I’ve been rethinking the notion of “fitness” as our culture and most 1st world cultures understand it. It was that Amish study that opened my eyes–4% obesity rate, 51,000 steps a day, and work as exercise. The Amish are fit, because they work out–out in the fields, out in the barn, and out in their community. They’re living lives in harmony with the laws of creation.
When was the last time the rest of us actually broke a sweat doing anything resembling an Amish workday? We’re all getting bigger, less fit, and more narcissistic, as we refocus our activities away from physical labor, and shared community work projects, and onto “personal fitness” and our own narrow self interests.
The difference-for those of us who haven’t noticed–is that as a culture, we’ve become obsessed with ourselves–our bodies, our performance, our comfort, our appetites, and our desires. Family, neighborhood, and commmunity work projects are abandoned to commercial laborers, while we trot off to the media room, the refrigerator, the mall, gyms, spas, and “outbound” weekends. We’ve abandoned our extended communities and become what sociologists call the “cocoon generation.”
Our world focus has narrowed, our preference for shared communities has atrophied, and our view of God’s Kingdom automatically overlooks or excludes anyone different from ourselves, by reason of gender, age, race, economic bracket, opinion, social status, geography, government, or religion. We’ve become so self-absorbed, we’ve lost our understanding of what His Kingdom is really about–all God’s people together–in relationship.
Our narcissism has warped our lifestyles, world views, and circles of influence, and it’s sabotaging both our spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental health and the growth of His Kingdom.