Review of Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas, and Touchy Subjects

Hello, Scribe Fans, Katy Lee here. I am not only a writer, but I am also a speaker. When I stand in front of a crowd it is usually to share the message that everybody matters. And I typically do this through sharing my experience of my daughter’s adoption from six years ago. So, imagine my surprise when Zondervan Publishing sent me Gary Thomas’s latest book to review, titled Every Body Matters. I thought what a great title and dived right in.

However, once I started reading, I realized the author was on a mission. It would seem the goal Gary Thomas had in writing this book was to link a strong spirit with a strong body, and to prove you can’t have one without the other. They say the pen is mightier than the sword, but I had no idea it was more painful too. Thomas does not sugarcoat anything in this book. He sets out to prove Socrates’s idea that all exercise and no study creates only half a man, just as all study and no exercise also creates half a man—a soft, overly sensitive man who isn’t tough enough to address real life.

I’ll be honest, I felt like I was being attacked. And I exercise on a regular basis. (But I do love my sweets!) This book is not for the faint-hearted, and in fact, after doing some research, I found many people raised their eyebrows at Thomas’s proposal to write this book. They knew it had the potential to make a lot of people mad. Especially people who stand up in front of crowds to teach and inspire.

And I was one of those mad people—until I reached a part in the book where he introduces a woman who gained a lot of weight during the pregnancies of her three children. The third one was adopted.

It hit home for me because I was the same way. You’re not supposed to gain weight with adopted children. That is supposed to be a perk for adopting, but it wasn’t for the woman in the book. And it wasn’t for me. So, I had to ask myself, why? Was the reason I gained so much weight after the adoption because of something I didn’t want to address in real life?

Maybe Gary Thomas was on to something after all.

The whole adoption process and the trials of bringing a confused five year old into an already established home upset my spirituality, and then my healthy lifestyle. I was under a lot of stress, experiencing many disappointments when things weren’t going the way I had envisioned. All of this led to my comforting fallback—food. And lots of it. I didn’t care about my physical diet, which led to not caring about my spiritual one as well.

Every Body Matters explores how positively addressing our physical condition can lead to a fortified soul better able to serve and love others. And looking back through the pages, I can see where Gary Thomas did this, even if it was a hard pill to swallow. We can’t strengthen our souls without strengthening our bodies. I get it, but it was a risky thing for him to write. Then again, I guess it’s called a risk for a reason.

As a writer, I wonder if I could take such a risk. Could I be so bold in my writing if there was a chance I would lose my reader’s loyalty?

The Unlocked Secret: I know my writing will not please everyone. It is impossible to do so. But, I suppose, if it is a matter of feeling strongly about something, and I have the facts to back it up, I would have to follow my heart and write it. But, I would be sure to write it with a high level of respect. No one likes to be talked down to or berated.

Question: How would you approach a touchy topic in your writing? Do you worry you might offend someone? Or do you follow your heart?

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7 thoughts on “Review of Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas, and Touchy Subjects”

  1. I don’t think of whether I’ll offend someone when I’m writing. I may think about it after the first draft is done. There is no way to please to everyone. Somewhere, someone might be offended about something you say or write. I think as long as you aren’t rude, there’s not much you can do except “agree to disagree.”

  2. Interesting post Katy. As a health care provider and personal trainer, I’ve learned a lot about motivating people to live balanced, healthy, lifestyles. There is no doubt about the fact that our physical state effects our mental, emotional, and spiritual states as well. We are complex organisms that are constantly struggling to find homeostasis (balance) in all areas of our lives. It is perfectly normal to have an outside stressor effect and disrupt that balance. It is also, in my opinion, counterproductive to feel guilty about it. None of us is without our flaws and shortcomings, and guilt only leads to condemnation and low self-esteem. It does not motivate us positively.

    Sometimes, health gurus who are focused on a mission to help people “see the light” about living that perfectly balanced life, forget that in our humanity we are imperfect by nature, and that we live in a fluctuating state of balance and imbalance. There are no easy answers, but making people feel guilty or inferior because they are not living up to the “ideal”, is not helpful. I consider it my mission to educate my clients about what is healthy and unhealthy and it is up to them to determine what lessons they will adopt and implement into their lives. It is not up to me to beat them over the head and make them live on greens and meditate for an hour daily. To me, my job is to lovingly support them in becoming the best and healthiest people they can be, inside and out. That’s not to say I don’t crack the whip when they need me to. Most of the time, that’s what they pay me for:-)

    As for my writing, one of the reasons I decided to indie publish was so that I could write what I wanted to in a manner that best suited the story, not the publishing industry. I expect that some readers will really enjoy seeing a different style of story writing, but others will see the difference as a negative. I figure the people who like it are the ones I’m writing for.

  3. Hi Katy,
    Thanks for sharing. I never realized the trauma of adoption, who would ever have thought of the difficulties. When we read writing that is offense, don’t you think it provokes thought? Once the upset dissipates, do you think processing sneaks in, and perhaps gives you opportunity? Just wondering?

    1. Oh, definitely…and it did. So I guess it served its purpose, but I still believe what I do, so that didn’t change. I took the advice and let it help me where it could, and the rest, I let go of. 🙂

      I still don’t believe my extra weight is going to make me less of a person or less of a speaker.

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