A few years ago I wrote an article about some churches which were having stick fighting and other such events to show that Christian men could “man up.”One participant lost an eye, but was fine with that because it proved he was a man.
Recently I read about Christian martial arts. I’m not taking about black belts or other martial arts that teach discipline, as well as self defense. I’m talking about cage fighting for the fun of it. Or should I say the “Christlikeness of it”, according to the leaders of the movement.
Here’s a few quotes from those involved. John Renken, leader of Xtream Ministries near Nashville, prayed with his fighters at a Memphis match and then encouraged them with, “To the head! To the head! Hard punches!” One of his fighters came away with a broken ankle. .
Some events are billed as Fighting Pastors, where pastors (?) from competing groups fight each other. Of course, there are hugs all around after the fight. Well, maybe not hugs, that might seem too girlish.
Out west in Seattle, at the Canyon Creek Church, Brandon Beals, says, “What lead me to find Christ was that Jesus was a fighter.” One of his flock, a Mr Thompson, said, “Once I accepted Christ in my life, I realized that a person can fight for good.” I think Mr Thompson has that “good” in the wrong category. They like to quote where Paul told Timothy to “Fight the good fight.” That shows the depth of their theology.
Tom Skiles of Spirit of Saint Louis Church remembers church as the place “The men fell asleep.” I wonder who is stronger, men who fall asleep in church, or women who don’t? I’ll bet no one fell asleep during the crucifixion of Jesus.
Okey, what is machismo? The definition is “strong or aggressive masculine pride.” So I’m supposed to be proud of something over which I had no control or choice? Am I supposed to believe that by some ordained wonder I was born male rather then female? Is there a term for strong or feminine pride? If there is it is probably unprintable.
So what does it mean to be a man, and a man of God? Of course, there are cultural ideas, most of which are based on primitive views of male superiority. But when it comes to real strength it has nothing to do with muscles. In fact, one proponent said men are acting too much like women. I’m not sure what he meant by that, but I’m sure he wasn’t talking about Rhonda Rousey, who I’m sure could beat most male fighters and could embarrass any Christian male fighter. She’s also a very attractive woman. She’s the blond in the newer Hardies’ commercial. Rhonda will not fight men. They should be thankful.
Research will also find people of real Christlike strength, including a long list of both men and women that a puff of good wind could blow away. I have no idea how Jesus was built, or how strong he was. The nature of his time would make him fit and able to cope with his culture and surroundings. Did those who wrote about him ever make reference to his masculine strength? No. According to Mark, Jesus was so weak after his beating that he couldn’t carry the cross, or crossbeam. Does that mean he was frail? No. It just means he was no Rocky, or perhaps Mel Gibson..
This is not about physical strength. That is an attainment though dedication and hard work. That’s a good thing and the results can be both beneficial and rather amazing, regardless the sport. The question is, does that define the value of the person? The answer to that is no. That’s the rub with “maning up” being equated with physical strength. It, perhaps unintentionally, defines the person’s worth based on physical ability rather than on mental and moral fiber. Can there be both? Of course. But when physical prowess defines worth, where does that leave the rest? If I’m a male member of a cage-fighting church and I have no desire to do that, am I less a man than those who find the need to prove their manhood in so doing?
There is also and underlying, sometimes spoken, elevation of macho-men over those who are not. Comments like James Dobson’s son, who said, “We’ve raised a generation of little boys” is a good example. By the way, if you’ve seen James Dobson, he’s no macho man.
CONCERNS: Richard Crites is now being cared for at home. Visits are welcome, but call first. Jeff Bland is still healing from knee surgery. Melanie Gentry, Alisa Flora’s sister is critically ill with a yet undiagnosed illness. Betty Voss, Joni Beach’s mother, also her aunt, Pat Voss, as well as her niece, Jamie Cole. Roger Fisher’s brother, Woody, Jim Hunter, Wayne Phlegar, Bill Albert’s son, David. Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas, Kim Hall’s friend, Mary, (MS) Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson, Gil Greenwood, Stephanie Rigney, Deana McRoy, Jenni Cullum, her friend, Sean, Diana Sparrow and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD: SEPT. 7-12
Monday: Daniel 5:17-28
Tuesday: Matthew 13:44-54
Wednesday: I Samuel 17:41-54
Thursday: Psalm 70: 1-5
Friday: Matthew 7:13-29
Saturday: Psalm 1:1-15
OUR DAILY BREAD: SEPT. 14-19
Monday: Exodus 3:1-15
Tuesday: Matthew 9:14-34
Wednesday: Ecclesiastes 12:1-14
Thursday: II Corinthians 5:11-21
Friday: II Samuel 11:1-27
Saturday: Psalm 121:1-8
Since we now have a new and updated directory, and because Roanoke mail is going to Greensboro to be sorted and then back to Roanoke for delivery, making it hard to get the bulletin mailed in time locally for it to reach you, as of the next publication, everyone who has e-mail will receive the bulletin by that method. If you would like a hard copy they will be available at the church. Those who do not have e-mail will still receive the bulletin via regular mail, possibly getting it on Saturday. Again, there will always be copies available at the building.
If you have an e-mail address and do not receive the next issue, let Keith know.
THE BAR B QUE
Even though this is being typed before the Labor Day Bar B Q, as always, we can say it was great. The weather forecast looked good and everyone pitched in with good “extras”. Be sure to thank Chef Jeff for getting the meat, and James Downing for being Jeff’s stand-in. Also Holly for cleaning up the patio.
Any leftovers will be enjoyed either on Sunday, or Super Sunday.
We plan on eating around 4 PM, but if you come later there will be plenty/ Also, invite someone, even if you didn’t sign them up.
There was an interruption in the progress of cleaning Walker Slusher’s house of the record (LP) collection. That has been resolved. If you would like to look though some of them and are going to be at the Bar-B-Que on Saturday, they are under the pews in the annex. Just slip out a box and look.
The new entrance at the lower part of the parking lot is one of the nice things we received from the construction of the new sidewalk. It is now open and ready to be used.
OUR ABC KIDS
The letters from the two children we sponsor in Guatemala are on the downstairs bulletin board. Nery Noe and Luis Alexander Perez Nicolas wish us good health, and Luis wants us to know he is an obedient young man. Cute. Stop by and look at them.