills from your medicine cabinet and insist that others lock theirs up when they come to visit.

And if you have an overeating problem – well, you’ve probably already figured that one out, right? But it’s not enough just to remove all the bad stuff from your life – you have to replace them with GOOD stuff. So if you’re addicted to the sensuality of porn, get re-addicted to the sensuality of the Mass or the Divine Liturgy. If you’re addicted to pills or food, get addicted to the Eucharist – daily, if at all possible. Etc.

Well, that’s also what I’ve been learning from Weight Watchers: not only should you remove all, or as much as you can, of the high-fat, high-calorie junk foods from your house, from your office, from your life – but you should then surround yourself with GOOD things to eat. So when you get the urge for a double mocha java, you have all the ingredients to make a healthier version of the same thing.

Another thing: some people insist they can be good (i.e., sinless) without all the “rules and regs” of an organized religion. Some people also insist they can lose weight without an organized weight-loss program like Weight Watchers. Well, let me know how that all works out for you. I know my weaknesses and my limitations. I need to be surrounded by rules and regulations, like that proverbial fence that G.K. Chesterton wrote about at the end of his little book, “Orthodoxy”. Only when I’m inside the safety of that fence do I feel truly free to spin around and enjoy my freedom.

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