, Gloucester, MA


January 30, 2013

Midweek Musings: Keeping our lives in 'alignment'

I recently began to read a book on running that was given to me by a friend at Christmas.

For better or worse, running has been an activity that I have pursued fairly passionately for over 40 years, beginning when the Converse All Stars my daughters now wear as a fashion statement were the basic running shoe of choice. Mercifully, my high school coach soon pointed me to a pair of Adidas that had recently hit the market and my case of shin splints was quickly healed.

Unfortunately, I’ve learned that the word “injury,” and the phrase “quickly healed,” don’t go together as well when one passes the age of fifty, regardless of the fancy new footwear one might try. So, I was interested to read the following assessment, by the author of my Christmas present — a fellow by the name of Danny Dreyer — in the introduction to his book “ChiRunning.”

Dreyer’s opening statement, directed to the estimated 65 percent of runners who get at least one injury per year that interrupts their training, is this: “Running does not hurt your body. It’s the way you run that does the damage and causes pain.”

It is not my intention to bore you with those details — especially those of you who believe that runners are basically nutty to begin with. But I do want to share that as I mused upon these various details of proper alignment, it occurred to me that having a proper alignment is critical, not only to run well but to live well. And to live well, we must focus not only on our physical, but also our spiritual, alignment.

What does healthy spiritual alignment look like? Dreyer, in his subtitle, calls his method for running well “a revolutionary approach.”

Over the years, I’ve learned that the most revolutionary approach to living well has been brought to us by a fellow named Jesus. This master summed up his approach with these very aligning words: “repent” and “follow me.” We find them spoken at the very beginning of his public ministry (e.g., Mark 1:15, 17). Since we all need to live well, allow me to put a little flesh on these life-giving words.

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