So the new black in the world of Christian masculinity is UFC – Ultimate Fighting Championship. For those who are unfamiliar, it’s two men in a cage, beating each other up while other men watch either in person or on television. Christian men are no exception to the craze, starting with the big names (see Mark Driscoll’s tweets here and here). In a world in which to be a Christian man is supposedly to be a feminised man, these men are getting in touch with their more primitive side.
Now before anyone gets too carried away with a caricature, any Christian guy who’s into UFC will be quick to point out that this is more than a love of violence and a good fight. After all, UFC has rules – apparently you’re not allowed to paralyse anyone or gouge their eyes out. Really, it’s just like football! Or at least it’s like boxing or judo – and they’re Olympic sports!
Besides, rough and tumble is part of how God created men. After all, King David was a warrior (never mind his lack of self-control) and Jesus is some kind of sword-wielding ninja. Furthermore, UFC actually provides a decent evangelistic opportunity – to engage with ‘real men’ in the raw, confrontational way that women just don’t get.
So this is not some barbaric expression of the neanderthal lurking inside each man but actually a sophisticated attempt at engaging with other men as men. Or at least, that’s the justification I hear put forward. Which sounds all very rational. Unless you speak to a woman. She’s more likely to describe it as ‘savage’ or ‘brutal’, maybe even ‘inhuman’. But who is she to comment on what appeals to men?
Men know what’s best, and it’s been since women had more of a voice that men have found themselves marginalised in churches. Clearly, it’s time to reclaim a man’s right to beat his chest (or at least claim possession of the remote control while other men do) and do what he thinks is right without regard for the opinions of those ignorant women. Just like every other (cave)man has done since the Fall.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.