Gwen Shamblin & Me
A few days ago, Slarti pointed out that some of my diet tips were straight out of the Weigh Down Workshop. I feel bad about that, because I didn't mean to lead anyone astray. I've been thinking about it for several days now, and need to set the record straight. Now seems like a good time, for reasons that may become clear later.
I first participated in Weigh Down somewhere between 1997 and 1999. (Years bleed together after awhile.) I bought the book and read it and loved the idea behind it. Surely Jesus would love it if I were skinny! While parts of the book seemed a little bit insane, I overlooked the Crazy in favour of the nuggets of weight loss wisdom. One piece of Crazy has stuck with me for years, however. In the book, Shamblin claims that she is so in touch with The Holy Spirit that she needs never to set an alarm clock. Jesus wakes her up whenever she needs to be out of bed. Hallelujah.
That kind of thinking has always bothered me. Yes, Jesus loves us and provides for us, but he also gives us things like electricity and batteries and stores which sell alarm clocks for a purpose. Pray to God but row for shore, brothers.
In the fall of 2000 I began working for a division of Thomas Nelson publishers--the original publishers of the Weigh Down Diet book. They dropped Shamblin as an author when she denied the Trinity. I began to wonder if perhaps Jesus had gotten her up too early on a few days, leading to sleep depravation and a resultant case of mild insanity. But I didn't really care about her one way or another.
Then I began to work with a woman I'll call Noel. This lady is perhaps the sweetest and kindest co-worker I've ever had. She was also overweight. For years she had worked as Gwen's assistant but then was fired in part because she was overweight. Granted I have only the word of Noel and other coworkers for this, but the several times I've called Remnant Fellowship for clarification, calls were not returned. Now, I can understand a diet peddler wanting, unlike Caeser, to surround herself with men and women who are lean. But for Shamblin, ostensibly a Christian who taught that God loves all people fat or thin, to fire a woman because of her weight was a travesty. Surely if she truly cared for Noel as a human being--and if her diet truly worked--Shamblin would have taken Noel under her wing and worked with her as together they pursued thinness through Jesus. But no. Shamblin was more concerned with book sales and the building of her Remnant Fellowship.
I often drive past Remnant when I take a scenic route into Franklin. It's a not-cheap building on a highly-valuable piece of land. I always wonder at this--at churches who purport to do the work of God yet see fit to spend money on earthly treasures. I suppose they expect to pay for part of the church with proceeds from their lawsuit against Rafael Martinez for libel. In addition to suing Martinez, they are also suing an anonymous blogger.
I can't help but wonder if Jesus does have a special hotline to Shamblin. I mean, he's told the rest of Christians to not sue other Christians. Apparently he's told Shamblin that it's okay to proceed otherwise.
I liked her better when she was just telling me to take half my restaurant meal home in a box.