How can the church engage the man/woman in the street in 2015? A question often posed around tables of friends as we chat, discuss our faith and raise concerns that the church (by which I mean all denominations /faiths) is out of step with the world in 2015.
In the United States this is being somewhat resolved by several churches having ‘MMA based ministries’. Fight Church is a great documentary (available on Netflix) exploring these ministries and their purpose and moreover the rationale of churches using MMA as outreach.
I’m all for the church being seen as relevant. This blog’s main purpose is to champion the faith bsed elements of what we watch however I was troubled by what I saw at times in this film.
Selective bible quotes have always troubled me. Take a verse out of context and it can be very easily manipulated to suit your circumstances. For example’ where 2 or 3 are gathered’ to warm the souls of the 4 people who faithfully came to a prayer meeting. Forgive me for the flippant example but this is nowhere nearly as sinister as some selective quotes used to justify those who step in the ring and endure brutal beatings.
One particularly troubling sequence shows a pastor bemoaning the fact that men are no longer men. Apparently we have become soft and the Bible calls to live the life of a warrior. He then proceeds to make light of those who ‘love their neighbour’ and ‘turn the other cheek’ seemingly forgetting the true strength it takes to do this.
I’m not against MMA. I’m not against churches using it as a form of outreach. It is a genuine ministry for some, it works for them and many in the documentary attest to how their church has grown as a result.
What I am not for however are churches selecting parts of scripture for use to make people feel weak, cast out and left feeling that God would deem them undesirable because they don’t match up to someone else.
The church needs to be relevant, it needs to be engaging people differently in 2015. What it doesn’t need to do is make them feel worthless if they don’t match up to h random verse taken out of context on a topic.
The damage an MMA fight can do, in most cases, is reparable.
Sadly however the damage caused by selective biblical quoting sadly may not be fixable at all.