top of page

Fitness in...Faith?

Last year, I heard a senior CrossFit Level 1 trainer tell his story of vocational discovery, which prompts me here to mine.

Joe told us of his early athletic giftedness which led easily into kinesiology as a college major. He trained for his personal training certificate, setting about creating his own small business. He then encountered a conundrum that surprised him. What IS fitness again? He could give detailed schematics on the healthiest movement patterns for the human body. He could advise on nutrition, shaped by the nutrition professionals of the day. He could develop a marketing plan for his business, with catchy phrases and eye-catching images. But he had no holistic definition of fitness. Toward what end would he be training clients, as diverse in age and ability as human beings come? Are marathoners exemplars of fitness? Weight-lifters? Buff men or women at the gym, making a lot of noise? Then he landed into CrossFit, which actually has an articulate, empirical and evolving-with-data definition of fitness.

Sitting there in that training, I felt the aha! in my body as a number of jumbled puzzle pieces dropped into place. It was liberating to hear an expert in the fitness industry fess up that all his training did not prepare him for the integrative work of training for fitness. As a seminary professor, I cannot help but feel the resonance.

What does it mean to be faithfully fit? So many of us (Protestants) have argued fitness is being certain and unflappable in what one believes. Others might suggest fitness is demonstrated in the most rigorous piety or discipline (Holiness communities here). Or demonstrating one’s assured alignment with The Historic Tradition, so to belong within previously accepted norms (Roman Catholic, or Evangelicals). Perhaps it’s speaking in tongues (Pentecostals). Each to his/her/their own? I can tell you that most theological faculty are trained in specialized disciplines AND most would be hard pressed to give a definition of being fit in faith. Each of us encourages deepening in theological disciplines—scripture, theology, history. But knowing more bible, more theology, more history…does that make one faithfully fit? We demur to the Church for such general, integrative knowledge…while the Church demurs back to us, our credentials. No one is willing to risk new life?

How does more knowledge open your heart to trust in new possibilities of Godde? If anything, it makes it harden, close. How does rigorous piety in a highly socialized religious tradition keep your mind and heart open to the wisdom all around you, not defined by you or yours? Oh how we love the 10-step plan to faithfulness, don’t we? How does succumbing to the peer-pressure of dead people, i.e. tradition, birth the new in you?

I’ll offer what I have so far, if anyone is a co-emergent listener wanting to play-with, co-create-with… Fitness in faith is risking doubt and curiosity into Godde’s scripturally-pointed mercies, leading into an expressive delight and unexpected belonging that companions the suffering of self and others.

Whatcha think?

16 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Hess Condensed

A more public feed of brevity

for a prolific process-blogger...

bottom of page