Powerlifters for Christ | Sojourners

Powerlifters for Christ

The whey, the truth, and the life.
 A cartoony illustration of muscled white man, bald and completely shaven, wearing a green sweatshirt as he lifts up a tiny deadlift bar. He's closing his eyes and grinning as light shines on his face from clouds above him.
Illustration by Melanie Lambrick

I LIFT WEIGHTS and I am a Christian, which means every day I have to ignore the norms of what makes a “good Christian” and a “fit person” and instead follow my own compass and live how I choose. But what if I didn’t? What if instead, through the power of televangelism and protein powder, I turned into the pinnacle of both conservative Christianity and weightlifting culture: a white male Incredible Hulk, a powerlifter for Christ?

What follows is a dispatch from the alternate reality in which this transformation occurred. Look upon it with awe and dread. Don’t let this happen to you.

I AM A POWERLIFTER for Christ. My reps and my PRs ascend to the highest heaven. My delts are for the Divine, my pecs for the Promised Land, my triceps for the Trinity. (Truly I tell you, this makes my triceps confusing.)

Were you to ask: “Do you lift His name on high?” I would answer, “Yes, my brother in Christ, bring it in.” And we would embrace like true godly men, slapping each other’s backs to remind each other and ourselves that we are violent and therefore heterosexual.

It is written (upon my workout shirts): “Reps for Jesus,” “Hallowed Be Thy Gains,” “Jesus Lifts.” So, to you I must ask: Wherefore art thy gains?

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The cover for Sojourners' August 2023 issue, called "The Paradox of Poverty." Small figurines of a white couple in fancy garbs stand on top of a tall stack of silver and gold coins. There are other figurines below working by carrying around dollar bills.
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