Why can’t we just call a butt a butt?

While channel surfing, I made the mistake of stopping on a show called “Christian fitness.”

I stopped because I was curious.  Just what did Christian fitness look like?  Was it different than secular fitness?

Based on the show, I think I’ve figured out the difference.  Christian fitness requires mediocre production values.   And a random bible verse poorly read between exercises.  And referring to the butt as “the back pocket.”

I’m not kidding.  They talked about lifting the “back pocket” up, toward the ceiling.  Seriously?  The back pocket?

I’m learning to take issues of body image and sexual purity seriously.  But there comes a point with these things that we actually give them power by drawing attention to them.

His use of that goofy terminology certainly didn’t decrease the amount I thought about the human butt.  Based on the fact that you’ve suffered through these several rambling paragraphs, the same goes for you.

There are more significant problems, though.

Are we so afraid of the people in the  world we’re supposed to be testifying to that we can’t go exercise with them?

Is Christ’s power over our souls so weak that if they do things we’re uncomfortable with, we can’t handle it?

Is Christianity nothing more than a ghetto for people who can’t hack doing these things in the secular equivalents?  If we’re doing this for God, shouldn’t everybody involved be better?  That’s not what I saw.  Every aspect of the thing was inferior to almost any secular exercise show you could name.

There are people starving– literally and spiritually.  There is injustice in the world.  Widows and orphans are going uncared for.   Is “Christian Fitness” really where we should be making our stand?


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

3 thoughts on “Why can’t we just call a butt a butt?”

  1. I’ll assume then that you you never heard of “Praisercise”? it was a big thing in the 80’s when there was alot of seperate “Christian” things (Music, video games,and we even had our own anime it was called Superbook!) good point though, the Bible does say that we are “not to conform to the ways of the world” (a scripture that alot of Christians today seem to sadly overlook) but that is a bit extreme having Christian fitness when there is so much more important stuff going on!
    By the way “back pocket” is the single STUPIDEST term for the butt I’ve ever heard! He could have said: bottom, rear end backside etc. etc. and if a HAM can have a butt, why cant we?


  2. Praisercise? Wow. My hats off to all of you who kept your faith through the 80’s. I don’t think I could have done it.
    I know that people often quote that verse around conforming to the ways of the world. My problem with this argument is that often times, when we rationalize that we’re not conforming to the ways of the world, what we’re really doing is just taking the ways of the world, throwing somebody reading a bible verse at some point, and somehow rationalizing that we’re doing God’s work by avoiding the very people who need us most. (I know that you were agreeing that the exercise is too extreme, I’m not really disagreeing with you.)

    It seems to me that an appropriate application of the verse would be to avoid things that are inherently anti-God, destructive, Satanic, or evil. The way things are now, it almost seems like the mentality is, “I know! Let’s start a Godly crack house! We’ll put a verse in each bag of crack we sell, and only do crack with other Christians.”

    Obviously the point is over-the-top, but the principle is this: I think God wants us to be wary of the ways of the world. We’ve perverted this to justify avoiding the people in the world.


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