Fat theology, like fat studies, is a new way of thinking that is currently being developed. To be more specific, fat theology, as a new form of liberation theology, is concerned with the experiences of fat people who have been oppressed and marginalized because of their fat.
Since fat theology falls under the umbrellas of both liberation theology and fat studies, a definition of each is helpful:
liberation theologies Various 20th [and now 21st]-century theological movements which see the gospel as liberation from all forms of oppression - economic, spiritual, political, and social. The emphasis is on "praxis," or the practical ways in which God's call for the liberation of the oppressed is accomplished. (from: Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, McKim, p. 160)
fat studies Fat Studies is becoming an interdisciplinary, cross-disciplinary field of study that confronts and critiques cultural constraints against notions of "fatness" and "the fat body"; explores fat bodies as they live in, are shaped by, and remake the world; and creates paradigms for the development of fat acceptance or celebration within mass culture. (Body Positive; Fat Studies
As a community of Christians, the church professes to offer the love of Christ to all of God's people. However, it is often the case that the church falls prey to the same prejudices and assumptions of the larger world. Within Christian community there are often well-meaning attempts to "help" fat people achieve a particular size, rather than the more desirable goals of health and general well-being. To that end, and to the extent that Christian tradition has often ignored all bodies due to an unbalanced concern with "spiritual things" or the soul, fat theology lifts up the following ideas into the greater theological discourse:
1. Our bodies are an essential part of who we are as embodied humans living on this planet; they are more than just temples or vessels for an artificially separated spiritual self that does all of the "important" work in our lives. 2. God loves us all in our embodied particularity - short, tall, fat, thin, blonde, brunette, whatever. Fat theology seeks to more overtly embody this love in the actual physical realm, rather than speaking metaphorically and platitudinally. 3. The ethics of fat liberation: how is it that people of different sizes can accept one another and coexist in a generally peaceful manner? 4. Health: part of being embodied is taking care of that embodiment. In Western culture, "taking care of oneself" and "being healthy" are far too often tied to the goal of getting to or maintaining a very specific, often unreasonably low, weight. Fat acceptance/liberation lauds health as a worthy goal, and focuses on health standards that are still measurable and achievable independent of a particular weight goal: 1. blood pressure 2. blood sugar fasting level 3. cholesterol level 4. strength
5. Additionally, on the health matter, the principles of HAES (Health at Every Size) are worthy guidelines in a more sane search for health and well-being.
Fat theology points out the idolatry of a particular standard of beauty while lifting up and celebrating the beauty of the whole creation.