If all you know about evangelical Christian churches is their Walmart-sized buildings, or their emphasis on material riches, or their services that can rival a Pink Floyd laser light show, you might get the impression that their focus is more worldly than spiritual.
That’s certainly the impression I get, and an article I read the other day didn’t do much to change my kind.
The article – in that snooty New York Times – was about what the Gray Lady called a small but growing number of evangelical churches that are using mixed martial arts to attract and convert followers – especially young dudes, who find the whole peace and love thing kinda, you know, girly.
Pastors of these flocks say they’re just to trying put a little hair on their ministries’ chests — and on the image of Jesus — in the hopes of making Christianity more appealing. Brandon Beals, lead pastor of such a church in Seattle, was quoted as saying. “Compassion and love — we agree with all that stuff, too. But what led me to find Christ was that Jesus was a fighter.”
Jesus as fighter is news to me. I’m certainly not the best guy to ask, but I seem to recall Jesus being called the Prince of Peace, not the Nazarene Head-Knocker
Recruitment efforts at these churches, which are – and here’s a surprise – predominantly white, use ultimate fighting to explain how Christ fought for what he believed in. While he may have fought in a figurative sense, I doubt that he ever body-slammed anyone – not even those Pharisees, who were practically begging for an ass-kicking, you ask me.
If churches can find a tie-in between Ultimate Fighting and man from Galilee, and do it with a straight face, I have some other great ideas to fill their parking lots. Jesus drank wine – indeed, he was a bit of a wine-maker in his own right – so why not introduce Keg Night? Granted, there is no record of Jesus doing beer bongs, but neither is there any account of him strapping on a cup and stepping into the Octagon O’ Death. But talk about boosting attendance!
Or, if you really want to bring in the guys, here’s a stellar idea: pole dancing! In the spirit of keepin’ it Biblical, you could substitute a pillar of salt for the pole, and have the guys pay for lap dances with 30 pieces of silver instead of twenties. The line would be out the door – trust me.