Freak among the Freaks
by Keith Henry III
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They say that if you want to become something that you should hang out with like-minded people and I had desired to become a bodybuilder since the latter part of my teen years. Arnold and Lou were my idols, but it was not possible for me to work out with those guys so I sought out a bodybuilding gym. One day I came across a little, run down, hole in the wall gym downtown. The gym sign flickered intermittently, the paint, what was left of it, on the exterior walls was aged. The parking lot had a handful of cars in it; a few old trucks and a couple muscle cars. Standing outside, looking through the windows was a small group of young kids. I could hear them whispering as they peered through the window, “Look at those freaks”. I knew this was the place I had been looking for.
It was just another day at the gym, one of the six that I spent training there each week. The weights clattered, the smell of sweaty, exhausted bodybuilders filled the air, and the occasional grunt of one last rep could be heard from across the room. It was the relaxing, inspirational ambience of the small, bodybuilder gym that drew me back every day; it was what brought us all back. On this day however an event would happen that I would never forget. I was on my last set of bench presses; down to my last three reps when my concentration was broken. It was not a loud noise or shouting that distracted me, but it was dead silence. All the weights in the building had stopped making their familiar clanking noise. I pushed through the repetition I was in and seated the heavy bar on its stand. As I rose from the bench I noticed that the gym was empty, my partner had even left me mid rep. In the corner, where the dumbbells were kept, I noticed that every member in the gym had gathered.
I sprang from the bench with curiosity and hustled over to the crowd. Being the smallest guy in the gym I was unable to see through the mob. Wondering what the spectacle was I pushed my way to the front. There it/he was; standing in the middle of the semi circle of bodybuilders. It was a “freak”; suddenly I remembered those youths standing at the window and I understood how they must have felt as they looked in through the window at us. In each of the “freak’s hands he held a 100 lbs dumbbell which he obviously must have blown the dust off of because they were so rarely used by even the biggest man in the gym. Effortlessly the “freak” swung each dumbbell to his chest alternating arms. I heard somebody in the crowd say “15” as he finished his reps and sat the weights back on the rack.
The “freak” was twice as big as any bodybuilder in the gym and obviously twice as strong. Though many of the men in the gym had devoted themselves to bodybuilding and had been at it for years none could compare to the enormity of the “freak”. His impromptu weight lifting clinic lasted an hour, the initial crowd had long sense dispersed, but none of us could stop watching his incredible feats of strength which were his normal workout. I had recognized him as a professional wrestler who was in town for a show, but I could not help think that here was a “freak among the freaks”. People stared through our gym window and pointed at the “freaks” inside, we stood in awe of one of us whom we considered a “freak”.
Occasionally I would tell the story of the “freak among the freaks” to impress people, but my bodybuilding days were over. I married and had children and found a new focus for my life. I became reacquainted with God; actually I like to tell people “I finally decided to obey Him” and had begun to facilitate a couple small group studies at our church. It was during one of these studies that the focus of my ministry was placed into my heart; Hyperspirituality. It was during this study that my story of the “freak among the freaks” became relevant in my life.
“Are you afraid of becoming a little Hyperspiritual or something”, I had probably read that sentence ten times in my lifetime. It was a sentence found in one of my favorite books, “How to be a Christian without being Religious” by Fritz Ridenour. I remember picking the book off the shelf at our local Christian Book Store and thinking that I had finally found proof that I did not have to go to church every week as my mother said. Of course the book did not suggest such a thing, but was a study on the book of Romans that would form my Christianity; especially that word Hyperspirituality. That word rattled around in my head for days. I studied the chapter in “How to be a Christian without Being Religious” where Hyperspirituality was used over and over again searching for its definition. I looked in the Bible and searched the internet, but I could not find a suitable definition until God reminded me of the story of the “freak among the freaks”. “Are you afraid to become a “freak among the freaks” or something”; I had found my definition; I found my calling.
I have considered myself a Christian since I was 15 years old meaning that I said the prayer acknowledging and confessing my sins and professing that Jesus died on the Cross for my sins and I had the reassurance that I would one day go to heaven. I became very active in my church, I began reading the Word; I was doing the Christian thing. Then the excitement and joy of learning about God disappeared almost as suddenly as it had arrived and I found myself back in the world. I looked around and saw that many of the other Christians lived with one foot in the world and one in the spiritual; living their daily lives the way they chose and showing up for church on Sunday morning to make themselves feel better about it. If asked, I was always a Christian; my belief in Jesus and God never left me, I tried, most of the time, to do the right thing and live an upright life. I was Christian enough to be considered a “freak” because of my beliefs. I had resigned myself to the belief that I would get to heaven by showing up on Sundays and by being a good man; and that was good enough for me. Then Hyperspirituality happened and I took the “next step” in my Christian walk.
I have tried for years to nail down the perfect definition of Hyperspirituality and every time I return to “a freak among the freaks”. My book “Hyperspirituality” (still in the works) is loosely based off of John Wesley’s “A Plain Account of Christian Perfection” the book and his sermon on the subject. My understanding of Christian Perfection with my simple mind is that as Christians we have been made perfect through the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross; Jesus’ death on the Cross washed away all of our sins, removed all of our sins, threw them into the deepest depths of the ocean, and they were forgotten about never to be brought up again. Because of this sacrifice we therefore have been made perfect (this perfection thing is a whole other article). Wesley called this Christian Perfection, I call it Hyperspirituality, the preachers, teachers, and theologians call it Christian maturity, or Positional Christianity (meaning we will become perfect upon arrival to heaven). Whatever it is called the point that Hyperspirituality makes is that there is in fact another level of Christianity; a level which as Ridenour suggested many of us are “afraid to become” and that level is Hyperspirituality.
The author of Hebrews tells us that we should “move on towards perfection” The Apostle Paul wrote the church in Philippi saying, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Philippians 3:12. Jesus reminds us to “be holy as your Father in Heaven is Holy”. Hyperspirituality is embracing the perfection given to us through the blood of Christ and moving constantly forward to “take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me”. The question again is, “are you afraid of becoming a little Hyperspiritual or something?”
The Hyperspiritual journey is not an easy one, therefore, like a bodybuilder disciplines his physical body to go above and beyond, we, the Hyperspiritual, Discipline our spiritual body in order to “take hold” of the prize. We Discipline ourselves through the Discipline of the Word, the Discipline of Prayer, the Discipline of Humility, the Discipline of Faith, and the Discipline of Love; which again are articles for another day and chapters in my book which I hope and pray is finished soon. “Are you afraid to become a little Hyperspiritual or something?” It is a big step and a huge leap of faith, but as Christians we are commanded to take that “next step” in our Christianity and “move on toward perfection (Hyperspirituality). I pray that I see you along the straight and narrow walking forward on to the goal. For more about living a Hyperspiritual life check out the Hyperspiritual Blog found on my webpage at Stop2Pray.com.
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