Archive for July, 2014

For the believer, worship in the formal religious setting is not unlike going to the gym.  In both cases, the building is fit for purpose.  Arriving there, you’re welcomed by expert staff.  The place is filled with an atmosphere of common determination towards achieving a greater good.  One is surrounded by people who want to enhance their quality of life and are prepared to put in some time and effort with which to do so.

There are various routines to be gone through, familiar to regular participants, with or without specialised equipment or tools;  some are benign and enjoyable; many are less so.  Personal trainers are on hand to help those who need incentives to work at the discipline as well as lose the baggage they came in with. There are fees to be paid (gyms expect to be paid; churches, synagogues and mosques are always looking for money).

There are downsides, of course. Worship precludes, as get-fit does not, watching Sky News as you work out. Listening to your own stuff through headphones is no problem in the gym, whilst in church taking phone calls – and making them – on your mobile phone is definitely frowned upon.  And, unlike possible behaviour in gyms, flirting with other participants in worship situations, whilst not unknown, is absolutely forbidden.

But there is at least one major thing in common between the settings.  It’s why you’re there.  In church as in the gym, you are committed to the deal on offer.  Work with us, goes the message, and your life will improve. Failure to turn up regularly loses you points. Stopping is not an option. After a while – some weeks, perhaps – you see how this could be so and you relax into the discipline.  You get fit.

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