September 18, 2019
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  • 9:12 am The plight of Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan
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The Trench | “What Christians Can Learn From CrossFit” | Episode 15


Hey everybody, welcome to “The Trench”. My name is Christian and today we’re going to talk about what Christians can learn from Crossfit. I’ve been doing Crossfit for a couple of years now and I love it. It is just, I mean it’s just, well, let me show you. It’s awesome, but a lot of times it gets a bad
rap as if Crossfit were the only thing that Crossfitters talked about as if it were some
kind of cult. I can assure you, it is definitely not a cult, but it is more than simply just
a good way to exercise. Like other kinds of physical activity like running or snowboarding,
Crossfit does have a certain culture around it and I believe that the culture of Crossfit
in particulate can teach Christians something about what it means to be a community. One
of the best things about Crossfit is that it attracts a diverse array of people, men
and women from all different races, beliefs, sizes, walks of life, and fitness levels come to Crossfit. It’s not like a trendy health club that only appeals to a particular kind
of person. Some Crossfitters are college athletes, some are grandparents who just want to stay
fit so they can play with their grand kids and others, like me, are just fat dudes who
got tired of sitting on the couch, eating themselves to death. All these diverse folks,
folks who may otherwise never meet each other, come together in the same space because they’re
gathered around the same goal, fitness. This formation of community is not the aim of Crossfit,
as much as it’s the consequence. Community is just what happens when these people gather together around a shared vision, a vision towards which all struggle uniquely, whether
jock or grandparent. What matters is that we do it together. What if Christians were
more like that? What if when we gather as Christ’s Body, we were all united around the
shared goal of God’s Kingdom, like we claim to be at the beginning of every Divine Liturgy?
What if we didn’t just say we were the Church, but we actually acted like it? If when we
assembled as the Church, we were actually oriented toward God’s Kingdom, our Churches
would look a lot different, wouldn’t they? What if we gathered in the name of a Kingdom
with no more division, with no more poverty or hunger, with no more fear, wouldn’t we
see categories like cradle and convert, rich and poor, Greek and Russian begin to disappear.
Instead of bonding over superficial categories like musical interests or ethnic commonalities,
perhaps you would see more bonding around our shared vision of eternal life in Christ,
in God’s coming Kingdom. This is how true community, a sense of “we-ness” emerges, that we are here for the Kingdom, that we are the Church, a community like no other, where all
are welcome, regardless of who they are or what they’ve done. And this means that in
the Church, much like in Crossfit, we must make room for people’s weaknesses and imperfections.
In Crossfit, everyone who goes to class does the same workout of the day or W.O.D. The
path toward fitness has already been laid out for you, you just need to walk, run, kettlebell
swing and power clean your way down it. And while the workout is essentially the same
for everyone, it can be scaled appropriately to match each person’s fitness level, so that
everyone present is working to their best of their ability, whether or not they can
do a hundred pull-ups. People come to Crossfit, not despite being weak but because they’re
weak and because they want to get stronger. And there’s no judgement about their weakness,
there’s only celebration about their desire to get better. But can we in the Church really
say that we’re like this? Of course we say we’re all sinners, but too often it seems
that we expect people to show up as already perfected versions of themselves, or even
worse, we seem to enjoy condemning those who do make mistakes. But what is Christians actually
lived into the truth that we’re a bunch of sinners, each of us fallen but forgiven. We
need to remember that the Church is not a museum of Saints, it is a hospital for sinners.
The Church is not a Crossfit gym full of Rich Fronings, the fittest man on Earth. The Church
is a Crossfit gym full of Christian Gonzales’, chubby hubbies who are tired of having flabby
abies. It is true that as Christians we have a prescribed way of fasting, of living just
as Crossfit has a prescribed workout. But Crossfit also makes room for people to scale the workout so that they don’t give up, but rather that they get stronger. And this is perhaps the most important thing that we can learn from Crossfit, that weakness needs support.
A person who can’t do a pull-up today, may, through some hard work and encouragement,
be able to do one tomorrow. This is why Crossfit doesn’t simply make room for people’s weaknesses,
but also surrounds them with a community of support, as they push themselves to do the
best that they can. Often in Crossfit, it isn’t those who finish first who get the loudest
cheers, it’s those who finish last, being bolstered, supported, carried through by those
who have already finished. In Hebrews 12, we are told that we are surrounded by a great
cloud of witnesses, the Saints who have gone before us in following Christ. But what if
that cloud of witnesses included the people standing next to us in the pews? What if we
Christians were more of a community of support, encouraging others to be their best selves
while also acknowledging their current limitations without judgement? What if didn’t just lose
sheep, but what if we worked hard for their return? Our call, as we turn a little more
fully towards God’s coming Kingdom, is to make the Church a safer place for those of
us, for all of us, who are stumbling on the path toward Christ. As Christians, we are
called to be the light in the dark world, a community that fully accepts people while also lifting them up and calling them to something higher, but this can only be done as we learn to lean on the unconditional love and support that comes from our loving Lord. So join the fight, Live Orthodoxy. Remember to like and subscribe and join the rest of us inside “The Trench”.

Jean Kelley

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Thomas MCCASKEY Posted on March 9, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Great job and great message! Btw You're looking great Christian!

    Reply
  2. Jessica H. Posted on March 10, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    Agree that churches often fall short in this area, and when I feel let down by this, I need to remember to "let it begin with me." I think even the most mundane conversations can either contribute to an atmosphere of humility and self-awareness, or perpetuate a feeling that church is where we go to connect on our strengths rather than our weakness, a place to go to Be Right. This is why part of me gets a mild, sick thrill out of "Aren't Protestants dumb?" conversations, but another part of me dies a little when I participate. I think the damage of talking about anyone with contempt goes a lot deeper than we realize. It's like any other form of gossip – if one person (or category of persons) isn't safe, I'm not either.

    Reply
  3. FriarWade Fahnestock Posted on March 12, 2016 at 1:14 am

    Excellent! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Reply
  4. Elizabeth Michael Posted on March 28, 2016 at 12:45 am

    Your analogy works well. Remembering that each of us is speaking to OUR Father helps us remember that each person in the church is fully a brother or sister.

    Reply
  5. NicholasMyra Posted on March 30, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    How to avoid Rhabdo?

    Reply
  6. 38tripleK Posted on May 26, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    The crossfit prayer;  meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar

    Reply
  7. Nick Games 2000 Posted on July 29, 2019 at 8:52 am

    Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

    Colossians 3:16

    Reply
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