The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

THEOLOGY: I walked down to the post office today, enjoying the sunny Artic conditions that currently make our happy little burg the place to be if you enjoy chilblains, frostbite, and snow blindness, among other weather related causes of death and injury, intent on mailing a get well card to a family friend. As I tread slowly up Main Street against soft winds that lowered the wind chill factor from a relatively balmy 4 degrees Fahrenheit to a somewhat gelid 18 degrees below zero, watching the sidewalk as I went; sidewalk watching is very popular here at this time of the year, what with the accumulated ice making the ordinary stroll from one end of Main Street to the other an adventure on the order of a overweight soldier crossing a minefield on a pogo stick while wearing a blindfold; I passed a exercise club cum tanning salon cum nail emporium—multitasking is important for any small business nowadays—and in the window of this establishment a sign announced the benefits of Gospel Aerobics and where to sign up for classes in Gospel Aerobics. I must confess that I’d never heard of Gospel Aerobics until that very instant and I stopped up short in sudden contemplation of the phenomena.

Having spent eight years in Catholic schools being frightened by nuns tougher than anyone you’ll ever meet, buster, I think I can safely say that aerobics never formed a part of the religion curriculum; I’d remember if they’d made us do wind sprints while reciting the Beatitudes, so the whole concept seems odd to me. I do not know if Gospel Aerobics is a Protestant theological concept or no; Protestant missionaries in California, for example, may need to adopt such outlandish local customs as running, weightlifting, and eating organic granola bars, insofar as they are consistent with Christian theology and not a occasion of sin or cause scandal to the congregation, in order to convert the heathens who dominate that strange country. But I must admit that I am not able to make the mental leap that links the Gospels with exercise that raises your heart rate and burns fat off. Perhaps the link comes with the exercise leader, who I suppose must be the leader of this particular service, helping the congregants sweat off the excess pounds they packed on over the holiday season, although the association of Christmas with mass societal gluttony is not one any Christian church that I am aware of would countenance for a minute.

So I remain clueless as to the details of this particular form of religious expression. I must admit, however, that the concept of performing aerobic exercises to the Psalms gives a whole new slant to the phrase “sweating to the oldies.” King David would probably object, of course, but his Psalms are not, despite the best efforts of the United States government, the Disney Corporation, and intellectual property lawyers everywhere, covered by copyright, and so anyone can use them. I was going to think about the deeper implications of all of this as I stood there, but as I did it occurred to me that I could no longer feel my nose, and that any such contemplation could, in all likelihood, wait for me to get back to work, where I could contemplate to my heart’s content courtesy of the magic of central heating while at the same time retaining my sense of smell. I scurried along then, or I scurried as much as a treading man can scurry, treading and scurrying being mutually exclusive activities most of the time.


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