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The New York Times Attempts to Find Out Why Jesus Didn’t Tap

(‘And that’s for John the Baptist, you son of a bitch!’)

You’re not really a trend in America unless the New York Times writes a story about you. Sometimes you’re not really a trend even if they do write the story, but that’s a topic for another day. Today we look at this story, in which Times reporter R. M. Schneiderman (who has found the most pretentious way possible to avoid going through life as Ross Schneiderman), visits Memphis, Tennessee to watch the boys from Xtreme Ministries duke it out in local MMA action.

This is something that’s happening a lot now, we’re told. Many evangelical churches “have embraced mixed martial arts,” because they’ve realized that this is something that young men are into, particularly the types of young men who aren’t normally into hymns and abstinence.

According to the article, Xtreme Ministries is “a small church near Nashville that doubles as a mixed martial arts academy,” which makes you wonder why major MMA gyms never double as churches, since it would be a great way for Greg Jackson to get tax-exempt status. The focus on MMA helps these churches rebrand Jesus as more of an ass-kicker and less of a peace-offerer, and that in turn is supposed to help them get more young men in the pews on Sunday.

This isn’t the first such attempt by churches to piggyback on the success of MMA, but this time the Times was along to see what kinds of fighters they’re actually churning out. From the sound of things, Xtreme Ministries isn’t going to challenge Xtreme Couture any time soon. For instance, their pastor and head trainer, John Renken, is quoted as offering this sage advice during a team/flock member’s fight:

“Hard punches!” he shouted from the sidelines of a martial arts event called Cage Assault. “Finish the fight! To the head! To the head!”

This is more or less the MMA equivalent of going to a football game and shouting ‘tackle him!’

Maybe that’s partly why, of the three Xtreme Ministries fighters in action that night, two lost their bouts, and one suffered a broken ankle. A twenty year-old “potential convert” got submitted via choke and then “decided not to return home with the other church members after his bout,” so he could instead go drinking on Beale Street all night.

Now that sounds more like the MMA traditions we’ve observed over the years.


Cagepotato Comments

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TempleSet- January 25, 2012 at 9:18 pm
Here something they don't tell you about the good pastor, he was kicked out of his church for having an affair with the wife of a couple he married in his church.

He claims to have a Black Belt in Muay Thai and in Sambo. What a idiot.
bombsauce- February 5, 2010 at 12:04 pm
That darn Jesus...still hanging around ;P
jelvis- February 3, 2010 at 8:45 am
at least we know where matt hughes is headed when he retires.
CroCops Gluteus Maximus- February 3, 2010 at 8:01 am
Razak Al-Hassan for Mohammed Didn't Tap
Wrye Bash- February 3, 2010 at 8:01 am
ITT: Butthurt Christfags.
CheckHisPee- February 3, 2010 at 2:48 am
@TheWisestWizard and Zyz Zyx,

My thinking on this subject is simple; as long as it's done for the right reasons and something positive comes from it, who cares? The more the merrier I say, as the list of mma practicioners grows, so do our chances of seeing the next great one (Fedor,GSP,A.Silva etc.)
To be honest with you, the reasons/motivation behind someone opening an mma gym don't mean squat to me. As long as the sport keeps growing, I couldn't care less. Hell, Chuck Manson could open a little gym in Bountiful and it wouldn't confront me none.
NorthSouthDudesOnly- February 2, 2010 at 7:31 pm
Clarksville isn't really that close to Nashville...
savagepenis- February 2, 2010 at 6:49 pm
Why oh why can't any of my comments be posted. So I said I would throat fuck someones mother till she puked on my balls. Where's the problem, you guys suck!
Zyz Zyx- February 2, 2010 at 6:43 pm
Jesus Didn't Tap? Of course he didn't. His hands were nailed down.
Robocop Didnt Tap- February 2, 2010 at 6:34 pm
I gotta post in this thread...just have to do it.
Clyde- February 2, 2010 at 4:50 pm
If Jesus didn't tap, who do you guys think is the best candidate for the second coming?

Tim Sylvia

Razak Al-Hassan

Royce Gracie

Mizuto Hirota

And if Steampunk doesn't get the T shirt this week, it looks like the popular vote counts for nothing. Bravo, dude.
ghostboner- February 2, 2010 at 3:47 pm
@ steampunk and wisestwizard - Curse you for beating me to the molester jokes. That is some funny shit. I know it's played out by now, yet I'm still tempted to make one...
Jesse James Preston- February 2, 2010 at 3:26 pm
Jazzninja, you are correct...the common Christian practice is to honor God in everything you do...even if it's being a cashier at a supermarket...or in this case how you train and compete.
Jazzninja- February 2, 2010 at 3:19 pm
@ re-branding: I think its more about remembering things that were always there. I don't think they are 'trying to blend religion and mma' for a Christian their faith is at the core of all aspects of their life: their work and hobbies and passions (such as mma). So for a Christian mma enthusiast there is no need to 'try and blend', as such, if they are both good and true then they are automatically compatible. Combining their passions can be natural not forced or some kind of trick or stunt.

@ the capitalist comment: I would imagine that any social/sports club would have expenses. Often though, Christian organizations heavily subsidise costs out of the pockets of their own members because they care about doing good in the community and trying offer people around them a way to spiritual life and health.

Often doing good is a goal in and of itself and spiritual interest/conversion is often the hoped for ideal but not some 'strings attached' obligatory requirement. Remember they are not trying to trick people into something they think is bad for them.
joe sons balls- February 2, 2010 at 3:05 pm
steampunks was good but this:

"Jeremy Says:
Wed, 02/03/2010 - 05:57

Jesus didn't tap.....???
Thats news to me. His last words on the cross were "god my god why hast thou forsaken me."
If that isn't a verbal tap, I am not sure what is."

was the only one i actually lol'd at. also, i guess the reply feature doesnt work here.
mma samurai- February 2, 2010 at 2:58 pm
Personally I think better to have these fights in a decent facility regarless of whether it's a church or not. I've seen some shady venues that had no place hosting MMA whatsoever. All religion aside even though I know that's the main point of this article, at least it's being held in a nice facility as opposed to some smokey crackhead bar.
Jesse James Preston- February 2, 2010 at 2:50 pm
As said before...I was an atheist for 14 years...during that time I toured the country singing in metal bands...and briefly appeared on MTV. I've always loved metal. Now I've been a Christian for two years...if I happen to start up a new metal band, and my lyrics reflect my current life (as my lyrics always have reflected my life at that time)...I'm sure you'd be the first person to cry that I'm just some Christian trying to sneak into metal and brainwash metal fans...regardless of the fact that I'm just continuing the same thing I've been passionate about most of my life.
Jesse James Preston- February 2, 2010 at 2:46 pm
Once again're assuming the motives on the part of this church. If it was a Youth club starting this up, or another group...I doubt you would care. If they are trying to brainwash, or trick people...I agree with your point...and I'm a Christian...but I don't think they are driving around kidnapping kids and forcing them to read Bibles while practicing arm bars...I'm pretty sure the kids are probably well aware...or atleast shortly after entering, aware...that it's run by a church.
steampunk22- February 2, 2010 at 2:45 pm


On a related note, this story is pretty bizarre. Rebranding Jesus and trying to blend religion and mixed martial arts is just sort of peculiar. Doesn't Bones Jones have a pretty significant amount of Jesus love as well? I seem to recall him kind of casually dropping that he is a hardcore christian in an interview....

Also, LOL @ WisestWizard's comment ;P
CroCops Gluteus Maximus- February 2, 2010 at 2:41 pm
Who cares what the fucking pastor was trying to say, the fact is that certain churches will sink down to such levels just to keep christianity popular, its supposed to be a religion not a capitalist for-profit organization of assbandits
Jazzninja- February 2, 2010 at 2:39 pm
I don't like to post on forums much so I'll only respond to this comment to clear up a point. If I implied that they weren't interested in the spiritual wellbeing of the young people involved I should correct that and be clear. Obviously, trying to let these people know about what they consider to be, matters of spiritual life and death would be a natural part of a Christian group. I'm sure they would make no apologies for that. You should understand that they do not view their beliefs the same way as you. They see them as good and life saving; not sinister and threatening. Your use of the word proselytize implies you expect them to try and force or trick people into something; whereas I reckon where they do incorporate this they would present information to the young people and let them make their own decisions. The example of apparent 'failure' cited in the article suggests that no-one is forced to do anything as it should be.

As for compromised morals: speak for yourself. Many Christians have no problem with combat arts for healthy purposes. Just look at the numerous Christian fighters in mma who have no moral dilemma and are not ignorant savages. Remember that your views of their faith are not likely to be the same as theirs.

Anyway peace out :)
Jesse James Preston- February 2, 2010 at 2:38 pm
Shitbag...YOU'D PUT A PENTAGRAM ON YOUR BACK AND TRAIN AT THE CHURCH?! What a rebel you are! I'm sure no one would want to mess with someone as crazy as you....I really hope you are 15...that's about the only way I could justify your lame attempt at sounding cool.

As for Christians in MMA...I don't think it's a compromise of morals, depending on a few situations. If you're looking at your fight as testing your mental and physical skills together...not an issue. If you are insulting your opponent, and out to truly cause them harm, and not just win...then I could see an issue.
Same with this church. I know the atheists on this board want to assume the motives...when I was an atheist for 14 years, I wanted to do only one sided research and think I was informed too...but if their motives are to help kids and get them off the streets, etc...I am fine with that. If it's just to try and trick kids into being Christians...I'm not into the numbers game...I'd rather have true believers.
cecils_pupils- February 2, 2010 at 2:37 pm
I am awaiting the RELEASE of the new church-approved line of anti-masturbation T-shirts... Jesus didn't FAP.
Gogo Platypus- February 2, 2010 at 2:00 pm
jazzninja is right. This is totally about metaphors and crap, and not just using mma to proselytize to young men.

Yep, no compromised morals here.
ejg- February 2, 2010 at 1:49 pm
I am always baffled at how people instantly make fun of things that they don't understand. Yes the article is hilarious, and has very funny commentary, but what do you people actually know about this organization. Boxing clubs have a long history of being places to get kids off the street and getting them doing something productive with their anger or their frustrations. Why does the mentality of it all of a sudden change when a church is involved? I think its fantastic that the ministry exists. If it helps even one person find meaning, or truth they otherwise wouldn't have been exposed to, its worth every negative thing the critics could say about it. If you don't like the idea of something or don't understand it - at least research it, put 5 minutes of effort in and google it. Have something intelligent to say about why you don't like it instead of making generalizations and mocking something you know nothing about in hopes to get a few chuckles.