For us, this was indulgence, meant for a rare celebration. If your traditional faith community is a place of great human flourishing, if you increasingly love God and people more, I celebrate it. We are all just taking various roads to the same home. Wherever you ask them, you will not regret letting your inside spiritual questions and, ultimately, their conclusions live on the outside of your life. Especially if your tension points involve theological issues that oppress others. When you are ninety-five years old on your death bed (I am very optimistic about your life span), you will be so proud of any hard spiritual work you engaged in to roll out freedom for more people, even if that means yourself. Have the right backs. I am convinced that maturing faith doesn't get smaller and tighter but wider and freer. As our psychological development moves from a tightly controlled childhood environment with rules and restrictions toward an adulthood governed by discernment and understanding, so goes our spiritual development. In whatever faith community we've chosen, our questions should evolve. We no longer ask: What are the rules? I'm a fair example of this. If people want to get my dating advice, they can pay $500 an hour on Skype, or more face to face. But if those people played a bit smarter, they could get me for a lot less. For instance sometimes I post on Facearticle that I'll be bringing my seminar to a particular city, but how often do I get pinged back offers like the following? Let me drag you out for a fancy dinner/lunch. I'll show you round the superlative nightspots. There's this cool conference room I know you can article for your event. Let me come pick you up at the airport. I've got a spare room at mine if you're looking for somewhere to stay.

The answer to that is, truly rarely. In Mississippi, though, those foods are a way of life. Given the way our country eats, it's no wonder that 50 percent of Americans have diabetes or pre-diabetes by age sixty-five. I'm certainly not fat-shaming here although I don't quite understand the made-up term. This trend toward fat acceptance couldn't be more detrimental to our society. Think about it: the implication of obesity acceptance is that we're okay risking our lives with weight-related illnesses. Are we no better than that? Obesity and its related illnesses cost Americans approximately $150 billion every year. To put that in perspective, that's twice as much as we spend on Veterans Benefits and roughly over four times what we spend on foreign aid. 1 Individually, an obese person's medical costs are $1,429 higher than a person with normal weight. That's a lot of money for just being overweight. What is the line? Who is in and who is out? Who is right and who is wrong? What do we do with dissenters? What is allowed? How do we maintain what is? Wonderfully, we begin to ask instead: Where is the life? What does a flourishing faith system look like? What feels and sounds and looks like actual good news?

Where is there more joy and less fear? So seldom that even with 25,000 people on my Facearticle accounts, I can still count on five fingers, the times in ten years that I've been offered a high-energy, pleasing, barter-type solution. People are often striding up to me, already halfway through the words, help with my dating problem, wanting something from me almost before they meet me. Those five guys offered me something first : and naturally, what rarely happens gets a big reward. And believe me, each of those guys got their value back tenfold -- the law of reciprocity is that potent. How strange it is that guys will readily pay for Skype calls or short consultations, but will not use their creativity to launch a counter-offer at me. For if a guy offers me something excellent, that at the same time costs him virtually nothing, then of course he can follow up, And do you mind if I ask your advice on something? and I'll say, No, ask away! After that bond, who knows? He might become a major hang-out mate, one of my fast friends, and then I'll be helping for free and probing all his love problems in the future. In just this way, when it comes to getting in with people, it's very easy to connect with the next social level up. In other words, people are missing opportunities to work and enjoy life not because they have the flu, but because they are overweight. Not everyone needs to be a fashion model. We don't have to strive for perfection. We just need to tip the scale slightly in our favor, literally and figuratively speaking. In fact, as little as a 5 to 10 percent reduction in weight will result in a significant improvement in medical risks for most people. Slow and steady lifestyle modifications can easily be our answer to fighting disease if we are willing to commit our country to self-restraint. Our fatness as a nation not only translates into higher taxes, but it's undercutting our military recruiting and threatening our ability to deploy healthy troops. The Pentagon pays roughly $1 billion a year in health care costs for obese military personnel and their families, the cost of which is nearly enough to fund the entire VA health system. Thanks to our reality TV stars, we're inundated with fad weight-loss diets--low-carb this, keto that, paleo whatever.

Each claim to be the best way to get rid of unwanted body fat with minimal or no sacrifice of good-tasting food. What is kind? What is generous? What feels like Jesus? Where are people coming back to life, coming back to God? This is good work, sisters. I honor your commitment to the better questions. May you courageously ask them, diligently seek the answers, then help build the church we want to pass on to our children. A flourishing world awaits. It is my great fortune to have five children, because it is their mission in life to help me know things. Where would I be if my nondrivers weren't giving me driving instructions from the back seat? If your business is $500k a year, you can easily meet the guys who make 5 million. 5 million can meet 50 million and so on. It doesn't mean you can spontaneously connect with Elon Musk or Warren Buffet, but people one level up will always be accessible with the right gambit from you - a self-respecting, giving approach, not a taking one. So take conscious stock of all the special access, skills, knowledge and connections that you have, for then you'll always use these fluently to barter. Just consider, as you get to know more and more people, how many more advantages, abilities and positive resources you will gain to barter to reinforce your position socially. Got a friend who loves - even lives -- to gossip about other people? So maybe you just listen. Or maybe you join in? Chances are that in either case, when some episode flares up in your own life - usually a negative event -- you'll bite your lip and wonder what this friend is now saying about you .

Have they turned your dilemma into just the latest piece of steaming gossip in your crowd? Oh, and did they mention that their diet will take no effort on your part? These diets obviously sound good to those struggling with rising poundage, but they are in fact too good to be true. Unfortunately, even if you lose a couple of quick pounds on a fad diet, it's rarely sustainable. Most of the time, dieters return to their old habits and regain their lost weight, if not more. Can't we rid ourselves of the mentality that there's an easy fix for everything? Rome wasn't built in a day, and we can't repair our health system, inflated costs, and our individual health in a single day (or with a single legislation), either. There are no magic pills, diets, or government programs that will give the quick fix we are all seeking--we must work for it. This is what America was built on: we work for success. If you work hard, you get rewarded. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 80 percent of Americans don't eat according to the CDC's recommended diet. I guess off in a ditch or blowing through every stop sign in the greater Austin area. They deeply understand vehicular management, and, lucky for me, they are here to help. Furthermore, they have sage advice on how to discipline their siblings, which is useful, because I'm just a silly lady out of my depth in serious need of parenting suggestions from fourteen-year-olds. I also deeply appreciate their financial planning guidance, because, as it turns out, they have well-reasoned ideas on how we should spend our money. What's that? This $45,000 car is a sound investment for a junior in high school because it retains its value? Thank you for helping me understand the marketplace. Now I know an important thing. Additionally, my children educate Brandon and me on the lifestyles of their peers, because evidently we are way beyond the pale and they believe we should know.