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“Fight Church” review

“Fight Church” review

Nate Pyle, the lead pastor of Christ’s Community Church in Fishers, Indiana (the Reformed church of America) reviews the movie “Fight Church” on Rachel Held Evans blog.

He begins with the reality that a growing number of churches are using mixed martial arts into their church community, and is immediate aversion to the concept. He does, however, applaud the film makers ability to be objective:

Should churches promote fighting? How does one reconcile fighting, even regulated fighting, with following Jesus? These are the questions raised by the film, but rather than answering them for us, Storkel and Junge skillfully tell the story and then seem to ask: What do you think?

Pyle then makes a number of observations, starting with how much American Christianity is impacted by American ideals, and then goes into the depths of what is considered “strength for American men”, and perhaps the most troubling part of the film:

The two kids get into the ring and the 12 year old loses. Badly. After the fight, he is with his trainers, in tears because he was just humiliated in the ring by a kid who was a year younger, a couple inches shorter, and 20 pounds lighter. My heart went out to this poor kid. His tears weren’t tears born out of physical pain, but out of shame. I know those tears. I’ve cried those tears. And despite the axiom, they didn’t build character in me, but left a gaping wound as I wondered about my masculinity. This young boy was being taught that real men fight and real men beat their opponents and now he just lost. What does that imply about him?

He’s not a man.

Shame born out of an emasculating wound can result in an anxious masculinity where one constantly worries about whether or not people see him as a man. When this happens to you, you work diligently to prove you are a man by engaging in hyper-masculine activity so that no one dares to question your manliness. You never back down from a fight, you don’t let any one disrespect you, and you see a fight where there is none all so you feel secure as a man.

I can’t help but wonder if putting kids into the cage sets them up to forever misunderstand masculinity, to always question if they are enough, and to embrace a definition of manhood that demands they be a shell of the human God is calling them to be.


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test test test. The commenting feature has been glitching on me the past couple of days…

JC Fisher

Gregory Orloff

Where is Christ Jesus’ gosepl mandate in Luke 6:31 — “Treat others the same way you want to be treated” — in this?

Jesus wasn’t concerned with being a stereotypical “he-man.” He didn’t put up a fight. He didn’t rely on worldly notions of power and force. He didn’t even defend himself. When his followers resorted to violence in the name of self-defense, he told them: “Put away your sword. Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly?” (Matthew 26:52-53).

This is just the same old worldly mindset coated with a thin veneer of religion for the sake of self-justification, a pathetic attempt by a warped sense of religiosity to appear “cool,” “hip” and “macho.” It is not gospel. It is not the “metanoia” — the change of mind and heart, and thus outlook, attitude, behavior and sense of relationship that underlies the concept of repentance to which Jesus calls us. It is not answering the charge to “clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

It is perverse, sickening and wrong on so many levels. It is not Christlike.

Rod Gillis

Just for context, I grew up in a pretty rugged coal mining town, boxing, both pro and amateur was a big sport, including a gym operated by local police boys’ clubs. As a teen/adult, I trained with a couple of classic martial arts clubs over the course of about 15 years, mostly Japanese karate.

I watched the film clip. This is profoundly disturbing on a number of levels. Words like perverse and twisted come to mind.Some of these guys ought to worry less about “feminization” and a lot more about the cumulative effects of concussion. In addition to the physical violence, I am appalled at the risk to young people and the potential for long lasting psychological damage, the gender stereo-typing, and the mixture of violence and religion is sort of like flame and gasoline.

There are a lot reputable martial arts clubs ( some may even use space in church buildings) that teach confidence, self-esteem, self-respect and respect for others,the team, clubs that are very zen and a mixture of genders.

What is shown in this video clip is indeed something that churches, and parents, need to be very concerned about.

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