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Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Jogging With Jesus" Author Teaches Wives the "Nutcracker Technique" of Husband Improving

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 7:00 AM

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Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from Golden State thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.

Jogging With Jesus

Author: C.S. Lovett

Date: 1978

Publisher: Personal Christianity, Baldwin Park, CA

Question Raised by This Cover: Can God make a tracksuit so retro-awesome even He's not cool enough for it?

Representative Quote:

"When it all becomes routine, Satan will try to end your 'jogging with Jesus.' He knows what it means to the Lord and he will do all he can to deny the Lord this pleasure."

Here's a lesser trinity worth some contemplation. Jogging With Jesus, C.S. Lovett's upbeat goof of an exercise manual, somehow manages to be three contradictory things all at once: ridiculously dated, weirdly contemporary, and sublimely timeless.

At least, its design is all of this. Check out the book's title page:

click to enlarge studies_in_crap_jogging_with_jesus_inside.jpg
Today, that could either be a hipster's t-shirt or a sunny ad in the church bulletin. Here, Lovett has managed a miracle: A book so perfectly of its time that it looks like the work of graphic designers today making fun of that time. If I happened upon that image online rather than in the pages of Lovett's book, I would presume it had been crowd-sourced by Reddit.

Mostly, the 1970s were less spare than that perfect image above. And they were much more strange, too, as you can see in these illustrations of Lovett's best jogging advice:

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When jogging, you should be a box turtle rather than a giant-footed Roy Orbison-looking were-rabbit.

As those cartoons suggest, Lovett was perhaps the most cheerful of '70s evangelical authors. Rather than envision the horrible, corpsey end times and Christbots of Salem Kirban, or complain about the stinkiness of vaginas a la Tim LaHaye, sunny ol' Lovett penned practical, you-can-do-it advice for Christians engaged in what he saw as life's greatest struggle: Satan's plan to make you fat.

Yes, you. Personally.

To that end, Lovett wrote both Jogging With Jesus and the Studies in Crap classic Help, Lord! The Devil Wants Me Fat! Lovett believed that any time your mind gets restless hands reach up from Hell itself and start monkeying there. Let's say one day you don't feel like jogging:

"After a month or so has gone by, you could find yourself thinking 'Hey, this is getting to be a drag.' That would be Satan."
Lovett's jogging advice is sound: Start slow, track your pulse, invest in good shoes, and above all keep moving. His how-to-shake-the-devil-from-your-brain advice, however, I leave to you:
"Every time the devil drops a boredom bomb, let that be a SIGNAL TO YOUR SPIRIT. Head for the 'rendezvous Room.'

Here's a little more explanation:

"Are you familiar with the SECRET PLACE? We all have one. It's a room in your imagination where you meet the Lord. Sort of a RENDEZVOUS ROOM. ... With your eyes open you can discipline yourself to go into the SECRET PLACE AND SHUT THE DOOR. And have a great time with the Lord!"

(Back before the internet, young boys knew that the Rendezvous Room was were dads usually hid their Playboys.)

Here Lovett shows how it works:

click to enlarge studies_in_crap_jogging_with_jesus_close_eyes.jpg

"But Lovett!" you might say. "Can't you express that same idea in some way that is more perfectly, hilariously of the 1970s?"

Yes, he can:

click to enlarge studies_in_crap_jogging_with_jesus_vision_jesus.jpg

But what if the devil has tricked her into thinking about Kenny Loggins instead?


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Unequally Yoked Wives

Author: C.S. Lovett

Date: 1968

Publisher: Personal Christianity

Representative Quote:

"Take a walnut. Now pick up a nutcracker and squeeze. 'Craccck!' That's the way to deal with an unsaved husband. Put him in the nutcracker and squeeze."

While Jogging With Jesus somehow brings the cosmic battle between good and evil to your high school's track, Lovett's 1968 screed Unequally Yoked Wives concerns an even deadlier struggle: That between Christian women and their husbands' walnuts.

Next: The Nutcracker Technique, in photos!

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Alan Scherstuhl


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