Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Mixed Martial Arts: Go Team Cho!

In a zany attempt to reach a young male audience and to baptize the culture of brutality, today's New York Times has an article about a growing number of evangelical churches who sponsor and legitimize mixed martial arts as a way of reaching young men who are turned off by the "feminization" of the church. They cite pastors who say that Jesus was a "fighter" for what was right which allows them to bloody each other with their fists and feet!
Then, midway in the article our own Eugene Cho is quoted as an opposing voice, saying that he does not worship a Jesus who beats people up! Yeah Eugene!
What this article shows is the weak theological underbelly of evangelical attempts to evangelize with the culture, but getting consumed by the culture instead of transforming it. We should commend the intention, but reject the product. Go Team Cho!


At 11:11 AM , Blogger ed said...

Did anyone say "compromise?"

At 5:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Feodor Emelianenko, widely regarded as the best in the MMA world is an Orthodox Christian.

Feodor: “I try to get a blessing before all important things, including my fights. God willing, my spiritual father[Archpriest] Andrei Zinoviev will make the trip [to fight in Thailand] with me.”

Probably the most famous Orthodox Christian in the American sports arena is Troy Polamalu (Steelers).

Polamalu: “This life that I struggle to live, I try to do so in the eyes of my spiritual father [Elder Ephraim of St. Anthony’s Monastery].”

Each of these Orthodox athletes are in obedience to their spiritual fathers.

Their faith and humility inform them as men who just happen to be professional athletes.

The Evangelical MMA practitioners seem to be striving to have their faith (and apparently their very manhood) conform to the image of the MMA fighter.

Big difference.

Living out the Orthodox Christian faith is a life of ascesis, struggle against sin and evil in the world. I remember seeing the back of one of Feodor’s t-shirts that had a drawing of him choking out (with a rear naked choke) a dragon. In the Holy Scriptures, the dragon is a representation of the devil.

Living out the faith Evangelical-MMA style is apparently about being a fighter, showing the world that one is a “winner” by beating or choking a fellow human being into submission.

Big difference.

Orthodox Christianity has lots fighting words to live by..just two examples:

“The true Christian is a warrior making his way through the regiments of the invisible enemy to reach his heavenly homeland.”
– St. Herman of Alaska

“In every battle with the enemy, you must emerge victorious. Either die in the struggle,or win with God. There is no other road.”
– Elder Joseph the Hesychast

Maybe someday these unmanned Evangelical MMAers will to learn to fight in an Orthodox manner like Feodor and Troy.

At 6:35 PM , Blogger ed said...

I'm confused... Would someone please explain to me what "Anonymous" is saying in the body of his long post?

At 7:37 AM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

Whew! Got me!


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