Not to sound like a Grumpy Old Man, but in my day Easter Sunday church services were not meant to be “fun”: they were hour-long dissertations on the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. For me as a kid, they were nothing more than a distraction from hunting for Easter eggs or jamming my face full of ham and pounds of chocolate.
Perhaps I would have had a different feeling about Easter services if I had grown up in Missouri and went to the Spirit of St. Louis Church, which is apparently quite a bit hipper than the church I attended in Fresno. The RIVERFRONT TIMES reports that this year for Easter, its pastor Tom Skiles is hosting “Easter In the Octagon: The Ultimate Fighter“, which features Jesus forcing The Easter Bunny to tap out in the second round due to a triangle chokehold.
Actually, there’s no “fighting” involved at all. But Skiles is a UFC fan (a man of the blood-stained cloth, as it were), and thought that mixed martial arts would be a good example of Jesus as a bad-assed warrior:
“I always make fun of people’s images of Christ. The hippie Christ. The Chirst with the long flowing air, like he came straight from the salon. I make fun of that. I don’t think he was that kind of man. I think Jesus was a man’s man. Him and his disciples. I tell people they probably had teeth missing.”
So much for that “The meek shall inherit the Earth” nonsense. It turns out that it’s more like how we thought it should be: The muscular freaks who could snap our forearms with two fingers shall inherit the Earth.
Also, “Easter in the Octagon” is not designed for Grandmas and Grandpas - this is your drunken frat brother’s service:
“The Ultimate Fighting is something we’re doing to promote to the guys. We want to make Easter relevant again. We don’t want to make it about lilies and nice dresses. When they walk in we’ll have a chain link fence set up, it’ll be set up like an octagon. We’ll talk about fact that Jesus didn’t tap out, he was an ultimate fighter. “
In case you’re curious, the church is non-denominational, and started with seven people in Skiles’ living room a year and a half ago. Which means that, with any luck, my poker night buddies and I can eventually apply for church status as a tax dodge.
I will say this: There is an historical lineage with Christians and “ultimate fighting”, but I think a lion was a far more intimidating opponent than even Rampage Jackson.