From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jack LaLanne: Preaching carrots

Jack LaLanne  (circa 1950)
Some say that Jack LaLanne was the world’s greatest fitness expert.  However, they might not have known this if he weren’t also one of the world’s greatest preachers.

What he was preaching wasn’t religion per se.  Or was it?

According to LaLanne’s Los Angeles Times obituary, Jack felt that it most certainly was.  When talking about his fitness crusade with an interviewer from What Is Enlightenment magazine, LaLanne explained:  It is a religion with me…  It’s a way of life.  A religion is a way of life, isn’t it?

WWWS?  (What would Webster say?)

According to Merriam-Webster, one of the main definitions of religion is this:  a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.


And preaching?  Merriam-Webster offers this emphasis within the “preaching” definition: to urge acceptance or abandonment of an idea or course of action.

By these yardsticks, excerpts from LaLanne’s many “sermons” sound downright scriptural in nature.  Slip some into “Proverbs”or “Sutras,” and it might be tough to discern them from the rest of the text.  Some “LaLanneisms” from his website are these:  Make haste slowly.   Do – don’t stew.    Don’t exceed the feed limit.    Anything in life is possible if you make it happen.

Jack himself flirted with religious imagery.  He described his initial change to a healthier lifestyle at age 15 as being “born again” and “like an exorcism, kicking the devil outta me!”  This conversion sounded as if it could have taken place on the road to Damascus.  Never once did LaLanne turn back to his former dietary decadence.  Whatever couch potato was once in him was forever mashed.

When compared to Billy Graham in terms of preaching abilities, LaLanne had this to say:  Billy Graham was for the hereafter.  I’m for the here and now.

Baba Ram Dass couldn’t have said it better.


Copyright January 26, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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