Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Shaq Attack

There's this new reality show on TV called Shaq's Big Challenge. I thought it would be pretty boring, but it really caught my attention. And I have to say that I really like it. It depicts six teenagers with serious weight problems. Shaquille O'Neal is helping them overcome their weight problems and taking it upon himself to deal with the national issue of childhood obesity throughout the series. It is quite an ambitious plan—aware that these are taped shows and Shaq has been doing this through the basketball season, which is now over.

What is so fascinating about this show is that it reveals some of the underlining issues that each of these kids have; like poor eating and exercise habits, bad self-perceptions, and a lack of vision by their parents. They now have to struggle to reverse these impediments. And what is also interesting is that almost all the kids (and parents) but one didn't take their need for change very seriously. Most played around while some parents coddled them. (I purposely don't mention the problem of public schools who do not make physical education mandatory, because that can't be controlled as much as one's self.)

I wonder if we take our spiritual lives in the same manner as these kids take their own health. We have grown too spiritually flabby in our country. We desire theology that doesn't get in the way of a good time and good friends. We often prefer the easy way to spiritual growth. It may be shallow, but everyone gets along. And myself included. I don't want to suffer. Suffering, denying myself, and doing hard work is no fun most of the time, even if the benefit is maturity, courage, and deeper understanding. Yes, I want to grow. But I want a pill, encouragement, a good book, or a spiritual experience. I don't want the cross.

But that may be what is required.

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