Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wii Fitness and Spiritual Formation

To counteract a men's breakfast and a special dinner today I thought I better get in some exercise, and chose to do the Wii EA Active workout. Overall I like the exercises, feel they provide a benefit, and like the illusion of interactivity with a 'personal trainer.' Today for some reason it didn't go as well as hoped. On some exercises where I was giving my all, it just wasn't good enough the for program and the virtual trainer was nagging me to try harder. On other ones where I was gasping for air and barely moving, they chimed 'That's it! Now you've got it!'  (huh??)  Half-way through the routine I started completely ignoring the instructor, and just did whatever I wanted. Why? Because something the way I was holding the remote was not registering, and even though I was doing them right, the screen kept saying "No, watch closely and do it like me!" By the end I was ready to throttle the instructor, sell the disk, and never work out again. I'm thinking a Kinect system where it's actually paying attention to me instead of the other way around? Why did I even finish the workout? Because I get together weekly with another guy and I know we will ask me next week if I did what I promised I would do.

I wonder sometimes if our approach to spiritual formation in the church leaves people feeling the same way. Sermons that boil down to "You suck. Do better." Formulaic approaches to a quiet time, specifying the 'right' way to do it. Nagging way more about what we're not doing right than applauding that we're even trying, and encouraging what we are doing well. (I'm not saying our church is much like that, but it's easy for any church, any minister, to get too focused on the wrong thing.)

So after getting frustrated with this workout, I came up with...

10 Things that Wii Fitness can Remind us about Spiritual Formation:

1. If we lose sight of what we're trying to achieve, we'll never put in the effort it takes to get there.
2. Having a supposed 'instructor' that doesn't care about us or screams "Do it just like me!' pushes us further away from growth
3. Focus on taking your next step, however small. Don't look at someone way ahead of you and sigh.
4. Conversely there is great benefit to a personal trainer who can work with you to achieve your goals
5. Exercise and spiritual formation are often best done with a friend or a group
6. Finding the right exercises - ones that you actually enjoy doing and which build you up - is golden.
7. Going through the motions just to please your instructor is virtually useless.
8. Exercise/disciplines are half of the equation. It really has to go together with learning to feed yourself in a healthy way.
9. An accountability partner who asks questions but doesn't nag helps you get it done.
10. The goal is life transformation. Don't settle for anything less.

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