Wasn’t Jesus Christ a pacifist? I’m amused by this story I found in the New York Times that pretty much contradicts whatever people claim Jesus talked about.
Down Tennessee way is something called Xtreme Ministries and they’re using martial arts as a way to demonstrate love for the Lord. The school/church motto is Where Feet, Fist and Faith Collide.
Mr. Renken’s ministry is one of a small but growing number of evangelical churches that have embraced mixed martial arts — a sport with a reputation for violence and blood that combines kickboxing, wrestling and other fighting styles — to reach and convert young men, whose church attendance has been persistently low.
Sounds fun. I guess I’m too girly to see the thrill of making a sport out of kicking heads until they bleed.
Recruitment efforts at the churches, which are predominantly white, involve fight night television viewing parties and lecture series that use ultimate fighting to explain how Christ fought for what he believed in. Other ministers go further, hosting or participating in live events.
Going by all that was chosen to preserve, I think it’d be more true to say Christ fought with rhetoric, something which seems like a lost skill these days. He fought with words and deeds, not violence.
The goal, these pastors say, is to inject some machismo into their ministries — and into the image of Jesus — in the hope of making Christianity more appealing. “Compassion and love — we agree with all that stuff, too,” said Brandon Beals, 37, the lead pastor at Canyon Creek Church outside of Seattle. “But what led me to find Christ was that Jesus was a fighter.”
Maybe if they didn’t paint the man like a long haired hippie all the time and let the world know he had a penis they wouldn’t have this problem now.
The outreach is part of a larger and more longstanding effort on the part of some ministers who fear that their churches have become too feminized, promoting kindness and compassion at the expense of strength and responsibility.
“The man should be the overall leader of the household,” said Ryan Dobson, 39, a pastor and fan of mixed martial arts who is the son of James C. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, a prominent evangelical group. “We’ve raised a generation of little boys.”
Sure, and blame single moms for that while you’re at it. Oh wait, they do:
“You have a lot of troubled young men who grew up without fathers, and they’re wandering and they’re hopeless and they’re lousy dads themselves and they’re just lost,” said Paul Robie, 54, a pastor at South Mountain Community Church in Draper, Utah.
Learning how to kick the crap out of someone makes them better parents? Somehow I doubt that one. Tennessee, Utah, Seattle – this mixed martial arts religious movement is all over the place, apparently.
Paul Burress, 35, a chaplain and fight coach at Victory Baptist Church in Rochester, said mixed martial arts had given his students a chance to work on body, soul and spirit. “Win or lose, we represent Jesus,” he said. “And we win most of the time.”
And of course winning is everything. Winning hearts and minds through violence. Can a nice message really be found under all that blood?
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