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Thursday, December 13, 2012

God hates strength and beauty?

This post by Bruce Charlton on the evils of weightlifting strikes me as not only perverse, but downright irrelevant in the way that only the True Churchian can manage:
One of the evil signs of the times is the increased prevalence of intensive weight-training. This is part of a narcissistic, self-regarding, self-advertizing and physiologically- and psychologically-deranging package of extreme exercise regimes, extreme diets, and extreme chemical intake (especially androgen and growth hormones, but other drugs as well - continually expanding).
While Charlton points to the drugs as a useful red herring, it is clear that his argument is actually directed against all weightlifting and intentional body improvement.  If he lifted regularly himself, he'd know that the difference between a smoothly sculpted quasi-swimmer's physique and a bulked-up bull's physique is mostly in the amount of weight one lifts, not the time spent in the weight room and/or pool.  It would be interesting to know if he similarly objects to swimming and jogging, which can take up even more time than lifting does.  And while it cannot be denied that vanity plays a part in the pastime, he's missing the personal challenge aspect that is much more important.  It's not vanity that causes the lifter to go for that one more rep when his muscles are burning as if they're on fire and his energy is rapidly dropping to zero, it is the desire to master the weakness of the body.

More importantly, he is spurning the manifold benefits of the discipline involved, discipline that is so obviously lacking in modern society.  It is simply ludicrous that in a post-Christian West, where a ludicrous percentage of the population has lapsed completely into gluttony and sloth, waddling from one sugar distribution point to another like addicts seeking their next fix, Charlton's criticism is focused on one of the only elements of the population successfully resisting this decline into mindless obesity.

Who is giving into the flesh, the man who is ruled by his desires or the man who mercilessly tames them?  Indeed, the routine Charlton describes is more akin to those regarded as the holiest of men throughout most of the Christian era, the ascetics who mortified their flesh.  I am not saying weightlifting is akin to holiness; its purpose is not the glorification of God, after all, but neither is it the "rooted, habitual sin" he claims it to be.

Possibly influenced by the Greek ideal, Paul writes the following in 1 Thessalonians 5:23: "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Chris."   Because weightlifting strengthens and preserves the body, because it strengthens one's ability to tame one's bodily desires and temptations,  it is not only compatible with a Christian life, it is advisable.

Moreover, weightlifting provides more than strength and self-discipline.  I always appreciated the sign over the mirror in the free weight room at the Northwest Fitness Center in Fridley, which said something to this effect:

This place is for the weak, that they may become strong.  This place is for the strong, that they may become humble.

The iron knows no mercy.  The iron strips away pretensions.  The iron reveals character.  This is not the hallmark of evil. 

All that being said, I think Charlton's position is born more from ignorance than fundamental wrongheadedness.  No man who is so sound on the weaseling and treacherous  mendacity of Rowan Williams can be totally misguided.

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144 Comments:

Anonymous Kyle In Japan December 13, 2012 4:54 AM  

I'm not a weightlifter (although I probably would be, if I didn't live in a small town with no gym), but the linked post does sound a bit ridiculous. Sure, weightlifting can be a sin - but so can just about anything else.

It was almost disappointing he didn't complain about the evils of the horrible, pagan paleo diet. I'm sure some McChurch organization will do that sooner or later (my bet's on Answers In Genesis.)

Blogger The Social Pathologist December 13, 2012 5:01 AM  

Mens sana in corpore sano.

Blogger The Social Pathologist December 13, 2012 5:03 AM  

Michaelangelo's Adam doesn't look like an office jockey.

Anonymous TheExpat December 13, 2012 5:45 AM  

I used to lift in a gym and then at home when I was younger, but over the past few years have shifted to simple bodyweight exercises with mods to increase load and resistance when needed. It gives me the results (health, sports, etc.) I want, while greatly reducing the time and expense, not to mention recovery time, which becomes more and more of an issue the closer you get to 50. BCAA FTW.


@Kyle: Whereabouts in Japan are you?

Blogger bethyada December 13, 2012 5:47 AM  

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

1 Timothy 4:8

Blogger Rantor December 13, 2012 5:51 AM  

But how can you call this man Godly, he said bollocks in his writing, there is a churchian book reviewer out there who will never visit his website again.

Blogger Rantor December 13, 2012 5:55 AM  

On the subject of weight training, as someone who recently started dieting and weight training I can attest to its myriad benefits. I have lost 22 pounds and already look and feel better (excepting my knees, but that is another problem.).

All it takes is some will power, dietary control and a few hundred dollars worth of weights to start... Or a gym I guess, but in our case that was a little inconvenient.

Anonymous Kyle In Japan December 13, 2012 5:55 AM  

I live in Iwate prefecture. It's in the northern part of the country. The coast was badly hit by the tsunami last spring, but I came weeks after and live in the mountains, so my area was fine.

I get plenty of exercise just from shoveling snow, we get buried in it virtually every day during winter. Sunlight? Ha!

Blogger bethyada December 13, 2012 6:00 AM  

One could get from his post that weight training for physique can become idolatry (as can anything). Without agreeing with what he writes one can take his challenge and recognise that for some people it has become this.

Interestingly he emphasises intensive training. I assume he means the resulting bull physique, whereas intensive is better applied to the actual workout.

Anonymous Greatheart December 13, 2012 6:07 AM  

He may have been thinking of 1 Timothy 4:8: "For bodily excercise profits little: but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come" (some translations insert an "a" into that verse). But I understand that to be a warning to me not to make excercise my main focus (above Godly things), not something to be avoided altogether.

Blogger Taylor Kessinger December 13, 2012 6:20 AM  

Does this guy even lift?

Anonymous TheExpat December 13, 2012 6:33 AM  

Does this guy even lift?

Doubtful. Maybe he tried it once and didn't like the way it hurt the next day.


@Kyle: I am in the Shizuoka area, and while I ski actively, I don't usually go that far north, although I have wanted to visit Appi Kogen and other Tohoku resorts.

Blogger Duke of Earl December 13, 2012 6:52 AM  

The paleo diet isn't pagan, at its heart it's basically what Noah would have been eating post-flood.

I've even heard some people liken it to the kosher diet.

Anonymous Johnny Caustic December 13, 2012 6:53 AM  

Vox, I think it's rude of you to put words in Charlton's mouth. He made it utterly clear that he is talking specifically about extreme self-reshaping under narcissistic motivations, and punctuated it by writing "extreme" repeatedly in italics. He did not venture an opinion on ordinary strength training for health reasons; you could have asked him first, before misconstruing his words, and he would probably respond.

I strength train regularly, and I agree with all the reasons you've set out for it, though I think you left out the best reasons of all: its potential to maintain our health and mobility, especially approaching old age. There's been a lot of research lately showing how strength training causes fundamental metabolic changes that reduce the likelihood of diabetes and other chronic "diseases of civilization", often wrongly blamed on aging. And of course, research showing its ability to prevent the loss of lean muscle mass with age. I started lifting because I saw how sad my grandmother is now that she can no longer walk or go out on her own.

So your points are well taken, but you simply don't know Charlton's opinion of that side of strength training until you ask him. There's no question that many men approach weight lifting with the motives he ascribes to them...and many others approach it with the same motives as you and me.

Blogger tz December 13, 2012 6:55 AM  

I think it was CS Lewis who noted that the sin of Pride can overcome the others, so if it is fine narcissism that demands someone so great in his own mind has a body to match, it will drive them to the gym. To serve self, not God.

Perhaps like the workaholic who defacto abandons his family to be a better provider. He has things in the wrong priority.

The other issue is whether it is a game at one of the iron arcades, or serious bodybuilding. Much like Vox's dojo v.s. the usual karate schools where no one gets hurt.

Doing something to feel self-esteem is different from doing it because it is intrinsically good.

Anonymous DrTorch December 13, 2012 7:00 AM  

Good response by VD. I thought the same thing as Johnny Caustic, but wondered why this guy focused on weight training...why not hyper marathons or double ironman triathalons?

Frankly, Charlton's mini-rant was shallow and poorly conceived and constructed at every level. I was surprised that he was a professor, although many US Christian college professors I've met aren't any different. Once again, modern Christians don't believe that Eccl 10:1 can apply to them.

Anonymous RedJack December 13, 2012 7:04 AM  

I have known people that took weight lifting to the point it was a religion. I have known people that did the same with a lot of things. Anything we do can, or not do honestly, can become an idol.

And you are right. It is interesting that no one talks of the sin of Gluttony anymore. Might get to many people in the pews angry. Same with divorce, usury, fornication, and greed. Seems the only two deadly sins we are supposed to pay attention are murder (unless it is abortion and the woman fits a "special case") and homosexual sex. Which are both deadly sins, but there are quite a few more that need to be acknowledged also.

Anonymous Mr Green Man December 13, 2012 7:14 AM  

Where's his complaint that too many women do cardio or the latest fad -- e.g., the Brazilian Butt Lift -- in an idolatrous obsession with recapturing youth and beauty? Or is this yet another anti-male scold?

One of the few things that could fix the "obesity crisis" that was one of the drivers for swallowing whole a seventh of the US economy would be to have more people do weight training.

Blogger IM2L844 December 13, 2012 7:19 AM  

This, like just about everything else, is all about intent. Most worldly activities, when taken to the extreme, are not grounded in sound intentions. However, other than in the most blatant of cases we are generally not equipped to judge intent. I'm sure there are individuals in every realm of interest who are in it for purely egocentric reasons. I don't see any good reason to single out bodybuilders as being disproportionately prideful. Much of the same things can be said about all of the excessively prideful, sanctimonious and Pharisaical Churchians who tend to drive people away from Christ more than any other single group.

Anonymous Cinco December 13, 2012 7:31 AM  

"One of the few things that could fix the 'obesity crisis'..." Heh, not to worry about this, they don't call it a correction for nothing...

Anonymous JohnR December 13, 2012 7:41 AM  

Johnny C: Charlton's problem is that he did not define his terms. I read his piece and kept wondering, "What does he mean by 'intensive'?"

If you are going to criticize something, you ought to be specific what your problem with it is.

Anonymous Anonymous December 13, 2012 7:41 AM  

Obesity is not a sin in Christian dogma. Gluttony and Sloth are but somehow Christians do not notice the link between obesity and these two vices.

Christians (or should I say Churchians) love love love to notice and condemn Vanity and Lust everywhere where it is and where they just imagine it.

They have a somewhat adequate reaction to Wrath, Envy and Greed, but they hate hate hate that someone mentions Gluttony and Sloth because they themselves are among the most willing hosts for these vices.

For the Red Pill / Manosphere / Paleo society trough Obesity is one of the cardinal sins. And rightly so.

Anonymous Anonymous December 13, 2012 7:54 AM  

Didn't have time to read the whole piece this morning, but it looks like he missed this passage of Scripture,

24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I [l]discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

If that doesn't sound like regular weight training, I'm even more ignorant than I thought.

farmer Tom

Anonymous Anonymous December 13, 2012 7:56 AM  

when we really had to work for our daily bread, it was not necessary to weight lift or exercise in any form other than the physical work we had to perform. my doctor has told me that as i age i should be doing weight bearing exercises. johnR, i think intensive means you sweat.

Anonymous The Stranger December 13, 2012 8:21 AM  

My ex-gay friend's take on the marriage amendment in our home state was "Don't much care. The church isn't campaigning for divorce reform, so it's just a case of only condemning the sins to which they are not tempted."

Which, come to think of it... how many pew-sitters are tempted to lift weights?

Re: Paleo. Creationists (or at least the ones I pay attention to) would say that Paleo is built on false assumptions, but that this doesn't mean it's a bad diet. If you take God's commands as to what to eat, along with the situations in Genesis, greens, fruit, and meat seem to be what we're geared towards (though grain is not necessarily the enemy). Also, a false premise doesn't mean a false conclusion, only a false argument.

My wife, interestingly, was just diagnosed with some hormonal disorder, the treatment for which is paleo (the doctor didn't call it paleo or seem to even know what paleo was, but the food list is the same).

Blogger Kyle In Japan December 13, 2012 8:29 AM  

"Obesity is not a sin in Christian dogma. Gluttony and Sloth are but somehow Christians do not notice the link between obesity and these two vices."

Think about how many fat pastors and theologians there are out there - to say nothing of the people in the pews. I frequently deride churches' emphasis on financial and relationship/marriage programs over the gospel, but I'd almost give them a free pass on some sort of course about living a more healthy lifestyle. But it might just offend a lot of people.

It's a shame, though. Living a healthy lifestyle - instead of looking like obese slobs like everyone else - might make Christianity a lot more attractive to people outside the church, since it would be a very visible sign that there is something different about those who believe; but sadly we are often as bad as anybody else in this respect.

Not surprisingly, there's only one fat person I can think of at my church in Japan (averaging 70-80 people each week.) We always have a fairly healthy, modest-sized meal after the service.

Blogger Carnivore December 13, 2012 8:30 AM  

Interesting difference between USA/UK and rest of Europe, especially eastern Europe. Guys who are very good in the weighted sports are heroes in Russia, Poland and Bulgaria. In the USA/UK, they are treated by the smaller and weaker portions of the male population as a threat to their manhood and are pretty much persona non grata in the sports world - unless they switch over to pro wrestling.

Anonymous TLM December 13, 2012 8:34 AM  

What nonsense. After being a serious lifter for over 20 years, I'd say the overwhelming majority of lifters are just guys staying in shape. A very very small portion make up the meatheads who let out their grunts every rep or wear diapers when squatting. On the other hand, the Crossfit fags are incredibly annoying and i've gotten into it with a few of them. These are the assholes that think they can take up 2 pieces of equipment, each being located on the opposite side of the weight room, at 5:00 on a Monday because their 'supersetting". And get ready fellow lifter as January approaches. Let the yearly onslaught of new years resolutioner's crowd our domain for 2 months until they quit. You can set your calender by these people.

Blogger JDC December 13, 2012 8:35 AM  

At my gym there is an old gent' who I bump into 3d/week. We usually do chest on the same day, so we spot each other. He is 62 - and has the body of a 30 y/o. He once said to me he works out so he can see his grand kids grow up, and have children of their own. What a narcissist.

Anonymous herman December 13, 2012 8:46 AM  

Man is the glory of God (1 Cor 11:7). The purpose of weightlifting may not be the glorification of God, but I doubt the honesty of anyone who might deny that the strength and beauty of a fit male form does so.

Anonymous stg58 December 13, 2012 8:49 AM  

I do Crossfit, not a fag. I do crossfit in a crossfit gym, not yours, so you don't have to worry about the equipment being monopolized.

Seriously though, the crossfit cultists can be exactly that, cultists and annoying. I do it because it is most similar to the combat conditioning and PT routines I did in the USMC.

Anonymous VryeDenker December 13, 2012 8:52 AM  

I think the guy didn't articulate properly what he meant.

Blogger CJ December 13, 2012 9:24 AM  

One explanation I've heard of I Timothy 4:8 (quoted by Greatheart) is that most people got sufficient exercise just from living: walking everywhere, manual labor, etc. It was mainly rich people who worked out, and they did it for vanity rather than health. It's in the same vein as the injunction against braided hair In 1 Tim 2:9 which was targeted at women who would spend several weeks wages on elaborate hairstyles.

Anonymous Josh December 13, 2012 9:30 AM  

His problem clearly is with bodybuilding, not weight training, although conflating the two doesn't help his argument. I wonder what kind of fitness program he does.

Blogger CJ December 13, 2012 9:30 AM  

"Living a healthy lifestyle - instead of looking like obese slobs like everyone else - might make Christianity a lot more attractive to people outside the church, since it would be a very visible sign that there is something different about those who believe; but sadly we are often as bad as anybody else in this respect."

I was raised in the Seventh-Day Adventist church, which puts a great emphasis on health. I have seen people attracted to the church by the health aspect of the teaching, but it rarely sticks. If there isn't a real conversion, they eventually realize that they can be physically healthy without being in the church. I would be careful not to overestimate the effectiveness of the "hooks" that can attract people to a church.

Anonymous stg58 December 13, 2012 9:40 AM  

CJ,

I agree with you on hooks to draw people in like fit people, and the sports, singles programs and everything else big churches have. A bunch of in shape people may not be a good hook to draw people in, but the opposite can sure drive them away.

Anonymous The One December 13, 2012 9:42 AM  

That's it. The theology of the current age is so false I can't stand aside any longer. I will be starting a Christian blog which I hope Vox will link to when it's ready.

Blogger JartStar December 13, 2012 9:44 AM  

So Kyle has Japan started to fatten up yet like the rest of the world?

Anonymous rycamor December 13, 2012 9:49 AM  

CJ December 13, 2012 9:24 AM

One explanation I've heard of I Timothy 4:8 (quoted by Greatheart) is that most people got sufficient exercise just from living: walking everywhere, manual labor, etc. It was mainly rich people who worked out, and they did it for vanity rather than health. It's in the same vein as the injunction against braided hair In 1 Tim 2:9 which was targeted at women who would spend several weeks wages on elaborate hairstyles.


We don't need to bring the "rich" into it. Paul doesn't. But the point is relevant: everyone in that society got far more exercise just surviving daily life than the average person now. And even then Paul concedes that some physical training above the norm still has some benefit, as long as one doesn't put it ahead of one's spiritual development. Sounds to me like a great reason to weight train.

Anonymous Heh December 13, 2012 9:57 AM  

I wonder what kind of fitness program he does.

Fitness? The puffy white Englishman who eats a fried breakfast every morning? Heaven forbid.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler December 13, 2012 9:59 AM  

If you notice that the word "extreme" is italicized. Prof. Charlton purposely italicized the word. It is not weightlifting but weightlifting to an extreme.

I would agree. The Greek in their idea of a man can be shown in the later part of the Boy Scout Oath: "physically fit, mentally awake and morally straight". That man in order to have excellence (Arete), all parts of a man have to be worked upon, Body, Mind, Spirit. Extreme weightlifting concentrates on only one aspect.

All aspects should be worked on. Weightlifting should be in the Golden Mean. Not to the extremes.

Anonymous Motto December 13, 2012 9:59 AM  

"This room is the crucible in which the strong will be purified and the weak annihilated."

Blogger IM2L844 December 13, 2012 10:05 AM  

I just wanted to add that after reading through Charlton's post that Vox linked to at the end of his post, I thought Charlton was spot on in that one.

More importantly, from that post I followed a link to a very good article that read as if it could have been written by Vox himself although it is slightly off topic with regard to Vox's opening post here.

Anonymous rycamor December 13, 2012 10:07 AM  

Charlton's rant reminds me of this complaint by an older man about the sex appeal of the new James Bond: "This Bond ripples with muscles. Craig is 44, but neither gravity nor age has done its evil work on him. Nothing about him looks natural, relaxed — a man in the prime of his life and enjoying it. Instead, I see a man chasing youth on a treadmill"
...
"This is all very sad news. Every rippling muscle is a book not read, a movie not seen or a conversation not held."

That's right, Grandpa... keep that rationalization hamster wheel spinning; Weightlifters just don't understand what a real man is. Never mind that weightlifting is now proven to be one of the best things to keep your brain healthy--especially while aging.

Another thing about Charlton's rant: "At its most focused, intensive weight-training is about the making of an extreme body - of a kind never before seen in human history--transhumanism."

I suspect Sampson would have put many of today's top bodybuilders to shame. Never before seen in history? Has he not seen any ancient statues? Some of them were positively rippling with muscle. Michelangelo's "David" was a skinny waif in comparison. The ancient Greek ideal body for a man was something on the order of both biceps adding up to or exceeding waist size. That takes some pretty extreme exercise to accomplish.

Anonymous Paul Sacramento December 13, 2012 10:18 AM  

I've done Martial arts for over 35 years.
I have done strength training for over 20.
Physical activity MAY make one vain, but only if they are egocentric and in which case, anything they do will make them vain.
For the rest of us, physical training is a great lesson in humility, why?
Because you learn very quickly that, no matter how tough you are, there is always someone tougher.
NO matter how strong you are, there is always someone stronger.

Anonymous DrTorch December 13, 2012 10:26 AM  

I suspect Sampson would have put many of today's top bodybuilders to shame

I don't think so. The source of Samson's strength was a mystery, so I doubt he was extreme in size or development.

Of course even extreme weightlifting by the most genetically blessed and chemically enabled won't get anyone to Samson's level, so there is room for varying opinions.

Blogger CJ December 13, 2012 10:26 AM  

Rycamor,

I remember a similar rant about Casino Royale. It concluded with something like "this Bond has a great body but no soul." It's pathetic the extent to which people will go to take down those who have acheived what they haven't.

Anonymous DrTorch December 13, 2012 10:34 AM  

Thanks for suggesting that link, IM2L844. It's great.

Anonymous Kwon Mega December 13, 2012 10:37 AM  

"One of the evil signs of the times is the increased prevalence of intensive weight-training."

What does he mean by intensive weight-training?:

"This is part of a narcissistic, self-regarding, self-advertizing and physiologically- and psychologically-deranging package of extreme exercise regimes, extreme diets, and extreme chemical intake (especially androgen and growth hormones, but other drugs as well - continually expanding)."

Therefore, he is not referring to the men who work out in order to maintain a healthy body. He's referring to the men who pump themselves full of chemicals, meticulously plan their diets and spend hours in the gym daily just for the vanity.

Ergo:
"But at every level it is about focusing the best efforts of your life on trying to look a certain way. A futile, vain and distorting activity."

"it is clear that his argument is actually directed against all weightlifting and intentional body improvement."
BUZZ - Try again!

What is clear is that he clearly defined his beef to be with those pursuing weightlifting obsessively for the purpose of vanity.

Anonymous Anonymous December 13, 2012 10:42 AM  

It's because we've been through the bodybuilder craze before in the Hellenic period which did see a rise and correlation between homoeroticism, gnosticism and the sculpted physique.

Of course in today's world where you do not have to strain and be physically fit to survive, we need to devote time to maintain some level of our physicality; but the lengths some people go is a problem and may be un-Christian at its roots- particularly it's disconnect between the spiritual and physical and all the gnostic undertones it brings.

Anonymous JI December 13, 2012 10:44 AM  

Could he have simply been talking about body building for shows rather than for strength? Those shows, like the Arnold variety, are rather narcissistic.

Anonymous scoobius dubious December 13, 2012 10:46 AM  

The Abstract Expressionist painters, who used to have a club in New York City called, heh heh, the Club, once had a debate about whether or not it is vain and affected to sign one's paintings? Or conversely, is it vain and affected to NOT sign them?

I can't remember who said this (I think maybe it was de Kooning but I'm not sure), but I love this reply: If you are vain, then it is vain to sign your paintings, and also vain to not sign them. And if you are not vain, then it is not vain to sign your paintings, and also not vain to not sign them.

Anonymous ck December 13, 2012 10:46 AM  

God save us from puritanical thinking.

Anonymous Stickwick December 13, 2012 10:51 AM  

I remember a similar rant about Casino Royale. It concluded with something like "this Bond has a great body but no soul."

Since when has Bond had a soul? Craig's Bond may be less amiable and charming than those before him, but the character has always been a somewhat of a sociopath. Anyway, Craig is very appealing, but my personal ideal for a man has always been Stallone in First Blood.

Charlton does not do a good job of explaining exactly what he means. If he's referring to this, then I agree with him. If he's just referring to any man who dedicates himself to pushing his limits in the gym, then he's missing the point.

My father is in his 60s, weight lifts regularly, and is in very good health. As a byproduct, he also looks good. He can do things most men half his age cannot, and if he keeps this up he will be healthy and functional well into his 70s and hopefully even his 80s. Meanwhile, a good friend who is the same age as my dad, who has always relied on jogging to stay in shape, is now suffering from debilitating arthritis in his hips and ankles -- in a few years he will be immobile. He suffers greatly, but it was preventable -- he could still turn this around with weight-bearing exercise, but he has no interest in it. So, what is better, to suffer and be a burden on others for lack of vanity or to maintain one's robustness and usefulness well into old age?

Anonymous rycamor December 13, 2012 10:52 AM  

@Kwon Mega

You can selectively quote, but Charlton betrays himself (and I suspect the usual lesser male sour grapes) with quotes like

"But at every level it is about focusing the best efforts of your life on trying to look a certain way. A futile, vain and distorting activity."

That sounds suspiciously like he's casting aspersions at anyone who would put some real effort into weightlifting.

"Think of a Christian man you admire.

Then try to think of him engaged in a regime of extreme weight training - bulking up, seeking a sculpted physique, gulping supplements and drugs and all the rest of it...

In fact don't bother. The idea is absurd, obscene and impossible."

Notice the rhetorical rather than logical approach here? Anyone who knows anything about weight training realizes that you can train intensively "at any level". I train intensively, but it is about 15 minutes a day, on average. I take supplements, in the form of a bit of whey protein in a smoothie with raw eggs and other stuff I like. Does that make me a reprobate? OK, I don't take the drugs, but otherwise, it looks like he is targeting me.

Now, I understand that Charlton is trying to point the finger at those "extreme" bodybuilders who look like inflated Greek gods, but even then, you might be surprised at how little time those guys spend in the gym. Some of the most accomplished bodybuilders might average an hour a day at it--and this is their profession--and they make a living at this stuff. It's really about the level of effort and intensity they put into that time.

Now picture Charlton pointing the finger at someone who spends an hour a day jogging "for his health", or perhaps spends an hour a day doing crossword puzzles or brainteasers, or even gardening!

What he should do is make some general statements about not becoming obsessed with things to the exclusion of Godliness, but he should steer clear of making assumptions about things of which he clearly knows not.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 December 13, 2012 11:06 AM  

And get ready fellow lifter as January approaches. Let the yearly onslaught of new years resolutioner's crowd our domain for 2 months until they quit. You can set your calender by these people.

Oh damn, I forgot about those people. Looks like I'll be taking my gym sessions to midday when they are at work choking down aspirin.

Blogger JDC December 13, 2012 11:09 AM  

NO matter how strong you are, there is always someone stronger.

Amen to that brother. I was an average wrestler in HS - but even an average wrestler has a leg up on someone with no training (or so I have convinced myself). 2 yrs ago, while working out in a gym in Saginaw (which also sports a sparring ring), a buddy, who is MMA trained, invited me into the ring. I thought - well, I have some wrestling - I should be OK. I was OK for about 38 seconds (which is how long it took him to take my back, and then move to an arm bar). After he almost broke off my olecranon process, I tapped. I looked at him like he was a psycho, and holding my elbow like a scared little girl I exclaimed "what was that all about?" He just smiled and politely warned me against entering a ring, even to spar, again. Point taken.

Anonymous RINO December 13, 2012 11:14 AM  

This guy is so wrong. God loves bros.

Anonymous paradox December 13, 2012 11:15 AM  

The only reasonable response to Bruce Charlton is... WTF dude?

I'm a butter ball, but burning the blubber off by killing carbs. I've lost 20lb in just two months and feel great. Once I'm closer to my correct weight, I will begin weightlifting. Like to live until I'm 80 and then still have the ability to wipe my own ass.

Anonymous Josh December 13, 2012 11:20 AM  

This is why making sure your argument is well defined before starting. Muddled terms, definitions, and arguments prevent actual debate, because it's unclear what is being proposed and what is a counter to that proposal.

Anonymous RedJack December 13, 2012 11:21 AM  

They started showing up early at my gym. Not that it is a "weight lifting" gym, but I have noticed a lot of people showing up that were new.

I welcome them. Since I work out during off peak times, it isn't as much of a deal, and keeps our small town place open.

My goal isn't to get to any high level, but back to where I was growing up on the farm. Which is very hard to do.

That and I have some shoulder issues that need some weight training to keep check.

Anonymous Stilicho December 13, 2012 11:23 AM  

On the strength of one link in the cable, dependeth the might of the chain; who knows when thou mayest be tested, so live that thou bearest the strain.

Anonymous Fred Phelps December 13, 2012 11:33 AM  

God doesn't hate weightlifters.

Anonymous Stickwick December 13, 2012 11:34 AM  

I'm a butter ball, but burning the blubber off by killing carbs. I've lost 20lb in just two months and feel great. Once I'm closer to my correct weight, I will begin weightlifting. Like to live until I'm 80 and then still have the ability to wipe my own ass.

Good for you. But consider starting weight lifting now, unless there's some medical reason you can't. Nothing burns off the flab like lifting.

Blogger Beefy Levinson December 13, 2012 11:40 AM  

Pretty much anything can be a sin if we do it with bad intentions. Jesus Christ said that prayer is a good thing, but not if you're doing it so you can get a pat on the back from human beings. Like Vox said, there is some degree of vanity involved in the decision to work out. But there's also a lot of discipline and taming of our appetites involved. You may love six dollar burgers - I sure do - but if you eat them every day you're likely a disgusting fat body and guilty of gluttony to boot.

Anonymous Herschel Walker December 13, 2012 11:41 AM  

Ain't nobody need to be doin' any liftin'. Jus' pushups and situps.

Blogger Beefy Levinson December 13, 2012 11:45 AM  

Pretty much anything can be a sin if we do it with bad intentions. Jesus Christ said that prayer is a good thing, but not if you're doing it so you can get a pat on the back from human beings. Like Vox said, there is some degree of vanity involved in the decision to work out. But there's also a lot of discipline and taming of our appetites involved. You may love six dollar burgers - I sure do - but if you eat them every day you're likely a disgusting fat body and guilty of gluttony to boot.

Anonymous rycamor December 13, 2012 11:46 AM  

I also appreciate Vox's theological take on the issue: God made the body, and I'm sure He had ideals in mind. The fact that we find certain physiques attractive is built into our nature. It is a God-given appreciation, not a worldly depravity. And, this appreciation has real utility. It helps guide us in making good genetic choices for reproduction. We should not feel ashamed for this, as long as we keep the preeminence of character and morality in mind.

It is simply ludicrous that in a post-Christian West, where a ludicrous percentage of the population has lapsed completely into gluttony and sloth, waddling from one sugar distribution point to another like addicts seeking their next fix, Charlton's criticism is focused on one of the only elements of the population successfully resisting this decline into mindless obesity.

This is what galls me about the modern American church! They can't wait for the sermon to be over so they can form a line of mooing cattle on both sides of the donut table. Coffee with 3 sugar packs? Better make it 4 to keep that sugar rush going. Yes, there is the token fruit plate on the table so take a little piece of banana to make yourself feel better while wolfing down 2 donuts and a piece of coffee cake. I am one of about 20 men in the whole church (of several hundred) who don't have a gut hanging over our belts, and the women--well it's just depressing.

And what legacy are we giving our kids? At every church function involving youth or singles, of course there must be ice cream! And sodas. And never miss a chance to reward Sunday school students with a piece of candy or three. And when Halloween--I mean HarvestFest comes around, no child is complete without at least one grocery bag full of sugar bombs. There is a reasonable place for candy and treats in a child's life, but it has gone beyond ridiculous. I have decided to be downright rude to Church leaders about this in the future. I have just about had it.

Anonymous Kwon Mega December 13, 2012 11:49 AM  

@Rycamor

Thanks for the clarification, I understand the issue now. When I read the article initially, I read:

""Think of a Christian man you admire.

Then try to think of him engaged in a regime of extreme weight training - bulking up, seeking a sculpted physique, gulping supplements and drugs and all the rest of it...

In fact don't bother. The idea is absurd, obscene and impossible."

In the context of a person working out for the vanity, not just the intensity. The key term being "bulking up".

I'll agree there could be better precision in his use of terms, but I after reading his blog for a couple of years I guess I give him the benefit of the doubt. The overarching theme is intensity and vanity, just not intensity. For example, I believe this is aimed at the following: those who workout to look sexy for the ladies, or those who workout in an effort to make other men envious of their bulging muscles.

I think those who workout "intensely" are having trouble seeing the context because they feel insulted by:

""Think of a Christian man you admire....In fact don't bother. The idea is absurd, obscene and impossible." and rightly so if I'm wrong in what I believe he was trying to convey.

Blogger Brad Andrews December 13, 2012 11:50 AM  

Kyle, I keep trying to read through the Primal Diet book and the start is so chock full of evo-crap that it hard to stomach. Fortunately I don't have to believe the evo-crap to get benefit from the diet. I have not taken it on seriously enough yet, though I know low carp definitely works for me so it is coming soon.

Blogger CJ December 13, 2012 11:56 AM  

"Ain't nobody need to be doin' any liftin'. Jus' pushups and situps."

Heh. My kung fu instructor in college was a seminary student who never lifted weights in his life, but was strong as an ox and looked like he was carved from marble. Strength training != weight training. Not that there's anythiing wrong with it.

Anonymous stg58 December 13, 2012 11:57 AM  

I do the Paleo diet about 80%. I consume raw milk because God created it for me to consume. The paleo people feak about milk because they have most likely not tasted or done any research on raw, living cow/goat milk.

We fed my youngest son raw goat milk from birth to present (18 months). Result: a little beast. Strong, fast and smart. No vaccines. Really cute too.

Anonymous rycamor December 13, 2012 12:14 PM  

Even the hardcore paleo nerds are coming around about raw milk, not to mention yogurt and kefir from raw milk (preferably from grass-fed cattle, or forage-fed goats).

I'm impatiently waiting for one of our goats to give birth so we can start milking. Raw goat milk is almost impossible to find due to FDA stupidity, and even the pasteurized stuff is over $10/gallon.

Blogger Ingemar December 13, 2012 12:19 PM  

CJ--

I stopped doing bench presses for over a month to do a program of high volume pushups (I superset it with inverted rows to get even muscle development). Result: My chest looks better now than when I was doing regular bench presses--though admittedly I only benched once or twice a week and could barely bench 70% of my bodyweight. (I was severely overweight at the time).

Part of the reason I look better now is because I take my diet more seriously. I still eat fast food sometimes, but I no longer have entire weeks where I have it for all three meals a day. I do intermittent fasting and the only things I drink are coffee, tea and water (sometimes Gatorade if I have severe diarrhea) And I limit my consumption of coffee and tea.

Anonymous Toddy Cat December 13, 2012 12:25 PM  

Charlton has a lot of sensible things to say, but sometimes he comes off as some sort of conservative Anglican Pope, firing of anathemas this way and that, declaring things "sins" that he is in no way qualified to do, especially since he has only been a Christian for about three years. In many ways, he's a typical new convert, plus he's still an academic, with all of the cocksureness that this implies. He seems certain that he's right about matters spiritual, even though by his own admission, he's been wrong most of his life. I like Charlton, and he has many gifts, but I'm afraid that humility is not one of them.

Blogger CJ December 13, 2012 12:30 PM  

I've been overweight for most of my life, but was in decent health as far as BP, cholesterol, and blood sugar. But at my last few doctor visits my BP was WTF/OMG and I couldn't play with my kids the way I wanted. It was enough for me to get serious. I'm not anywhere near paleo, but I've changed what I eat, especially for breakfast. Cereal and bagels out, yogurt and eggs in. Snacks are fruits, veggies and string cheese. The results are slow but steady.

Anonymous The Anti-Gnostic December 13, 2012 12:37 PM  

I've commented at the OP asking for some clarification. For starters, he doesn't the difference between bodybuilding and weightlifting.

Bottom line, it's a strange thing to get in a tizzy about given the current epidemic of obesity, manifest to a shameful degree among Christian men. The point that we may actually want to trip our own wives' triggers I'm sure would elude him.

Anonymous stg58/Animal Mother December 13, 2012 12:39 PM  

Rycamor/All Dread Ilk,

If you live in Houston and want high quality raw goat milk, go to Gramen Farm off of Mueschke and 290. It is 15.00/gallon, in high demand, and it is delicious.

Don't knock the price. It is awesome.

Anonymous Cheddarman December 13, 2012 12:45 PM  

good people of the Dread Ilk, dont forget to take your fish oil. It keeps many of the inflammatory diseases at bay (arthritis, bursitis, type 2 diabetes)...and SAM-e helps the joints...I dont sell any of this, just suggest it to friends and family

sincerely

cheddarman

Anonymous Vitus_Bering December 13, 2012 12:48 PM  

Lift carefully and sensibly, Ilk.
Anecdotally, one night years ago we decided to max out on bench. Didn't take our time. My grip too wide. I was 3/4 the way up with more than I had ever lifted. I knew I had it.
Loud pop! Out of the corner of my eye I saw my left shoulder move straight up, grotesquely. Still don't know how brother-in-law got that weight off me.
End result, torn pec. Hollowed out near the shoulder. Weak on that side.
But I do love to lift.

Anonymous ThirdMonkey December 13, 2012 12:51 PM  

My wife is so vain. The more fit she is, the more she feels comfortable in her own skin, which translates into an increased desire to get nekked with me. Additionally, I must be vain, too. Heavy lifting increases my testosterone levels, which translates in an increased desire to get nekked with my wife. I'm almost certain that all 3 of my children were conceived post-workout. And we're still exercising. I think Charlton doesn't like kids.

Maybe we're guilty of lust, not vanity.

Anonymous Kickass December 13, 2012 12:53 PM  

I read the post and thought it was poorly constructed. It seemed more a rant in response to something then a coherent thought.

That being said, yes, anything you love more then God is an idol. Does anyone with more then three months in as a Christian really need this pointed out?

Dad was an avid body builder from early teens to early fifties when he passed from a tragic accident. Ate low carb, took suppliments in areas it is hard to get all you need from eating and worked out about an hour a day with weights. He was regularly assumed to be no older then early 30s while in his 50s. Never a single health problem. Same with all us kids who he made work out with him and eat like him.


Does the good professor think the warriors in the Bible sat around singing psalms to each other?
I can't stand the whole wimpification of the Bible, God and Christ.

It is just as bad as this crap about how a women isn't modest in these circles anymore unless she weighs over 300 pds and dresses in a burka.

Exercise of any kind is not profitable regarding salvation. However, it is profitable for mental, physical and emotional health.

There was a women who was trying to get someone to take her point of view on things serious. The man she was arguing with looked her up and down and said "Don't you get it, I don't want to be you no matter what you opinion is. I can't get past how slovenly you look. If you want me to consider what you have to say or think, how about a day shower and shave your legs!"

I always thought that pretty much summed it up.

Anonymous facepalm December 13, 2012 12:53 PM  

Are you people retarded? He's clearly talking about the extreme vanity pervading modern culture. The workout craze is a manifestation of that. Anyone with a brain has noticed it. No one is hating on your attempts to get to the gym a couple of times a week for three sets of ten, stop trying to find reasons to get your panties in a bunch.

Anonymous Kickass December 13, 2012 12:56 PM  

@stg58, just curious, your wife didn't nurse?

Anonymous T14 December 13, 2012 12:57 PM  

Brodin, forgive this skinny-armed man his ignorance.

Among the many things that kills me here is this idea that anyone who weightlifts does so to the detriment of all other activities. This is nonsense. I've achieved great (natural) results through an hour or so a day 4 to 5 days a week at the gym. I've met very few people who can't spare that time, or who couldn't cut down on tv/internet-surfing to find it.

Anonymous Kickass December 13, 2012 12:57 PM  

Ah, let me clarify. Stg58, in light of the conversation and that breast milk seems to be in on the making of some serious beasts of men in both my family, thought that would be right up your alley.

Anonymous Kickass December 13, 2012 12:59 PM  

facepalm, then unwad yours. If you are going to take a position like he did then he better write a hell of a lot better then that.

Anonymous Kickass December 13, 2012 1:00 PM  

@ Thirdmonkey, I thought lust isn't lust if it is for your spouse. Otherwise I am in serious trouble...

So let the good times roll!

Anonymous The Anti-Gnostic December 13, 2012 1:06 PM  

He's clearly talking about the extreme vanity pervading modern culture.

I don't see that he's being clear at all. Sure he puts grammatical stress on 'intensive' but that's still a pregnant term. And he seems really pissed about weightlifting in particular. We're drowning in gluttony and sloth and he's ranting about some crisis of faith from Christians engaged in "intensive weight training." I mean, wtf, priorities.

Anonymous stg58/Animal Brother December 13, 2012 1:18 PM  

Kickass,

She tried but it wasn't an option, which is why we moved to the next best option, which was raw goat milk.

Anonymous Sasquatch December 13, 2012 1:22 PM  

Having logged thousands of hours in commercial and private gyms, and competing at the national and international levels of strongman and powerlifting, I understand Charlton's point of view. There is an excessive amount of preening, posturing, and self-admiration at most gyms. It has gotten worse in my 20 years of lifting. The shaving, body creams, men talking about exfoliants in the locker room, it's all very narcissistic. But lifting, eating well and trying to extend your the quality and quantity of your life should be a requirement of any man that has a family.

Anonymous Toddy Cat December 13, 2012 1:23 PM  

I agree, Anti-Gnostic, there's a point to be made about vanity and exercise, for sure, but if that's what Dr. Charlton was trying to say, I'm afraid that he didn't say it very well, and calling weightlifting a "rooted, habitual sin" is just plain over the top. If he's really talking about steroids or vanity, he should say so. Otherwise, he's just not making a lot of sense.

Anonymous RedJack December 13, 2012 1:26 PM  

stg58/Animal Brother

For many theologians, lust is lust no matter if it is with your spouse or not. Lust is defined as wanting to posses the, parts, of the person in order to gratify a desire.

Which is part of the reason so much of Catholic theology was out of whack (though Wheeler probably liked it). They based it on the Greek view of the body and of sex.

John Paul II with his theology of the body turned things on their head. Now the act of marriage is viewed as a net good, instead of a concession to sinful desires.

Anonymous Toddy Cat December 13, 2012 1:29 PM  

Don't get me wrong, I think that Charlton is a valuable voice in the Christian blogosphere, and he's right about a lot of things, which is why it's so irritating when he goes off half-cocked like this. With all due respect, he also needs to include the phrases "it seems to me" or "in my opinion" a bit more often in his writings, instead of thundering out anathemas like he was Bruce I speaking from the Throne of Peter. I mean, his heros, Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, did this, and it made their writings all the more effective.

Anonymous Toddy Cat December 13, 2012 1:33 PM  

It should also be noted that, in the Christian context, "lust" is different from "feeling sexual desire for your wife" Theologians as far back as Gregory the Great have recognized this. So, not, in the opinion of almost all Western Christian thologians, you are not sinning when you sexually desire your wife. And yeah, JPII made this explicit.

Anonymous Josh December 13, 2012 1:33 PM  

This is similar to feminists focusing in the dangers of eating disorders.

Anonymous bw December 13, 2012 1:53 PM  

Where's his complaint that too many women do cardio or the latest fad -- e.g., the Brazilian Butt Lift -- in an idolatrous obsession with recapturing youth and beauty? Or is this yet another anti-male scold? Mr Green Man

+100

MGM cuts right through the projecting BullSh*t.
Psychologically. Transparent. Churchian. Fail.

Anonymous Tschafer December 13, 2012 2:03 PM  

Yeah, the last thing Christianity needs right now is a a new breed of Puritains discovering new "sins" in totally harmless and spiritually neutral activities. Really disappointing for a guy as (generally) sharp as BC

Anonymous Other Josh December 13, 2012 2:22 PM  

It's a heart issue.

The outward action of lifting a weight to strengthen your muscle is NOT sin.

If your motive if vanity or pride, your internal motive IS sin.

Anonymous Johnny Caustic December 13, 2012 2:22 PM  

Y'know folks, most of you complaining about definitions in Charlton's post are missing a lot of context. He spends months developing a few themes from various angles. It isn't written for those of you dropping in for the first time; you might as well drop in on page 358 of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and complain about undefined terms. Regular readers know the context in which his remarks should be taken. Methinks a lot of you are in too much a rush to take his words personally to bother figuring out what he's really trying to say about vanity.

Those of you who are new to him should read his brilliant takedown of modern science at http://thestoryofscience.blogspot.com/, which echoes many of Vox's themes in this blog.

Anonymous George of the Hole December 13, 2012 2:57 PM  

Anybody remember The Power Team?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_Team

Anonymous stg58/Animal Mother December 13, 2012 3:07 PM  

The guys that ripped phone books and hot water balloons apart with their bare, Godly hands?

Never heard of them.

Anonymous Daniel December 13, 2012 3:37 PM  

Johnny Caustic, the post is straightforward. The post is not terribly complex, even if it has secondary tangents illuminated in prior posts.

The fact is that it says something: either something Charlton does not understand, or something that he understands and is obfuscating. It is ridiculous to believe that the difference between the secular right and the Christian right can be distinguished by one's perspective on a specific exercise.

Of course, if "extreme" weightlifting is a man's wealth, keeping him from faith in Christ, by all means, abandon it. But what a strange and esoteric sin to emphasize. He may be trying to make a larger point that has nothing to do with exercise, but since he screws up the metaphor (if that's what it is), then he screws up the point.

Anonymous George of the Hole December 13, 2012 3:38 PM  

They also broke bricks.

Anonymous Tschafer December 13, 2012 3:41 PM  

Yeah, Charlton's work is really valuable, which is why he can be so disappointing when he goes and declares things that he simply doesn't like as "sins". By my count, over the last three months, BC has declared the following things "sins";

- Bodybuilding
- Cosmetic surgery
- Tattoos
- Voting
- Modern Archtecture

Now all of these things, and a lot of things Charlton didn't mention, are open to sinful abuse. But to condemn them all as "sinful" is just out of bounds, especially since no major Christian denomination, and no minor Christian denomination that I am aware of, has condemned these things as sinful. He's a good guy, but he really goes off the deep and sometimes.

Anonymous Tschafer December 13, 2012 3:44 PM  

Besides, maybe one guy in a thousand is committing the sin of vanity when it comes to weightlifting. Surrounded by the sea of gluttony and sloth I see every day, it does seem a strange thing to emphasize, let alone declare to be a "Litmus Test" (!)

Blogger IM2L844 December 13, 2012 4:17 PM  

He's a good guy, but he really goes off the deep [end] sometimes.

Yeah, I have to think he has had personal situations that have aggravated him on some of these things and skewed his perspective a little bit toward the subjective.

Anonymous Sojourner December 13, 2012 4:27 PM  

Shoo, guess it's time to shut down my company which sells supplements and stop having integrity to look like I know what I am talking about. So much overwhelming scriptural evidence!

Getting in shape is one of the HARDEST things you can do in life. I'm not talking just not being fat, but in actual shape where people ask you what you do. The discipline you have to hold in eating and lifting has made me become more disciplined in the rest of my life, including my faith.

His post is full of such ignorance and certainly told from someone who has never set foot in a gym. I love how later in the comments he ends up saying that basically the meatheads can't understand his brilliant writing and thus the truth is lost on them.

Anonymous rycamor December 13, 2012 4:27 PM  

stg58 December 13, 2012 11:57 AM

I do the Paleo diet about 80%. I consume raw milk because God created it for me to consume. The paleo people feak about milk because they have most likely not tasted or done any research on raw, living cow/goat milk.


Here's one for the paleo guys: Humans Have Been Eating Cheese for at Least 7,500 Years.

Anonymous TheVillageIdiotRet December 13, 2012 4:35 PM  

All the Jesus' I've seen hanging on crosses all had six-pack abs
I have more of a pony keg type abs myself.

DannyR

Anonymous Kickass December 13, 2012 4:37 PM  

@ stg58 good to know there is a plan B available. I know cows milk can cause internal bleeding so that is why I was asking.

I remember the Power Team!

Anonymous Tom O. December 13, 2012 4:38 PM  

There is actually a relevant Biblical verse:

"Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." (1 Timothy 4:8)

Anonymous Toddy Cat December 13, 2012 4:41 PM  

"I love how later in the comments he ends up saying that basically the meatheads can't understand his brilliant writing and thus the truth is lost on them."

Not a well-written post by BC, if people didn't understand it, that's his fault. Too bad, he's usually a lot better than that.

Anonymous Kickass December 13, 2012 4:41 PM  

@ Sojourner you can exercise Brother, but you are not allowed to get to big and you are not allowed to enjoy it. And apparently, according to the Catholic, you can't even want to enjoy it. I guess it is just susposed to take you by surprise.

BTW, you have a really good magnesium suppliment? I need one.

Anonymous Kickass December 13, 2012 4:43 PM  

Tom O, please point out the verse where it says that weightlifting, or exercise of any kind is a sin. Because that is what the post said.

Oh, and please quote in context.

Anonymous Tom O. December 13, 2012 5:18 PM  

Tom O, please point out the verse where it says that weightlifting, or exercise of any kind is a sin. Because that is what the post said.

Oh, and please quote in context.


It isn't a sin, and the verse affirms that it's good. However, the verse minimizes its goodness, stating that it is only of some good. The context is a pastoral letter in which Paul advises Timothy what makes a good pastor (or spiritual leader), so we can affirm that while bodily exercise (which includes weight-lifting) is a little bit good, it's nowhere near as important as godliness in being a leader.

Anonymous Sojourner December 13, 2012 5:30 PM  

@Kickass: It's funny because there are days I don't even want to work out but I've forced myself to do it and I'm beginning to see the affects on the rest of my life, in terms of discipline, as well. Nevermind jumping in with my father (who at 60 looks incredible and has been around since the Venice "Muscle Beach" days) in this business has grown me in ways and gotten me out of comfort zones I could never imagine. All relying on God's grace too.

As for a magnesium supplement we generally keep everything simple, our website is here: http://www.powernutritionpro.com/ and you can click on the left for the vitamins to see the breakdown including magnesium. (Way better website coming sooner or later, we've moved focus of our business model recently)

Also folks, I know Paleo is the big thing nowadays but be careful of protein intake. I believe in eating non processed foods and such but a high protein intake can be detrimental to your body (how long are you sitting on a toilet?)

I recommend more carbs than protein actually (complex carbs to be exact) as this is what provides the energy to your muscles so that you can workout and get through your day. Most of my protein intake comes through Amino Acids with a little bit from food and brown rice protein on the side.

Also, if you workout and don't take supplements, I HIGHLY recommend you change that. Though good eating and 8 hours of sleep is the baseline for good health if you truly want to see gains and stop plateauing (glory to glory and all) than supplement (GOOD supplements) are they way to get there. And no I don't advocate steroids at all (that one picture posted above is 99% sure taken of someone who does 'roids). And when I say good supplements I mean don't get ripped off. There are a lot of companies out there (especially the big ones) that are peddling a sub par product and exaggerated prices. That and what's actually in there isn't what the label says. So beware...

Blogger papabear December 13, 2012 5:33 PM  

"Which is part of the reason so much of Catholic theology was out of whack (though Wheeler probably liked it). They based it on the Greek view of the body and of sex.

John Paul II with his theology of the body turned things on their head. Now the act of marriage is viewed as a net good, instead of a concession to sinful desires."

Sounds like a caricature of pre-TOB moral theology...

Anonymous asdf December 13, 2012 5:34 PM  

"it is clear that his argument is actually directed against all weightlifting and intentional body improvement."

This is quite obviously not his point.

Anonymous T14 December 13, 2012 5:35 PM  

"There are a lot of companies out there (especially the big ones) that are peddling a sub par product and exaggerated prices"

Muscle Milk perhaps?

And I reminded of this picture of Christ. http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/0/8849/627662-ripped_jesus_super.jpg
Very Northern European. Germanic "victorious Christ" and all that.

Anonymous Sojourner December 13, 2012 5:40 PM  

Muscle Milk actually has quite a bit of mercury....and basically has no real nutritional value.

Anonymous Toddy Cat December 13, 2012 5:56 PM  

Of course, waht is being said in Timothy is that, yeah, getting in shape is really great, but it can't save your soul. Which is, of course, true. By the way, wanting to look nice for your wife or to look physically fit so that you will not be attacked by muggers is neither "vanity" or "pride" at least not according to the Catholic Church...

"There is a pride, improperly so called,
which is in accordance with all the rules of order, reason and honor. It is a sense of responsibility and dignity which every man owes to himself, and which is compatible with the most sincere humility. It is a regard, an esteem for oneself, too great to allow one to stoop to anything base or mean. It is submissive to authority, acknowledges shortcomings, respects others and expects to be respected in return. It can preside with dignity, and obey with docility. Far from being a vice, it is a virtue and is only too rare in this world. It is nobility of soul which betrays itself in self-respect."

If weightlifting leads to this kind of "Pride" it a positive good...

Anonymous Kickass December 13, 2012 6:37 PM  

@ Tom O, the point is that your verse that you used to try to help your buddy out there is in regards to salvation. Not living daily life and being healthy. He calls it a sin, his writing is muddy and he is getting called on it. Just take it like a man.

@ Sojourner, thanks for the info. I will take a look. I am low carb but I eat dairy from goats and lots of veg and fruit. There are plenty of ways to do it. If someone is trying to lose weight like I am and get back in shape, for me personally grains and lots of carbs will be a waste of time. Once in shape that could change, we will see.
I am also studying wild foraging and finding out that lots of things have the supplements we need in them that way as well. I don't want to rely too heavily on a product and then find out it has something in it that is unhealthy or I can't get it because the mayans were right and all hell broke lose...sorry, I digress.

Anonymous BluntForceTrauma December 13, 2012 6:40 PM  

Bethyada quoted 1 Tim. 4:8 that "physical training is of some value." Good.

And Proverbs also says something like, "The glory of young men is their strength." The Bible comments much on the physical beauty of certain women and the physical strength of certain men.

It even says of others, "Their genitals are like those of donkeys and their emission like that of horses." Truly an amazing book, that pulls no punches and tells it like it is. The antithesis of prudery. Read it.

Anonymous TheExpat December 13, 2012 6:49 PM  

So Kyle has Japan started to fatten up yet like the rest of the world?

Not even close. Yes, you can find a few people (e.g., typical metabolic syndrome 40s-50s guy office worker) and even some obese ones, but most 'fat' people in Japan are just a bit out-of-shape pudgy. The average caloric intake just isn't there for society-wide blimping.

Anonymous rycamor December 13, 2012 6:56 PM  

Yes, Paleo doesn't mean to avoid carbs, but to avoid *simple* carbs, especially wheat and sugar. Although, I think there is something to be said for having some "carb-up" days where you eat some simple carbs if you are on a heavy workout schedule.

I prefer to call what I do a "whole foods balanced diet", meaning I pretty much stay as far away from processed food as possible, especially the kind that comes in a box or a can and has a long shelf life. If it can sit in a on a shelf for a month or two without causing decay, ask yourself why that is.

Now, I think there is a place in the human diet for highly processed foods, but mostly not of the modern industrial variety. For modern industry, the exceptions I might make are good whey powder and a few supplements, although I am suspicious of the claims of most of them (most of the protein supplements are loaded with sugar and soy). But the human race has been fermenting foods of one kind or another for as far back as we have history, and now we are finding there are lots of benefits to traditionally processed foods like sauerkraut, yogurts, cheeses, kimchi, and pickled and canned vegetables of many kinds. Unfortunately, modern industrial processes (pasteurization and so forth) ruin many of the beneficial microorganisms we can receive with these foods. Adding a few isolated vitamins after the fact doesn't really address these deficiencies.

One of my theories as to why obesity prevails today is that bodies are actually starving for good nutrition, while enjoying a surfeit of empty calories, thus tripping into fat storage mode in preparation for famine.

My solution so far has been to grow my own garden (without chemical fertilizers or pesticides), raise my own chickens, both for meat and quality pastured eggs, and raise a few goats for milking and occasionally for meat. Also, I eat way more fats than I used to: avocados, nuts, coconuts, coconut oil, and full fat dairy, including butter, and whenever I cook good quality uncured bacon, I collect the lard and use for cooking. This is only the tip of the iceberg, but already I feel much healthier than I have since my 20s. I find having lots of fat was the final change in combination that gave me consistent energy for workouts or long days of manual labor.

Anonymous Anonymous December 13, 2012 7:49 PM  

Prof. Charlton has good instincts - he knows healthism, lifestylism, consumerism are the imposed bounds of acceptable public speech in our terminal liberal regime. Self expression in these arenas are no threat to our rulers.

Prof. Charlton knows too that once upon a time, the labour a man invested would be in his own property/land - that it would be invested so that he could enjoy the leisure that comes with making money (get his food/shelter/fuel) simply when the sun shone.

I'm sure he's just worrying that men are expending their efforts in a mode that the liberal regime cares for only because of health care costs, keeping the hamsters in their wheel, and conforming to gnostic ideas of the body that sees the body only as tool and gives no weight to nature. [frees the biggest wills (conglomerates/state) to do their worst constrained by nothing in the order of things].

"“Power encounters the maximum of opposition” in simple societies “as in the communities of yeomen with nearly equal holdings.” De Jouvenel

Today how substantial is any distributed property that isn't land?

How free are men labouring in gyms rather than on their own land providing for their families? Not for everyone for sure, but a large portion of the working class millions of men would be getting physique + income + freedom from unhinged finance capitalism by listening to Charlton's critique.

Anonymous Stickwick December 13, 2012 8:14 PM  

Muscle Milk actually has quite a bit of mercury....and basically has no real nutritional value.

For a while I tried MM after my very intense workouts, and coincidentally found myself becoming very agitated and flying into rages for no apparent reason. As soon as I stopped drinking MM, the rage disappeared. Went online and found other people were seeing the same pattern. I have no idea what's in MM that would cause that sort of reaction, but beware.

Anonymous Anonymous December 13, 2012 9:17 PM  

+Workout -gym/supplement/transport costs =

“More than a third of the average American’s after-tax income is devoted to shelter, usually rent or mortgage payments. If a person works from age 20 to age 65, it can be fairly argued that he or she has put in 15 years (20 in California) just to keep a roof over their head. With a piece of land, six months’ work, and — say — $35,000, he (or she) and his family could have built his own home."

http://naturalbuildingblog.com/it-cant-possibly-be-worth-it/

http://naturalbuildingblog.com/three-ways-building-codes-escalate-construction-costs/

Blogger Duke of Earl December 14, 2012 12:45 AM  

Mustn't forget this one.

Anonymous Toby Temple December 14, 2012 12:58 AM  

Extreme weight lifting is not evil per se.

It is required for those who needs to be in shape fast.

OpenID samsonsjawbone December 14, 2012 1:29 AM  

Where's his complaint that too many women do cardio or the latest fad -- e.g., the Brazilian Butt Lift -- in an idolatrous obsession with recapturing youth and beauty? Or is this yet another anti-male scold?

Here's his complaint about female vanity, for what that's worth. Give him another try.

Anonymous T14 December 14, 2012 1:38 AM  

"Manly men just don't behave that kind of way, and they never have done."

Ahem

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_lifting

Anonymous Nah December 14, 2012 6:41 AM  

By my count, over the last three months, BC has declared the following things "sins";

- Bodybuilding
- Cosmetic surgery
- Tattoos
- Voting
- Modern Archtecture

Now all of these things, and a lot of things Charlton didn't mention, are open to sinful abuse. But to condemn them all as "sinful" is just out of bounds


I totally agree with him on the last four. As for bodybuilding, it is sinful to become a musclebound freak, but short of that, not so much.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza December 14, 2012 9:21 AM  

Wow, incredible words that are not only detached but out of order when so many churches promote the fork and knife clubs of eating then over eaters - sorry nevermind.

There are many people who feel the glory or God, pray or have the best communion with the Lord when they are working out, shutting out the interruptions ,focusing on building one's body for health, endurance and maybe just maybe longevity...

Perhaps over the years one could misuse this verse to justify some of over-doing of work outs in vain pursuit of proana...In time, with age, it helps with fasting, the denial of instanta gratifications and poorer lifestyle choices;

"No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

Blogger LP 999/Eliza December 14, 2012 9:22 AM  

Edit: the avoidance of poorer lifestyle choices

Blogger Nathaniel Colvin December 14, 2012 10:09 AM  

Most people don't even read their Bible..... so thus most people wouldn't even know that Jesus himself said "But now, take your money and a traveler's bag. And if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one!"

Anonymous Sojourner December 14, 2012 12:04 PM  

Nathaniel...did you use to post on the CHUD message boards?

That was always a favorite verse of one gentleman there.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza December 14, 2012 8:38 PM  

In post Americans times disliking and discouraging lifting makes good sense. After all, churhianity's turn from Christ is complete. Every precept has been modernized, cleanup into a shiny but useless vessel.

Anonymous meelhama December 14, 2012 9:05 PM  

Let's have a Dread Ilk body transformation contest, 90 days; who can look the most capable of kicking Bruce Charlton's pudgy butt.

Anonymous The Anti-Gnostic December 15, 2012 1:38 PM  

I hadn't heard of this guy before. His head seems in the right place but man, what a scold. He's still in a tizzy about this, btw.

Anonymous Anonymous December 15, 2012 6:54 PM  

I love Bruce Charlton and all, but he is just flat wrong about this. 99 times out of 100 though, he is spot on. Hard workouts are great for a man.

Anonymous Toddy Cat December 17, 2012 11:04 AM  

Anti-Gnostic,
He's still wrong, by the way. Trying to find out what exactly is and is not a sin is not some sort of question-begging "asking for definitions" as Charlton, would have it, it's the very essence of morality. For example, sometimes it is morally licit to take life, sometimes it is not. Seeking to define when it is licit is not "trying to push things as far as you can" as BC has it, it's trying to be moral and still protect yourself. He's just digging himself in deeper with regard to this. That's the problem with trying to defend a poorly stated position, and then blaming other people for seeking clarification.

Anonymous fdsa December 17, 2012 2:05 PM  

"This is quite obviously not his point."

Yes it is.

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