The Cantankerous Critic: “Your Body is A Temple! So Why Not Build a Temple to Your Body?

By Scott Keith

Strasbourg-Cathedral-06a

I have had the distinct privilege to have done some traveling in Europe. The first time was with Pastor Koch way back in 1997. We, along with several other friends, went to study evangelism and apologetics in Strasbourg, France. It was amazing. One of the best parts was sitting in the Cathedral Square at the foot of the great Strasbourg Cathedral, one of the most incredible monuments built to honor the glory and magnificence of God that I have ever seen. The effort it must have taken, hundreds if not thousands of men, to build such a wonder is astonishing and truly inspiring. When a cathedral was built, entire lives and careers were dedicated to the task of erecting something that would bring glory, honor, and praise to God through human craftsmanship

In America, we have a few cathedrals (of a kind), but on the whole we are cathedral deprived. For the Southern Californians in the crowd, the Crystal Cathedral does not actually count as a cathedral. But, there is good news for those of us who live in sunny So Cal., I found some awesome cathedrals. They are called LA Fitness.

La Fit

It seems that the folks who run these operations take the first part of 1 Corinthians 6:19 very seriously. In case you need a refresher, that is the passage in which the Apostle Paul says: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit…” Well, as you crossfit-4can see, apparently based on this exhortation from the Apostle, the operators of these enormous workout facilities have decided to build cathedrals to our bodies. To anyone’s standard, I would hope this is a bit over the top. Don’t get me wrong, I am not opposed to working out in order to stay healthy. In fact, I’ve been known to take my workout regime very seriously at times (though I’m not as crazy as those CrossFit zealots). But, could our narcissistic society be anymore self-serving than to build something as opulent as these cathedrals to the human body? As the Emperor’s Chair pointed out last week, the signs of the demise of the lost culture war are everywhere. This is not as serious an issue as the lost ground on sexual immorality and abortion rights verses the right to life, but it is nonetheless a hallmark of what I spoke about several weeks prior. Hedonistic narcism is the norm, not the exception, and for those of us who in some way shape or form wish to keep fighting this culture war (hopeless or not) we need to have a critical eye open in order to see the signs of the battle everywhere and that it truly exists around us. This is one of those signs.

To the proprietors of these monuments to the body, I would say that though you have apparently read 1 Corinthians 6:19, you need to be reminded of the remainder of the passage in context, along with verse 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.” We do honor God with our bodies when we attempt to do what is right by them as His good creation. We do not honor God when we make our bodies the thing that is to be worshipped. We are the creations, not the creator! If we make a god of our bodies, how will we ever rely on the one true God to save us? Remember, you were bought with the blood of the Lamb, body and all, so honor the Lord your God with that body, not the other way around.

hole-deep

6 thoughts on “The Cantankerous Critic: “Your Body is A Temple! So Why Not Build a Temple to Your Body?

  1. I wish I could remember the name (or author) of the short story (or essay) that I read in school that this essay brought to mind (in part).
    It was written from the viewpoint of an anthropologist who found a strange civilization that practiced self-worship every morning. There was a special basin placed in front of a polished glass that had various cleansing and grooming tools surrounding it. Great amounts of time were spent in this room, and evidence was found that the same rituals may have taken place in the evening. At the end of the essay, the author reveals that his study took place in modern day America.

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  2. That’s cool! I read some excerpts from the “Look Inside” option on Amazon. After seeing this, it seems the teacher may have taken parts of the book and written them out in essay form with less telling language. The point of the exercise was that it’s difficult to view your own culture in unbiased terms. We didn’t know it was about America until the reading was over.

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  3. “God created us in His image after the fall man creates false gods after his own image” I heard this a few weeks back and it’s stuck with me. Sorry I can’t remember who said it.

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  4. My wife used to work with a gal who loved “In-and-Out” hamburgers, and yet she was also into her body. So when she went to go eat one of these burgers for lunch she “knew” that she had to work out for at least two hours later that day in order to “work off” the burger. I resonate completely with your comments. I have said similar things to people over the years that being concerned with body image to the degree that you speak about is idolatry.

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