Churches Ask Men to Fight Like Jesus
The latest trend combines Christianity with mixed martial arts
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2010 1:05 PM CST
Gilbert Melendez, top, punches Josh Thomson in a title-unification bout for the Strikeforce lightweight championship in a mixed martial arts match in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(Newser) – Jesus just too wimpy for you? Fear not: A new crop of churches that combine religion with mixed martial arts could solve all your spiritual problems. "Compassion and love—we agree with all that stuff, too," one pastor tells the New York Times, "but what led me to find Christ was that Jesus was a fighter." Proponents tout this method of getting young men back into pews, while skeptics worry they're missing Christianity's whole point.

Some churches, like the appropriately named Xtreme Ministries (motto: "Where Feet, Fist, and Faith Collide"), go so far as hosting fights between members of the flock. Others draw the line at fight night viewing parties and fights-as-metaphors during sermons. "We've raised a generation of little boys," says a pastor who thinks fighting churches will help—but another insists, "I don’t live for the Jesus who eats red meat, drinks beer, and beats on other men."