The gym is an interesting place. You can find people trying to change their lives in there by trying to lose weight and stay healthy. These are the people that go into a gym with the out of style workout clothes, who look a little lost. They’re also often really worried that everyone is looking at them because they’re doing the exercise wrong, or just look out of place. But they’re the person that really should be there, and deserve the praise.
You can also find people who really only like looking good. They go everyday wearing the trendiest workout clothing and gear. They look huge, and warm up by lifting my max on bench press, and then lift weights that are essentially fake to me. And I hated working out next to these people as a lanky runner who could barely bench close to his body weight. But I always wondered just what those body builders could do in the real world. They were great at bench pressing, but other than that, I didn’t think they’d really be good at anything athletic. I never really felt like that was an ‘honest’ workout. It just allowed you to look like you were really fit, while only being good a just a few things.
Crossfit, as a workout regimen, has exploded over the last few years. It focuses on constantly challenging people to improve their overall fitness, using a wide range of exercises and skills, all at a fairly high intensity. (Don’t worry if that didn’t make any sense, it’s not really important for the rest of the post). It’s become so popular that is its’ own brand of gym, complete with clothing and gear. The people who do Crossfit (affectionately self-referring to themselves as ‘Crossfitters’) wear that brand like a badge of honor. That brand is proof of our initiation into the craziness that is Crossfit.
American christianity has really fallen into a “gym membership” type of situation. You can find a lot of people who show up on Sunday morning, look really good, and go home, without really ever showing a ‘functional Christianity’. Then you have some people who look out of place, but are the real rock stars of the church, because they’re there to meet Christ, and don’t care how they look. Then there’s a third group I haven’t talked about yet: the people who have a membership, but don’t show up. And the problem is that shouldn’t be allowed.
Somewhere along the way, the church broadened the definition of ‘Christian’ enough to mean just about anything nice. ‘That’s mighty christian of you’ became a popular phrase to describe a kind action. And now, we’re so scared of evangelism and upsetting people that we just keep the definition broad.
Early Christians were describe as fanatics. People looked at them like they were in a cult (to be fair, to worshippers of Greek gods, they were). There wasn’t anyone who would say they were a Christian without putting some skin in the game. When you risk going to jail and execution for going to church, you tend not to fake it.
Today, there are a lot of people who are socially Christian. They’re good at looking, acting, and sounding Christian. But they can’t really do anything practically with their faith. Still others think that because they’re in a “Christian nation”, or because they are members at a church, that they’re truly “Christian”.
And my complaint isn’t really against them. It’s against the church, for allowing this gym membership mindset to settle in.
I knew who the ‘crossfitters’ were when I was working out there. They were the ones who, day in, day out, were there to suffer each miserable rep with me. They weren’t the ones with the trendiest gear. They weren’t the ones who came only when they saw a work out they liked. They came prepared to love the work out, or hate it, depending.
You can’t call yourself a crossfitter without putting the sweat in.
You can’t call yourself a Christian without doing the same.