Monthly Archives: February 2009


No, this post is not about my daughter’s favorite candy.  Earlier this week The Fat Pastor had its 2000th visitor.  The Fat Pastor is not crashing anyone’s server at this point, but 2000 is pretty cool.

My busiest day was still the day I emailed all my friends with the link, but February has already become the busiest month.  The Fireproof conversation and the story involving Will Deuel’s struggle with the Board of Ordained Ministry were two spikes – with over 60 hits on those days.

I started Fat Pastor to talk about two main things – the fact that I am fat, and my opinions as a pastor.  In the last month or so more of my postings have been about theology than about fitness.  To tell you the truth, I’ve kind of dropped the ball with my struggle to become the Fit Pastor.

I went about two months strong, then got busy during Christmas.  Then I got sick.  Now I’m in CPE, which means I have to be at a hospital 35 hours a week while I am a full-time pastor.  This has not left me much time to go work out.  I had set a goal to run a 5K race in March.  I’m not sure that is going to happen, and I am pretty disappointed by that.

As of this moment I have 2021 hits.  I’ve been enjoying this, and I hope readers have enjoyed it too.  

Thanks, and God Bless,

Robb McCoy, “The Fat Pastor”

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Fireproof stirs something

My last post, about the movie “Fireproof,” has been one of the most successful posts I have made. By successful I mean a couple of things – my object with this blog is not to convince anyone of anything. I am not trying to tell you how to feel or think or believe. I am simply sharing some insights or thoughts I have about a variety of topics. My goal is to start conversations, or to help people think of things in ways that they hadn’t before.

To me, a successful post is one that: a. a lot of people read, and b. people think about and react to. On an objective level, this can be measured by the number of visits and the number of comments.

My fireproof post was one of the most successful posts on both counts. Now, the term “a lot” is relative. Anytime one of my posts goes over 50 hits, I consider it “a lot.” So far, the Fireproof post has had 63, and has a chance at becoming the most viewed post in this blog. It also has brought forth several comments, including a running dialog. To me, this is fantastic.

It seems clear that this movie has hit a chord with a lot of people. Those that like the movie claim that its message is powerful and has been inspiring to people in the context of their marriage relationship. The message (apparently, I still haven’t seen it) is that God must be in the center of a marriage. I certainly believe in that, and have preached that on more than one occasion.

On the other side is the fact that Kirk Cameron is the star of the movie. Some Christians believe him to be a good representative of all that is wrong with American evangelical conservative Christianity. In this, I mostly agree. I am not completely familiar with his work, but I find the movie “Left Behind,” which thrust him into his current role within some Christian communities, to be dangerous and antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as I understand it.

So, where does this leave us? Should I ignore the movie, or even actively try to dissuade people from seeing it, for fear that it might inadvertently lead them down paths I would certainly want people to avoid? Or should I see the movie and use it as an evangelical tool to guide people in Christian marriage?

As usual, when I am faced with a decision that appears to boil down to options A or B, I choose option 3. I have determined that I am going to see Fireproof. So as not to support the production of it financially, I am going to try to borrow it from a library. After watching it, I will be better able to enter into a conversation with those that have experienced grace from it. But I am probably not going to be putting up movie posters or host a community showing.


Filed under Christianity, Media

Is Fireproof safe?

It seems like I can’t turn around without seeing something about the movie “Fireproof.” I have heard from so many people that, “You just have to see this movie – it is so good.” Before you go out and check your local listings, know that Fireproof is not going to be at the theater anytime soon, and I’m not really sure if it ever was.

From what I can gather from the posters I have seen advertising various showings at local churches, the title has a double meaning. Apparently the main character is a fireman, but the movie is really about how to protect your marriage (thus making it, fireproof). Usually when someone tells me how great this movie is and tells me to rush out to see it with my wife as soon as possible, I just smile and say, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of it.” I try to hide my utter lack of excitement.

The reason for my tepid reaction starts with the male star, Kirk Cameron. I loved him in “Growing Pains,” but I feel like his career has taken a turn for the strange. He has become the face of Evangelical Christian media, resurrecting (excuse the pun) his career with the movie “Left Behind.”

I’m sorry, but I have a strong distrust of anything vaguely attached to anything that is vaguely attached to “Left Behind.” I find the theology of Tim LaHaye so abhorrent that, unless Cameron condemns the books as perverting the Biblical narrative in such a way that is exploitative and dangerous, anything he does is tainted to me.

So, I have avoided “Fireproof.” I have realized though, that I need to see this movie. As a pastor in a church where couple might go and see it on their own, I have to be able to respond in an informed manner. Just hiding my head in the sand will not make this movie go away.

Plus, to avoid it completely is to fall into the classic liberal trap of hypocrisy. I claim to have an open table, and an open mind. I want to be able to learn from differences and not demonize people that simply disagree with me. I want to walk humbly with God, which means that I have to allow that sometimes I might not be fully right, and Tim LaHaye might not be fully wrong.

So instead of calling “Left Behind” the most dangerous theo-babble that has been spewed in the last half century (because it could quite literally lead to nuclear war and environmental devastation); I should instead engage those that claim “Left Behind,” with earnest discussion and try to learn from them.

Our divergent ways to understand and interpret Scripture might leave us with little common ground, but hopefully we can confirm “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; [or liberal or conservative] for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28, bracket added by me).

I should not hide from “Fireproof.” There might very well be some good points to it. I doubt I will agree with all of it, but maybe it will make me think for a moment. Maybe it will remind me, just once, to be kinder to my wife. Maybe it will help me enter into a conversation with someone. Maybe it will open up a relationship that wasn’t there before, and that is reason enough to see it.


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Site of the Week: The Last Page of the Internet

This page is totally pointless, but it made me laugh out loud. It is the last page of the internet, found at (it is funnier if you read it out loud).

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Prayer in schools: No thank you

A state judge recently ruled that an Illinois law mandating a moment of silence in public schools is a violation of the separation of church and state. I applaud the decision.

Prayer is an important part of a spiritual life, and I wish that more children had a regular prayer life. Heck, I wish that I had a more regular prayer life. I do not, however, feel that it is appropriate for a public school to have a time set aside for “prayer and reflection.”

Students should be allowed to pray in school, and unless school has changed a lot since I was there (which it probably has), there are plenty of times when a student can engage a prayer life. Saying a small grace before lunch, saying a prayer of thanksgiving during recess, praying for guidance before a quiz or a test, or getting to school early to pray before class starts, or on the bus ride, or while a teacher hands out worksheets – all of these times are perfect opportunities for anyone to pray.

A mandated moment of silence for prayer and reflection, however, is not. I even believe that a moment of silence is a good thing. Allowing kids to take a few moments to pause, allow their brain to slow down, or even wander periodically during the day is a good thing. Most brain studies have shown that the brain needs rest too. If the law had simply required a “a moment of silence,” that might have been okay, but I’m not sure that is matter of state lawmakers to decide. Every teacher should allow their students moments of silence, with or without a state law.

I have nothing against prayer in school, I have nothing against moments of silence in school. In fact, I am a proponent of both. What I am against is the government mandating either. School teachers are trained to teach academics – math, reading, writing, music, art, physical education. They should not be teaching their spiritual practices or their religious beliefs. Do their religious beliefs inform their teaching? Of course, but I do not want my daughter to be taught how to pray at school.

That is what church is for. Separation of Church and State should be something that all religious people should demand, because I do not want the government telling me how and when I can or should worship and pray. When the government starts mandating religious doctrine, it will inevitably be dumbed-down, watered down civic religion that replaces country with God.

I am all for prayer in school. Students and teacher should be allowed to pray as much or as little as they want, but a school is not a house of prayer.

For those that are outraged because their child has been deprived of a moment of silence, I suggest that instead you take this as an opportunity to pray with your child – today – right when they get home from school, and again before dinner, and again before you go to bed, and again when you wake up in the morning. Pray at home, pray at church, and even teach your child the right times to pray at school. We cannot get enough prayer in our lives, and in our world. Pray without ceasing. Please, do not ask our government to tell us when to pray. It’s just un-American.


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