An interesting article in the New York Times recently:
Flock Is Now a Fight Team in Some Ministries
A pertinent excerpt:
"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 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.”
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.”"
Promote kindness and compassion? Heaven Forbid!
Is it me, or are they just getting stupider?
Now I don't have anything against Mixed Martial Arts. I took karate for years, off and on, along with other styles of self-defense, and I enjoyed them very much and got a lot out of them as a person. That isn't the issue here.
These churches are choosing to attract young people, immature people, with an immature message of violence and agression. They are using the appeal of machismo to attract young people who don't know any better, when they should be teaching them to control these immature impulses and lead a more loving and peaceful life. Ironically, most really good martial arts schools would never consider trying an appeal to juvenile machismo in an attempt to increase their membership They have too much integrity, which is why they're the really good schools in the first place. Martial arts, at it's core, is more about attaining inner balance, the Yin and the Yang, than it is about kicking ass and taking names.
I guess the churches figured that they'd appeal to the dark side of people in order to bring them into the light or whatever. Great idea; in order to appeal to the unevolved personality, devolve yourself down to their level instead of attempting to inspire them to rise to yours. Too bad this totally negates the very meaning of their existence as followers of Jesus Christ like it does and all, but hey, business is booming, so who cares?