The top 10 or 20 bestselling books at Amazon.com vary slightly from hour to hour, day to day, but one thing remains pretty constant: There are always several books on spirituality, often with Protestant evangelical leanings; and there are always books on diet, promising either dramatic weight loss or astounding well-being through some “revolutionary” plan.
Even within the category of “Religion and Spirituality,” some of the most popular books focus on diet and bodily health, and when they don’t, they focus on happiness via the most direct route. They’re all about “how to be successful and happy,” “how to make miracles happen,” and “how to know that there really is a heaven, and that you’re going there.”
Having been a skeptic for as long as I can remember, I’ve never had much patience with those books. If books (and checkout-stand magazines, for that matter) really held the secrets for people to “get skinny by this weekend” or “beat cancer with these super-foods,” why did people from my church choose gastric bypass surgery, and why did my father (a pastor) perform so many funerals for the non-survivors of cancer? And if miracles could happen, and people could find success, happiness, and assurance of a place in a heaven that’s “for real,” why, throughout the course of my pious Bible-reading upbringing, did I never seem to find anything in the Bible that sounded remotely like that?
Megachurch pastor Rick Warren has become an outsized evangelical superstar: best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Life series, pastoral mentor and even political referee.
Now Warren is finding a new purpose: tackling his outsized waistline.
Warren, 58, says the revelation came about a year ago, during a marathon baptism session of about 800 people at Saddleback Church.
As he struggled to submerge members of his flock in the baptismal pool one by one, he realized his parishioners were heavy and that he, too, was fat, setting a terrible example.
Warren says his gradual weight gain — about two to three pounds a year — has added up over his 30 years as a pastor. To lose the extra pounds and inspire others to do the same, the former football player enlisted the help of three doctors.