A week or so ago I caught wind of a New York Times story about the rise of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in evangelical churches via the Gospel Coalition blog. It’s a fascinating article that raises quite a few questions in my mind. Namely, whether or not violent sports like MMA are appropriate outreach tools.
Here’s an excerpt:
These pastors say the marriage of faith and fighting is intended to promote Christian values, quoting verses like “fight the good fight of faith” from Timothy 6:12. Several put the number of churches taking up mixed martial arts at roughly 700 of an estimated 115,000 white evangelical churches in America. The sport is seen as a legitimate outreach tool by the youth ministry affiliate of the National Association of Evangelicals, which represents more than 45,000 churches.
Of course, the NYT article includes dissenting voices, and it’s tough to argue with anyone who says that bringing cage fighting to church is a pretty weird idea. But dang, man, I’m just glad that someone in church is trying to do something to appeal to men as men.