Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Churches Embrace MMA

From the NY Times:

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.

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.

What do you think?


Geeklet said...

Christian faith and the martial arts can co-exist, and co-exist happily, as can surely be proven by the many faithful practicing martial artists in this world.

However, I find the whole concept of combining mixed martial arts and Christianity (of whatever flavor,) to be a perversion of the Christian message, and a misuse of the martial arts in general.

Yes, Jesus fought - but not in a physically violent manner. The only physically violent behavior of Jesus in the Gospels, so far as I am aware, is the turning of the tables in the temple. I think it is important to note that, out of four Gospels, only one instance of violence is mentioned and it is only mentioned in a singular account (that being in John.)

Matthew 5:39 states, "But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also."

From this passage, we can deduce a message of non-violence.

Matthew 5:9 states, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."

Peacemakers. Do peacemakers glorify violence? Do peacemakers injure others or scream, "Finish the fight! To the head, to the head!"? Doesn't sound peace-ish to me.

Matthew 5:5 states, "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth."

Ah, but these mixed martial arts Christians seem to argue that gentleness is not a masculine virtue. Their real virtues are violence, fighting and war.

I will not argue that Christianity does not use the language of war - both in the Biblical text and in its traditions ("the church triumphant and the church militant", for example,) but I would argue that the war is not with an outside enemy - the war is internal. Satan and demons aside (for I cannot even begin to explain that not all Christians believe these to be actual beings; such a discussion is for another time and place,) it is a war against the self and the self's fallen nature and inclination towards sinfulness. It is a war against injustice - and you cannot reach justice and peace via unjust (read: violent,) means.

Their other virtue is masculinity for itself. Nevermind that masculinity has had various meanings over time; we are dealing with the modern pseudo-traditional and reactionary masculinity which has become commonplace since the 1970's. This masculinity is anti-feminine and misogynistic.

The meekness, gentleness and pacifism espoused by Christianity are lost on men who think they are being attacked by women. Their reaction is to grip to something that is very clearly on the opposite end of the gender behavior spectrum, which is something violent - and they have clung to mixed martial arts. Because obviously - as you and I both know - women simply cannot practice the martial arts. (I'd really like to see someone say that to your face, by the way.)

Erroneous, yes, but this is the church's new "all boy's club". Because girls have cooties, and those cooties come only in pastel.

Oh, but they also forgot something else, that being a passage from Galatians.

Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

Oops, I guess that whole dichotomous boys vs. girls thing gets kicked in the mud.

I am just going to continue to be baffled by the "girls as the enemy" thing going on in the churches right now. I will also continue to be irritated at the glorification of violence in Christianity.

I think, in the end, there's a very different spirit to what Christians who happen to practice the martial arts do, as compared to this very odd Christian, hyper-masculine, anti-women mixed martial arts wreck.

I'm done. >.>

SueC said...

Sounds like this church has lost its way and is clutching at straws to gain popularity!

John Vesia said...

A while back I posted about some MMA school selling t-shirts with Christ dragging the cross with the caption "Jesus Didn't Tap." Even if you don't see that as blasphemous it's utterly inane.