Tuesday, September 22, 2009
UFC 103 and JC
Last Saturday night, a good friend from Venture and I attended UFC 103 in Dallas. Like most sporting events, watching on TV can in no one replicate the experience of being there to hear, see and feel the event. One aspect of the experience I didn’t expect was the crowd, surprising the cage-fighting crowd isn’t the most sophisticated audience. Who would have thought? I feel safe to say that of the almost 20K there, I might have been the only clergy there. The large gentleman from Chicago next to me seemed to have been very dehydrated and tried to placate his thirst through copious amounts of Jack Daniels- a seemingly popular technique for many that evening. Fortunately for me, he was a happy drunk. He proudly pulled out his camera to show me a picture of two people that he partied with the night before, a former UFC Champion and the fighter’s adult film star girlfriend. I made conversation about the athlete, but ignored the girl, much to this guy’s dismay. So he turned to the stranger on the other side and finally got the reaction he wanted from the picture.
If I were a betting man, this guy would probably not feel too comfortable in a typical church service. He would probably prefer to get punched in the face by his new UFC friend than participate in a typical small group because the world that most church people live in and his world are so different. Many church people are so insulated from this lifestyle that we don’t have the ability to even speak the same language. Regardless of how right we are, if we cannot connect with him we have failed because if we are to be letters of recommendation and we don’t get our message to its intended destination then we are the lost ones not him.
If we are truly going to be missionally minded communities as God intends for us we have to find a way to make it easy for people like my new friend to connect with God through our Christian communities. So here’s the million-dollar question, how do we embody church in such a way that he can participate and wants to participate?