So, what are you going to do in church this weekend?
If you didn't answer "Watch UFC 107," you may want to consider joining the congregation over at the Canyon Creek Church in Lynnwood, WA. On Saturday night (Dec. 12), they'll broadcast the "Penn vs. Sanchez" pay-per-view in the holiest of places.
MMA in church may be unusual, but so is the anointed "Fight Pastor" who delivers a series of butt-kicking sermons from the pulpit of his Washington house of worship. As SeattlePI.com explains, Brandon Beals is doing the Lord's work -- and he hopes to spread the good word through Fight Pastor merchandise.
"I'm a mixed-martial arts fan who happens to be a pastor. This is who God made me to be. [Fighting is] the simplest metaphor in the world, because there's so many parallels to persevering, no compromise, working hard, being tenacious, sticking with something, not quitting -- it's a really easy, seamless connection. I'm sure when Fight Pastor (merchandise) becomes a lot more mainstream, I will take a lot of shots from the Christian community. What I'm hoping is that the attention is on the brand and on the ministry and not me. I may be completely naive to think that, but that's what I hope. God's taken my hobby and merged it with my passion and maybe something cool will out of it. We'll see."
Religion in sports is not a new concept. Aside from Jesus getting the credit for 85-percent of all NFL touchdowns, both football and NASCAR have their own chaplains. Also consider many UFC stars of past and present like Matt Hughes and Diego Sanchez are very vocal about their religious beliefs.
Hopefully the Fight Pastor and his brand of chop-socky worship can peacefully co-exist on the sidelines with the other merchandise brands. Unfortunately as the presence of religion increases, so too does the baggage that comes along with it.
As I'm sure many of us can attest, when two people believe something different, each one thinks the other person is wrong. But hey, that's not exclusive to religion. Hope on to any MMA message board to see human squabbling at its finest. Brock vs. Fedor? Anyone?
In any event, people who used to dread going to church in Canyon Creek may now have something to look forward to. While Beals isn't exactly turning water into wine, he does get his congregation into the spirit by appealing to their love for mixed martial arts.
Anyone out there have a problem with him profiting from it as well?