The first rule of Fight Club is that you do not talk about Fight Club, but for a group of MMA-fighting pastors and followers, they are spreading the word about a new kind of fight club at church. Filmmakers Bryan Storkel and Academy Award-winning director Daniel Junge, capture a new wave of Christianity in the documentary "Fight Church," where pastors punch each other in the face to emphasize physical strength. It's a tactic in attracting newcomers and in spreading the word of Jesus, they say. Paul Burress, pastor or Trinity Church in Rochester, N.Y, defends his unconventional evangelization techniques in the film.
"As Christians, there are times where you take shots. That’s where the Bible gives you your training" Burress said in the trailer. "I get all the time that I don't look like the typical pastor," he continued, “and that’s OK, because there is a verse in the Bible that says, ‘Be weary when all men speak well of you.’” The controversial fight pits between pastor versus pastor have raised some eyebrows from followers, since they state Jesus preached nonviolence and turning the other cheek.
"Cage fighting does not speak about loving one another. Cage fighting is about hating one another basically,” said a pastor whose name was not identified in the video. However, Pro MMA Fighter Jon Jones believes otherwise and said “I probably wouldn’t be in the position I am today if I wasn’t a Christian.”
Although the combination of fighting and Bible study seems peculiar, this form of spiritual practice traces back to past religious trends. Muscular Christianity — a popular movement in the Victorian era — emphasized the importance of evangelical spirituality through physical strength and sports participation, Time magazine reported.
As put by one parishioner in the trailer, perhaps, “Tough guys need Jesus, too.”