Update on Macho Christianity

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the curious phenomenon of ‘Muscular Christianity’. In that post I mentioned that this trend seems to have gone out of fashion. Apparently, it is making a comeback of sorts in America’s Bible Belt.

Their philosophy is summed up by the statement ‘Ultimately, a meek and mild Jesus is a bore’.

The tagline of one of the leading organisations in the movement is ‘When faith gets dangerous’.

Here is the link to the video.

Watch this video http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=2956152

Visit this website http://www.godmen.org/

Read this article http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=2951718&page;=1

What are your views?

Comments: 5

  • Girish, balance is the key.. We often tend to get used to doing things in one way..but we forget the freedom in Christ.

    I accept many of us can get carried away with things we do and drop Christ on the way. But if we were to be led by Christ and do the things He wants us..I think we would enjoy the journey.

    Now why I am sayin this? I would like to give “godmen” the benefit of doubt and see what comes of it. What say?

    March 22, 2007
  • I don’t know about muscular Christianity – but I sure do think that my Jesus is a virile, strong young man, who was struck down at the prime of his youth by our sins – he was NOT meek!

    There is an instance in the book `Tender Victory’ by Taylor Caldwell, wherein a young man, struck by a disease, is encouraged by the pastor (the main protagonist of the story). The young man whittles things out of wood – among which is a statue of Jesus, as a virile young man. The pastor is dumbstruck and says that that is how he visualizes our Lord. The young man, though, is very skeptical, because he had been told by various others that that image is blasphemy.

    Well, I don’t know whether what I have written here makes sense (do read the book, if you can get it), but i wholeheartedly believe that if my Jesus is muscular and virile, why can’t us (his followers) be fit and muscular too?

    March 25, 2007
  • I agree. Balance is the key.

    However, that is precisely what is all too often not achieved. ‘Muscular Christianity’ was popular in the years leading up the the two World Wars.

    One of the reasons it went out of fashion was because people started feeling that it encouraged aggressive behavior, both at the individual level and at the collective social level.

    Sociologists says that this lop-sided view of Christianity may have encouraged nations to launch wars, and generally fed into the culture of violence that is prevalent in the US.

    It is not a co-incidence that ‘Muscular Christianity’ originated in and is most popular in the deep American South (Texas, Louisiana etc), where there is the most amount of support for gun ownership and the Iraq war.

    You see what I mean. To me, people are just using Jesus to justify their own behaviour.

    My point is that we should worship and accept God as He is, not how we would like Him to be. That I believe is dangerous.

    The other point is that the Bible says that we are the messengers of Christ. What kind of message does ‘spoon bending’ send out about Christ?

    April 2, 2007
  • Hello,
    This is Aju John from Cochin (IRMA & TIME)….girish bhai, long time no see…wanted ur email ID
    In case Girish bhai does not see this, Ashish; can u mail me his ID to ajuinjesus@yahoo.com
    Site: aju.r8.org


    May 31, 2007
  • sAP

    Christian machoism appears to exist in our local social atmosphere, albeit in less prominent forms. We see Christian Dadas even in the high echelon of both protestant and catholic communities. Some of us have been there and put on those robes at some point in time –which proves that the Christian walk is not a perfect walk.

    However, there is a code of conduct every Christian worth his salt must follow. Paul states in his letter to the Ephesians, “Be imitators of God…”. The bottomline.

    God is powerful and mighty. So christians have to be macho.

    Well, the complication comes in the remaining of the sentence, “… therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph 5: 1-2)”

    Some people just forgot either to read the rest, or felt it was too complex to understand. Which makes sense with someone’s statement, “we are still figuring this out” — probably referring to unfinished matters of this kind.

    I am not trying to be judgemental here (shudder), but it simply isn’t doesn’t fly especially when Paul also mentions of a code of status that a Christian must keep, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph 5:21) or where he says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Eph 4:2)”

    Some would have preferred that he said, “You gotta do what a man’s gotta do.” That way it would have been more ambiguous. But it isn’t.

    So now, now does that mean that one must be meek and submissive that others might take advantage of one’s *meekness*?

    Well, to me, that’s the whole idea behind the glory story. It’s the whole idea behind the inheritance and the promise. It’s the whole idea behind the vagueness of the present and the clarity at the revelation of God’s kingdom.

    “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.” (1 Peter 3:14).

    “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience” (1 Peter 3:15-16). The caveat holds up on gentleness, respect and a clear conscience. It must not be confused with an “I know; you shut up” or some form of muscular outlook.

    Why else would Christ say, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart … (Mathew 11:29)” Now that’s “learn from me” as in “watch how I do it” and “be the way I am”; as opposed to “just learn my teaching”.

    Sometimes, zeal for the Lord and his temple consumes us. That comes with the territory. Little David’s anti-Goliath run is hardly cloaked in gentleness or respect. But today, in the age of the new covenant, our war is not against flesh and blood. The armour we wear are not muscles and tendons. Our shields aren’t made of metal or carbon fiber.

    That being said, again, the Christian walk is not a perfect walk. At least as far as I have discovered. Several times we find ourselves picking ourselves up from failures of not satisfying the desire of the spirit; or from overreactions, selfishness or flights of personal indulgence.

    But moving the goalpost is never part of the plan.


    June 29, 2007

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