How I got punked by an early-2000’s era Life Fitness Treadmill.

Having joined the YMCA in the heat of new years resolutions, I found myself relegated to the “older” treadmill.  I punched in a few numbers to start, and selected the “fat burn” setting, enabling the machine to monitor my heart rate and adjust the difficulty (read: the incline) accordingly.

Target heart rate: 128.  Current rate: 121.  Current incline: 0.1.

Let’s get this party started.  I glanced up at the TV in front of me.  A daytime courtroom show.  Awesomely boring, even with subtitles.

Five minutes passed.  Still hadn’t hit the target heart rate. In fact, I was still right at 121.  The machine had adjusted the incline to 8.0 (I assume that’s 8 degrees of incline).  I was starting to feel it.  Back to Judge Joe Brown to pass the time.

Three more minutes passed.  I felt a cramp coming on, which is odd considering this was supposed to be a “low intensity” deal.  I noticed that the incline was on 15.3, and that compared to the machine beside me, I am a mountain climber.  Sweat dropped from the end of my nose, and I had to white-knuckle the heart rate handles to even stay on the machine.  My heart rate, however. was still at 122, which I found strange, being that I could feel my heartbeat in my ears.

It was probably ten more minutes of panting (and 5 more degrees of incline) before I decided to test the heart rate monitors, and let go of them.  It stayed at a steady 122.  The machine was not actually monitoring my heart rate, but some phantom rate!  As tempted as I was to learn how far the machine would go in trying to get to the target, I immediately switched workout type and lowered the incline back to zero, so that I could finish my workout without involving paramedics.

Moral of the story:  the older the machine, the more skeptical you should be of the monitoring capabilities.

Second moral of the story: after you have been abused by the “back in the day” treadmill, don’t try and walk down the steps to the locker room without holding the hand-rail.  You’ll fall down.  People will try not to laugh or make eye contact.  They will be unsuccessful at both.

What a phenomenal speech from a phenomenal man.  Here’s my favorite part, a part that I find universally applicable to any situation where someone or some group is trying to overcome oppression:

“But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

Thank you, Dr. King.

And now, as we prepare to inaugurate our first President of color, let’s be sure to continue to judge him and all others not by the color of skin, but the content of character.

I’m praying for you, President Obama.  But my faith is not in you.

Proverbs 21:1

Still amazing, no matter how many times I watch it.  A 7’2” Frenchman tries to take a charge from Vince Carter.  Vince, however, jumps OVER him.  I’ll post this to my blog about once per year.

Being the Hands of Christ.

Sometimes I wish I were a feeler.  I live much of my life blissfully unaware that there are things that need to be felt.  Every once in a while I get a glimpse into what my life would be like if I didn’t default to cognition in place of emotion.  Yesterday was one of those times.

I teach a class at church, along with 4 other people in what is called “round table” teaching.  It is a great opportunity to enter into community with other teachers and really live life with them, even if only for a couple hours per week.  Last night at our round table one of the teachers was expressing how she craves tangibility in her relationship with God.  She deeply desires a physical connection with Him, and hasn’t been experiencing that lately.  We gathered around her, put our hands on her shoulders and arms, and became the hands of Christ to her, as we prayed that God would refresh her and renew her.

As we were praying, God began to work into my heart the gospel, again.  In the hustle to go about my day, and to think through all the things that needed doing, I had forgotten that Jesus paid it all.  I had failed to bring before him my concerns, my problems, and my joys.  I am so quick to default to performance-based churchianity, where I am only as valuable as my ability to produce results.  Consequently, I am easily overwhelmed by my own inability to control my environment.  It’s tough to produce results when you can’t even guarantee a paycheck for your wife and child.

That’s when it hit me, in a wave of emotion that forced a tear from my eye: I got a glimpse into the life of a feeler!  But more than that, I was comforted by Jesus.  As I became the hands of Christ for a sister in need, He reminded me that He hadn’t left the throne.  He provides just what we need, just when we need it.