Tuesday, January 23, 2007

WWJB - Who Would Jesus Bodyslam

Fiddling around online, I found a link to an odd website. It's called Wrestling for Jesus and apparently combines Christianity and Professional Wrestling into a strange mix of Gospel and violence. This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "Bible Thumpers". o.O

The website doesn't seem to be current, and dates posted for events do not include a year, though I assume they are from 2006. to, the church they are affiliated with had no readily available information about the wrestling group. Indeed, their own event listing was last marked for December 6th, 2006.

I have been in some non-traditional churches before, mostly Pentecostal in nature. These involved multi-media sermons, upbeat music, and lots of yelling and whooping and hollering. Definitely not your usual hellfire and damnation services with mournful hymns and somber faced clergy.

I've seen churches have Christian Rock concerts, Christian Rap concerts, even a Christian Ska concert with bale pated, metal adorned kids pumping leather gloved hands into the air while screaming inconprehensively.

I've seen churches hold haunted houses billed as Hell Houses. sometimes they are called Judgement Houses or Revelation houses. Places you wander through and experience horrible things you might experience in Hell. The scenes portrayed are often gruesome, graphic, and geared to scare the Hell out of you. Literally. The hope is to scare you to Jesus.

Even scarier, to me at least, is the real fanaticism I've seen in some churches. In one service, a visiting evangelist "slaying in the Spirit". He wouldn't end the worship service until each and every attendee was filled with the Spirit. I wasn't feeling it. He placed one sweaty hand on my forehead, and another behind my lower back, shouted a few sentences in tongues (which amazingly sounded like almost every other person who I've heard "talk in tongues"), and pushed hard with his hand on my head while pulling towards him with the one on my lower back. His first try didn't work. He did the whole thing over again, and pushed/pulled once more. Hard. I didn't budge, though a nice bruise formed on my already bad back. He loudly proclaimed Satan was at work keeping me from being filled with the Holy Ghost. An assistant of his came up behind me, and when this charlatan once again did his hoodoo, the assistant used his knee to pop my knee forward from behind. A trick I used to play in grade school. Between the neck snap, the back press, and the knee pop I went down like a poleaxed steer. (It was also my bad knee and between the manhandling and abuse I was limping for three days after).

Now, I know that was an extreme case, but I kinda can see how wrestling could be used in a ministry. I think it's pretty damned stupid, but I can see it. Images on the WFJ site even show a Jesus-like fellow being beaten. Yeah, that inspires me. now, if later the faux Christ goes all moneychangers on the other guys, it might be fun to watch.

The real scary thing is Wrestling for Jesus is not even unique. I found three other Christian wrestling groups with minimal research.

The first is CWF, or Christian Wrestling Federation. They seem a bit more polished than WFJ, and definitely more active. Like WFJ, the CWF seems to promote Christianity through its matches and events. At least according to their website. They are upfront about it and it truly seems to be the purpose behind the organization. Unlike WFJ, they seem to be less focused on the bloody aspects of things ... again, judging by their website.

The second is CWA Pro Wrestling. CWA stands for Christian Wrestling Alliance. This is a very slick multi media website with embedded videos, background sounds, lots of bright colors and hulking, grimacing wrestlers in evidence. I only saw one reference to Christianity, and that was that the sport of wrestling can be done "without all of the profanity and obscenity" found in mainstream pro wrestling. Nothing about trying to bring others to Christ, nothing about teaching Christian values ... it seems ot me it is really just a clean version of WWE or ECW, and with lesser budget. Not a bad thing, in and of itself, but with the word Christian blazoned boldly in their name, I would think to see more of an outreach program with it (such as CWF and WFJ have) and less self promotion for appearances.

The third is WFC, Wrestling for Christ, but I couldn't get it to load. It may not even be around any more.

I'm not a big fan of wrestling. Though I watched more than my fair share of it growing up. My grandfather used to set up arenas for the old Championship Wrestling of Florida (also called CWF, back in the day). He took me and my sister (and later my step-brother) to many of the matches. I met a ton of the popular wrestlers of the '70s.

I suppose because of that indoctrination into the wrestling scene, I was a fairly avid viewer of wrestling from the Championship Wrestling of Florida days up through the WWF (long before it lost it's cartoonish glamour). Hulkamania was in it's peak when I lost interest ...

Today's wrestling is boring, filthy, tripe, boring, foul mouthed, and did I say boring?

I'm not real sure on how I feel about so-called Christian wrestling, other than it sounds stupid. (And it came to pass, Jesus the Mighty smote the diabolical Moneychanger with a divine bodyslam, followed by a half-nelson and sleeper hold, thus reclaiming the Divine Heavyweight Champion title!!!)

I think it's loads better than Hell Houses. I suppose I'd have to see one of the events to really make a statement one way or the other. (But it's still stupid!)

What do you guys think? Could this be a legitimate way to save souls? Or, do you think that this is merely a way to beat the hell out of people and still be a Christian? Have any of you ever seen a Christian wrestling match?


Bruiser said...

Here's my view on it. I don't think it would be an overly effective way to bring people to know Jesus, but every soul needs saving and if a few get saved this way, then more power to them. I would think that the other sports out there have Christian version of them as well. I don't know it for sure (I'll leave the research to you), but it wouldn't surprise me any.
As far as the whole Slain in the Spirit thing goes...I believe that it happens, but I do not believe that a person can make it happen to another. I believe that it is a personal thing between a person and God. Just my opinion.

Doug E. Pudge said...

Raivynn, First of all I would go and check out all of the sites that you mentioned but I really don't have the time to do it right now. The concept to me is quite strange! I am with Bruiser that I don't think it would be an effective ministry, but on the other hand if only one soul is saved through this odd effort then I would agree that it would be worth it. I am with you, I believe that it is probably just a gimmick and would not bring the "un-saved" to Jesus.
As far as the being slain part is concerned. I also agree with Bruiser (wow, twice in one comment) that the Holy Spirit is real and that He does fill people today. But I am not in to trickery and deception! You don't force God on anyone. He will fill all of those who are open to Him. B4T

Raivynn said...

I should clarify that I beleive the Holy Spirit can work on people. I've felt it, though not in the sense I was basically knocked out by it. It was more of a powerful urge to do something unrelated to the message being preached that evening. I also believe in divine healing. My mother had a documented (hospital and private doctor)skull fracture. Less than 3 days later it was gone without a trace. A man I can only describe as godly had prayed over her two days prior. The fracture, headaches, and disorientation simply were gone.

My point was I have found more deceitful evangelists than I have godly ones. And that I feel a disproportionate majority of evangelists and other "christian" gimmicks are just that ... gimmicks to make money and have a little notariety rather than to truly go the work of God.

Maybe I'm cynical. Or, maybe I see things more clear than others. I dunoo, really. I just follow my heart.

Thanks for the comments, guys ... and pudge? What does B4T mean? curious minds want to know. heh

Hawkman said...

...Raivynn, I think you see more clearly than most. To me, this is nothing more than a gimmick, a fad...cheezy, goofy, etc.

It reminds me of Matt. 6:1 people doing religious stuff to be noticed by people - hope you enjoy it, for that is your reward. This is nothing new.

If you want to really influence people for Jesus...go to the places Jesus would and let your light shine!

Doug E. Pudge said...

Be Blessed Beyond Belief Today.