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In Praise of Fat Pastors (Sort Of)

One of the greatest men my wife and I had the privilege of being shepherded by used to wear his pants very high on his waist. His belt was practically underlining his chest.

He looked like a dork, and it was distracting when he stood before the congregation. So one of the creative guys at the church “took one for the team” and took him aside one day to recommend he wear his shirts untucked. He did, and the sight was much better.

But what I loved about this pastor is that he had zero idea this was an issue.

I mean, I’m sure he thought he looked fine—he wasn’t unkempt, just uncool—but obviously worrying about his image wasn’t even on his radar.

By contrast, I used to see another area pastor at the local coffee shop in the same town who was pushing 60 and was rockin’—or thought he was—the embroidered jeans, Affliction tees, leather cuffs and frosted bedhead.

Professing to be cool, he became a fool.

In the age of Pastor Fashion and sermons forbidding the eating of pork in service of the gospel of weight loss—I mean, does anything scream “Judaizer” more loudly than preaching the dietary law? except maybe actually preaching circumcision—don’t the pastors who don’t care about their image, their profile, their reputation seem more dignified?

Now, of course this is not to say we should be careless about our bodies and our general health.

I have nothing against Joel Osteen looking good on the surface; I just have a problem with him preaching there. He is perhaps the West’s most successful purveyor of the paltry. I mean, no matter how much abundance he promises, his gospel is actually the puniest one out there.

The love of the superficial will kill the soul, stealing our spiritual oxygen like Ed Young’s spanx.

Man looks at the outward appearance, of course, and that’s whom these guys fear, that’s whose ears these guys are trying to tickle, that’s whom they’re seeking to please.

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Jared C. Wilson is the Director of Content Strategy for Midwestern Seminary, managing editor of For The Church, Director of the Pastoral Training Center at Liberty Baptist Church, and author of numerous books, including Gospel Wakefulness, The Pastor’s Justification, The Prodigal Church, The Imperfect Disciple, and Supernatural Power for Everyday People. A frequent preacher and speaker at churches and conferences, you can visit him online at jaredcwilson.com or follow him on Twitter.