In which the blogger Deep Strength illustrates my points about exercise, health and idolatry

Apparently when I reblogged his post, wordpress interpreted it as a comment on his post, and so I got a response notification.  Having finally had a chance to look it over, I’m going to blog the comment, because it so perfectly illustrates all the points I already blogged and noted.

My responses are in bold, since he’s fisking my commentary.

And as usual, TPC proves my point by making random assumptions that aren’t true.

Another Christian falling prey to the idea that lifestyle-identity is great when it’s also idolatry.

Healthy living is now an idol. You heard it here first.

Yes the phrase “healthy lifestyle” is correlated with idolatry in the form of identifying with something that doesn’t require a distinct identity in the first place.  Pursuing more physical activity and eating wholesome foods should not be labelled “healthy lifestyle” because that is a consumerist view of the matter, which should be holistic for us Christians.

Going to a gym is not the only possible healthy lifestyle and the entire concept of healthy lifestyle is consumerist, not Christian. Living a life where physical activity is just part of life is the historical human norm and wealth means most people now have to spend money to live that way. But sneering at them for not adopting that particular mode of consumption (which in the case of this blogger happens to be self-serving “I work in the fitness industry”) is not exactly Christian or loving.

What consumption?
Gym membership? It’s certainly easy to work out at home. I’ve done it for years before.

It’s not easy to work out at home if you’re exhausted from a 3 hour roundtrip commute.  Or four kids under age 6.  Or taking care of your husband’s father with dementia and three kids under 5.  Or any number of other typical examples of what Christian families face as obstacles to working out even at home.  And that’s not getting into equipment (how to afford it and where to put it), since bodyweight exercises alone are not remotely enough to maintain physical capabilities into old age. Funny how these single men with no responsibilities always say the same old thing about how it’s soooooooo easy.  Yes, if you devote yourself to your idol, you mysteriously have plenty of time to spend worshipping your temple-body. 
Nutrition? It’s easy to buy cheap healthy foods if you look for sales, use your local co-op, and buy cheap starches like rice and potatoes. Eating junk food may be slightly more expensive at best, and is definitely more expensive in the long run when you run into health problems.

Cheap nutritious food requires a lot of cooking time, time which can’t be spent exercising and often not child-caring for the Christian SAHMs who tend to carry a little extra around.  People who home cook are sometimes quite fat despite using fresh ingredients and making everything from scratch.  And speaking of making random false assumptions, notice how Deep Strength is quick to assume I support or think people have to have junk foods, and how he also assumes a false binary between “junk food” and “cheap healthy food”.  He also assumes a co-op is readily available all over the country, in every county, city and town, which is a completely false assumption.  Most conservative Christian married couples with children (the people I am primarily concerned with and a big part of the group “Christians” Deep Strength was saying hatehatehate eating decently and being physically active) do not live where they have access to a co-op for food purchases in bulk.  

And I am not going to delve into the bitter hilarity of this single guy handwaving the logistics of shopping with little kids for bargains as “easy”.  

 
Ah, yes, working in the fitness industry is now “self serving.” I see where this is going.

Instead of “working in the fitness industry” helping people near him do more physical activity in their daily lives without going to a gym would be another option.

Already give free nutrition and training advice to those in the Church that ask for it.

“I hector people who need real solutions about how it’s super easy to work out and eat cheap nutritious food and then pat myself on the back for a job well done.  Wait, isn’t that what you said I did, but I got mad about the way you put it?”

Get back to us when you’re doing shopping trips, meal planning and cooking for the people who ask you for help.  Or when you’re giving them free personal training and spotting on equipment.  Or lending out exercise equipment you’ve moved beyond or aren’t currently using.  Or opening your home for people to come work out in, which is something that happens among men who don’t write screeds about how “Christians are allergic to health, except me!”

Mostly people have real obstacles to getting more physical activity, like working very long hours and/or care of others and living where it’s very difficult to do much physical stuff outside or inside.

Already give work-around advice, such as meal planning (mentioned above), brief workouts, bodyweight training, and motivation.

“I already SAID I HECTOR PEOPLE.  Isn’t that enough woman!”

This is particularly the case with Christians, who are more likely to be caring for little kids or old people, including the men.

Being “busy” is not mutually exclusive from being a good steward of your body. Another false dichotomy.

“Those people are obviously just lying about how hard it is to wrangle kids, get meals together that everyone in the house can eat and still find time to do physical activity for themselves.”  

It actually is very nearly mutually exclusive in a car-based society.  Which again, most Christians are stuck in.  I’m also quite upset by Deep Strength’s dismissal of real labor caring for the bodies of others with his sneering little quote marks.  Way to tell SAHMs how you really feel about their work as women, how valuable and womanly you think it is while promoting the notion that Christian women should want to do it.

Anyway I reblogged this because it’s an increasingly common knife jabbed in the ribcage of Christians by (usually single, childless, responsibility-free) men. I hope to do a bit more of a post later, we’ll see.

You know what responsibilities I do and don’t have… Interesting.
This is your only warning for being deliberately antagonistic and assuming evil of others. The next offense is a ban.

lol, just lol.   I think we’re done here.

 

Perhaps Deep Strength is out there shopping for ten SAHMs per week and doing childcare for their 35 children so they can all go to the gym as a group or something.  Or perhaps he’s organizing group cooking sessions of healthy cheap foods like the Mormons do with their canning centers.  

Somehow, though, I think someone who was concretely pushing against the major obstacles to healthier eating and physical activity would have written a very different post instead of “Christians are allergic to healthy lifestyles”.

But I’m just a housewife who tosses the occasional hay bale when my health permits and whose household typically eats locally produced meats, vegetables and produce, with very little grain consumption (we are a Primal household, to use a consumerist term to describe our overall diet).  And my children are in great physical shape and wear out all the adults around them and all the other children around them as well.  But the adults aren’t at that youthful level of vigor despite eating well and running around with them.  That’s my point, I guess.  We went to a lot of trouble to raise our kids somewhere that they could develop great habits and build a “lifestyle” if you will where being physically active and eating delicious healthy food was “my normal day after I wake up”.  And the costs for us and the many Christian families we know that made similar choices are that we can’t have that life for ourselves because there are things called learning curves, physical impacts of sitting in a car or on public transit for hours per day, and the idea that we’re all allergic to being as robust as our kids is the real evil-assuming.    

 

Whatever happened to respectable poverty?

One of the weirdnesses of American conservative life is the way in which everyone tries to label themselves middle class or even upper middle class no matter how low their actual station and income.  Conservatives, even the very devout Christian sort, really do seem to buy into the “temporarily embarrassed millionaire” self-image.  So the idea that poverty is sometimes a thing that can happen even to people who work hard and live clean is lost, even though as recently as the 1970s in America it was still a whisper here and there (mostly of course in the context of black Americans, but not exclusively).  Living among the poor sincerely and functionally, not on a temporary basis where you go back to your high-income zip code a year later (there are easily half a dozen pastors I can think of who have done that kind of thing and dozens of non-pastors who think it’s “missional living” to do it for a few months), is something worth more than getting into a good school district via scrimping.

Americans have always recoiled from respectable poverty and only grudgingly accepted its existence, but in post-America, it’s worth remembering that poverty is always going to be with us until the Lord returns, so having it be respectable is better than having it be unrespectable.

This is the very model of a bagatelle.

(Proper) Catechesis is love

What it says on the tin.

Proper catechesis is missing from most Christian practice, and it’s one of the reasons well-off Western Christians seem so hypocritical and awful to non-Christians looking in.  There are many ways to properly catechize people smart and stupid alike, but mostly they aren’t done or even considered important by all too many Christians, but it is important for Christians to receive proper catechesis and it is, simply, love.

5 reasons why it’s good (and traditional) for SAHMs to pay for housecleaning.

  1. Establishes a consistent and reliable baseline that suits your household.
  2. Helps train you, the SAHM, in the classic art of delegation. Delegating frees a SAHM up to do more complex organizational tasks and decorating to make the house more of a home.  Modelling specialization is healthy and a sign of civilization.
  3. Makes it easier to teach the children basics of housecleaning because you aren’t worn out from constant maintenance/fire-putting-out cleaning.  SAHMs who try to do it all have a much harder time raising children who have any experience with household chores.  The kids just get used to watching Mamma drudge through everything.
  4. Provides employment and builds community relations by keeping money in the community and by not being as strict an employer/employee setup, but something more casual and with the opportunity to build acquaintance and properly ordered mingling of social classes.
  5. Shows the children there are many ways to make a living that are respectable and decent paying and strikes a tiny but noticeable blow at the modern cult of the makework desk job as only “real” job.

6 shocking facts about abortion both pro-lifers and pro-choicers never mention.

  1. About 67% of all reported abortions happen before 8 weeks gestation.
  2. Nearly 40% of all reported abortions happen before 6 weeks gestation.
  3. 92% of all reported abortions happen before 13 weeks gestation.  This means the overwhelming majority of reported abortions happen long before a woman is likely to feel movement and often before the sac is detectable by ultrasound.
  4. Surgical abortion, even at 6 weeks gestation, remains the norm, with nearly 75% of reported abortions before 13 weeks gestation terminated via invasive surgical procedures.  Keep in mind many of these surgeries are being done when the embryonic development is difficult to even detect reliably via ultrasound, which means an unknown percentage of women are undergoing risky, invasive surgery for what might not even be a viable pregnancy or even a pregnancy at all.  Luteal cysts and chemical pregnancies can sometimes trigger a positive pregnancy test before 6 weeks gestation, as can unviable pregnancies that would have naturally miscarried early at 7-9 weeks gestation.  This is why even pro-choice people should support transvaginal ultrasound confirmation of pregnancy before performing such early abortions.
  5. New York City alone represents about 25% of the black reported abortion rate.
  6. The “abortion access gap” is that black women’s abortion rates before 6 weeks are about 10 percentage points lower than white, Hispanic or other-ethnic women.  But there is no significant gap after 13 weeks.  Thus, all races of women have a reported abortion rate for the first trimester around the 92% figure cited above.  Needless to say, this is not how pro-choice people report the data.

All of these facts are based on the CDC’s abortion surveillance data.  That is why I use the term “reported abortions”, as California and some other areas have not chosen to report their data for a very long time, so we can only rely on what is reported.  The abortion rate is also decreasing across all racial groups, independent of abortion providers closing down.  There is some correlation, but not to the extent usually portrayed by abortion activists and mainstream media.  But the references for that come from multiple sources, some of which are pro-life, and I am not so good at chartifying data these days.

The takeaways here should be that women are getting abortions very, very, very early on, about as soon as the stick shows positive. For pro-lifers, this means that persuading women to stay pregnant just seven weeks instead of six would slash abortion rates by nearly 40%.  Get women to stay pregnant for nine weeks and now the majority of all abortions have been eradicated.  About 500k children would be born who’d have been aborted otherwise.

There is, however, no easy way to get this to happen.  The way to persuade women to stay pregnant once they’ve made a regrettable decision to fornicate (85% of reported abortions are obtained by unmarried women) pretty much involves actually being part of her life as a member of her social group.  There’s also the difficult work of persuading women that a little comfort with a guy who you don’t think will help raise the baby is maybe not worth the bother.  Celibacy also reduces abortion.  There is some inferential evidence that culture-wide, women are in fact just having less sex rather than continuing to have sterile sex that turns out to not be so sterile after all.

Another takeaway is that the pro-choice claims that women can’t get abortions or that “80 percent of counties in America have no abortion provider”  are very, very, very misleading.  The focus on second trimester and later abortions is purposeful misdirection from the fact that even poor black women and poor rural women can find their way to an abortion provider long before the second trimester arrives. One should also question how much they care about women’s health given their insistence that confirming there’s a pregnancy at all is woman-hating or a form of rape or, well, you can google their feels about transvaginal ultrasounds and see for yourself.

I’m not pro-choice or pro-life.  I’m pro-woman.  In the benighted hellholes known as Germany, France, Italy and Sweden (to name just a few countries), abortion is greatly restricted compared to American laws, the rooms have to be spotless and the procedure usually must be done in a real hospital.  They also have lower per capita abortion rates, deaths from abortion are a memory rather than an annual occurrence and the women’s health statistics are better overall.  Funny how that works.

Pregnant Pause

I’ve dropped any schedule for this blog until further notice.  I like this blog, I think it’s profitable to post the things that I post, but I have limited energy and it’s better served for now doing more offline stuff as best I can.  So I may post now and again, or I may leave this thing idle for months or weeks at a time.  I may turn up to comment here and there, but mostly I’m just taking pressure off myself to fret, since I could fret for the gold medal if it were an Olympic event.

I continue to hope and pray that more conservatives become serious about normal living and undertake the painful and necessary steps to help make it more likely for their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren (yep, it might just take that long).  I also more importantly hope and pray that the Christian conservatives specially might put on the holy armor of Our Lord and be the best Christians grace grants them the strength and perseverance to be.  It is hard out there, we are being persecuted in America and the wider West.  But we must pray for those who are actually being martyred right now for Christ and not forget that we can still worship in public spaces and carry Bibles around freely.  We still have it and we can still use it.

It’s hard to remember sometimes that the bolder in Christ we are, the worse it will go for us with the secular world.  If we do excommunicate adulterers and don’t bake wedding cakes for multiple divorcees and refuse chemical and physical birth control except for the direst medical need, it will not be easier.  If we teach our children the Narrow Way, the True Word, public schools will not rejoice and cheer us on in the PTA.  If we hold fast to what is lovely, true and real, things will not be light and cheerful.  The secular world will not go “How amazing to see you live your values, it’s so wonderful you are living near each other, building communities of blood, Christ and love, working with and supporting each other in economic, spiritual and collective ways!”

They would instead start looking longingly at the countries that kill Christians.  But we could yet count it all joy, for it would be, then.

Why the working poor don’t just save up for a car while eating beans and rice

Conservatives are notorious, and rightly so, for generally dismissing the working poor as “low time-preference” or “unwilling to do what it takes to get out of poverty”.  This comes in the form of ridiculous statements very similar to the title of this post.  

The working poor can’t save up enough for a reliable car while taking very unreliable public transit, which is all that’s available in most parts of America.  A reliable car, in my experience in both high and low COL areas, costs about $2500 in cash.  That is the lowest reasonable amount to guarantee a low maintenance, sub 100k mile car that is reliable for someone with little mechanical knack.  Most working poor can save about $200 per month on paychecks from two part-time jobs totalling $1500-2000 per month.  This means it would take about a year to save up enough to get that reliable car.

Problem is, I just noted the public transit they have to use to get to work isn’t reliable.  So what happens is that many working poor hold multiple jobs concurrently, constantly swapping in a new part-time job to replace the one they lost not due to “bad attitude” or any of the other loving, Christian terms conservatives throw around, but due to being late one too many times when public transit is flaky.  They mostly can’t get full-time jobs for this reason, and part-time jobs vary in tolerating the episodic lateness of public transit, often kicking the worker to the curb after a few months.  Well, if you can’t even reliably make that $1500-2000 a month because you’re always hustling for a new second or third job, you can’t save the $200/month consistently either.

Further, because of the commute logistics, it’s very difficult to even manage crockpot cooking with the scheduling flux and transportation instability.  So the working poor eat a lot of quick food even when they have cooking skills because it’s safer and more consistent.

Conservatives should spend more time thinking through the situations people are actually in when making bootstrap arguments.  No, every working poor person is not some brave single mother of three working nine jobs.  But many are single adults working two or three jobs as often as they can take a bus to them and struggling to have more than a few hundred dollars put by because without saner transit solutions, it’s extremely difficult to get to a financial level that permits them to purchase a reliable enough car to get more stable part-time or be eligible for full-time jobs with better prospects.  And no, it’s not easier to lug 100 pounds of beans and rice home and crockpot them up.  That is a favorite of conservatives, the imaginary poor person who easily can carry a 50lb sack of beans and a 50lb sack of rice home via public transit.

A great many conservatives have a veil of sweet amnesia over the frankly better circumstances they had if they were once working poor and this leads them to create all sorts of bizarre and mean motives for the working poor remaining so when the reality is often quite ordinary.  Reality is biased, just not in a conservative or liberal direction.