Thursday, January 17, 2008

Strangers at the Gym

It never fails, every January I go to my gym (the YMCA in Bethlehem) and see “strangers” taking up all the machines and filling the locker rooms. Those of us who go year round on a regular basis do a “wink wink, nudge nudge” among ourselves as we witness the yearly influx of New Year’s resolution-makers and will suffer the crowded conditions until about the first of February when the population drops to normal. They will thin out, they will soon realize that a gym discipline is just that---a discipline, not fun always, the results will not be immediate and you have to be in it for the long haul. Like I resolved to write more on my blog and here it is mid January!
Church is much like that. Anyone that has done anything for the Church knows that it is a spiritual discipline to be part of a faith community and contribute to its life with one’s presence, time, substance and talents. For Church to mean anything it has to move from being a hobby to being a discipline, a way of life that will yield its rewards in time, not usually immediately. Just like you can’t lose that 20 pounds of ugly fat by going to the gym three times in one week and expecting your body to reward you with weight loss in just a week.
I write this as much to "seekers" as to myself. So often when talking to "unchurched" folks (Episcopalians call those who don't go to Church by a far more genteel name than our protestant siblings who would call them "unsaved") I hear about one or two bad experiences that made them give up the discipline some of us call Church. It is understandable, just as it is understandable that someone gives up the gym after working out for a week and losing one pound.

Peace and Joy in the New Year!


At 11:03 PM, Blogger Olivia said...

I worked out for a week ... lost a pound ... and am ecstatic! Progress is almost always slow -- no matter what the goal. I think without faith hanging in there for ANY bit of progress would be a challenge.

Happy New Year to you too!


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