Interview with Rhoda Janzen, author of Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?

Rhoda Janzen is the author of Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?, the story of what it means to find joy in love, strength in illness, and – incredibly, surprisingly – faith in a big-hearted-God. I recently had the chance to interview her. Below is our Q&A…

1. Why did you write Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?

After I wrote Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, I was inundated with reader requests to keep writing. People welcome the idea of reframing difficult life experiences with humor and gratitude. And my life has changed so extraordinarily since then! I had much more to share.

2. What does the title mean?

It’s a tongue-in-cheek reference to our collective cultural angst over how others see us.

3. The book talks about finding joy in love. How can someone who has experienced heartbreak or feels jaded find joy in love?

Joy cannot exist where resentment lingers. So the first step is to forgive. And, thank God, forgiveness is a decision rather than an emotion. Even if your ex laid down a snarkstorm of cruelty, you can say out loud every day, “I release and forgive this hurt. Today I choose to set down resentment and to move forward in gratitude.” Sounds new-agey, but it works! Also you have to stop talking about the ex. Your mouth runs the show, see.

4. You also write about having faith in a big-hearted-God. Why do you think God is “big-hearted”?

Because God loves every single one of us, no matter what kind of messes we have created.

5. How can we increase our faith in God when there is so much suffering and unexplainable tragedy in our world today?

By exerting some oomph, some human agency. God can’t drive a parked car! We actually have to get up off our butts for the spiritual journey to begin. For me that meant making decisions about what I would say and not say. I stopped complaining and started practicing gratitude. If we are willing to let ourselves change and be changed, we develop the maturity to reach out to the suffering without being overwhelmed by cynicism.

6. Where can we get a copy of your book?

It comes out October 2 and is available wherever books are sold.

7. Any closing remarks?

Sure. It’s weird that when people begin to talk about faith, they get all deadpan serious. Don’t we trivialize the gift of humor if we limit it to popcorn and stand-up? Humor is a tool to help us deal with challenging situations. So don’t expect a preachy read. When your husband’s stalking a raccoon in the basement with a bow and arrow, all bets are off!