You might wonder how someone like myself, with a background that would make just about any normal person scream “geek” (which I happen to actually take as a compliment) would enjoy so much time at, and put so much effort into, what I do at the gym. I have crazy hours, even people out on the west coast would find my hours on some days of the week a bit rough. I spend a lot of time around computers at school, as a hobby, and as a job. I spend many more hours than the average person would in a week playing video games online with others. I have a custom built PC that I built myself and its specs are far beyond anything you will ever find just sitting around in someone’s living room as a “family” computer. But if you know me, you know that is just one side of me, you know that an even bigger passion for me is knowing and living for Christ, and when it comes to church life and ministry I could almost build myself a separate resume from my IT one. It’s not a secret to me, I don’t deceive myself, I know full well the shortcomings of life in world and the vanity and emptiness of all it’s trappings. I don’t wish for ignorance, and I certainly don’t desire to willingly and knowingly ignore that knowledge and pretend it’s a great place to hang out in. However, I also know full well how things function inside what we call “church”, our culture has managed to take what the Bible intended to be something that we are, and turn it into place that we go to. What was supposed to be the means by which followers of Christ could come together and corporately enjoy his presence and use as a stepping stone to build community with one another, we have turned into a bi-weekly “event”. I know how it goes, and I’ve been a part of that problem myself, I am not just some unknown person looking in from the outside with no knowledge of whats really happening and making some artificial judgement.I love my brothers and sisters in Christ, and there isn’t a single one that I wish any malice or will ill towards, but I do wish some of them would wake up and set aside their “bias” or “preferences” on Church and see what it is according to the Word of God instead of just what their Pastor or some Church leader tells them it is. The church should be the light of the world, and in each and every community that there is a localized branch of the body of Christ we should see the hurt healed, the lost saved, and the God’s glory revealed, I realize that however correct or factual or truthful that might be, it is a tall order for a bunch of humans, I get that, I’m not saying anything to the contrary here, believe me.
Now I’m sure that my desire to “name names” and “point fingers” as some probably see it, may cause some folks to be offended so I apologize in advance if referring to the specific region of GA that I live in reference to this issue/post offends you But, I’ve noticed that especially in the area of GA that I now reside, in the church is where I see the most conflict, the most hurt, and its where I see the most tension. In the gym, though, that’s where I find the most acceptance, outside of my small circles of technology and gaming minded acquaintances its where I feel the most at ease. See the 45 pound weights don’t care how nicely dressed I may or may not be. They don’t care if I am pre, mid, or post trib, and they don’t care if I am a UGA Bulldogs fan or an Alabama fan, When I get on that elliptical and crank up the resistance and work up a good sweat and really get my blood pumping the machine doesn’t care what I do for a living, it has no idea what translation of the bible I prefer or whether I listen to contemporary or traditional Christian/worship music. For that matter , nether does anyone in the gym, I can have a conversation about the weather or a certain exercise, or maybe just encourage someone that I see trying to go for some new personal best in what they are lifting. I might find myself in need of some encouragement and I know that in the gym, we have a sort of loosely connected, unspoken, community. I walk into a church though, and I get invited to a “fish fry” but I’m not a huge fan of fish, and especially not fried food at all, so I politely decline, and automatically the looks start. I show up on a Wednesday night and all anyone wants to talk about is Sunday’s college football game, but I don’t really follow sports and I’d much rather talk about something that revolves around technology or gaming, or even better yet, I’d really love to talk to my brothers and sisters in Christ about God, about the things we are experiencing in our relationship with Jesus, yeah, I’d love a nice long, in depth and intelligent conversation on that topic. I don’t mean I want to sit down with my pastor or some great theologian about how “transubstantiation correspond to the ecclesiastical movement to eschatological events” I mean just normal, conversation about whats going on. It doesn’t mean it has to turn into a prayer meeting followed up with an altar call and some misguided believer getting “saved” again, just normal conversation about what should be the single most important thing in our lives as believers that well share in common.
This is why sometimes I prefer the gym over going to church, I can still pray, read my bible, listen to worship music and hear from God without setting one foot inside the door of a church building…I sure do miss that sense of community though, it’s true that in the gym there is almost a something that slightly resembles community but its not eve close to a cheap imitation of what I should be able to have with my brothers and sisters in Christ….then again, I’m there, I’m in the gym, who say’s I’m the only follower of Christ that enjoys some heavy lifting ?