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Morality and Fitness

Morality and Fitness

Any time the word "morality" comes up, people get all weird.  I think part of it is because that word is strongly connected with judgment, and part of it is because we have never been told why we're supposed to obey a particular set of rules in the first place (note: you can find the answer to that question here). 

I think a better way to talk about morality is to compare it to fitness. 

Most of the people I have come into contact with in the fitness world are very good natured people.  They are happy for you when you make progress and are willing to talk with you about what’s holding you back if you aren’t. 

By and large, people in the fitness world are very understanding about weaknesses, because we are all extremely aware that we have them.  Perhaps your 400 meter time is slow, or you can’t press much weight overhead because you have shoulder problems, or you have trouble descending into a full-depth squat because you have poor hip mobility.  In the fitness communities I have been a part of, no one shames anyone else because they have problems, for one very simple reason - we all have problems.  

When talking about fitness, most people know that they have both strengths and weaknesses.

Everyone is born with certain strengths and abilities as well as certain weaknesses and deficiencies.  Some people have more of one than the other, but everyone has both.  No one is without strengths just as no one is without weaknesses, and the reason some people find certain fitness environments so welcoming is that those places understand this very, very well. 

People join a group because they want to improve their level of fitness.  It doesn’t matter where you start; it only matters that you want to be somewhere better. 

We should talk about morality like we do fitness. 

The world (not to mention churches) would be a much better place if we stopped shaming people for their faults.  That doesn't mean we need to pretend like certain things are OK when they're not, but how we react needs to change.  Everyone has strengths and everyone has weaknesses; no one is without strengths and no one is without weaknesses.  

Perhaps, we should take a lesson from the fitness world and simply view moral deficiencies as weaknesses that need improving.  Someone who has problems with X shouldn’t have to feel like a terrible person for having problems with X.  It is simply something that needs to be worked on.  

What would it look like if we treated moral problems like fitness problems?  If we could be open about our struggles without fear of being attacked, would we not make more progress?  What if we were part of a community that helped people with their problems instead of shaming them?  What if we wanted help in improving our own problems?  

What if...?

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