Archive for February, 2010

Fonzie of the Week #20: Kung-Fu Jesus

February 5th, 2010 2 comments

“Do to others what you would have them do to you.”

-Jesus of Nazareth, Matthew 7:12 (New International Version)

“Frank Mir had a horseshoe up his ass. I told him a year ago. I pulled it out and I beat him over the head with it. […] And when I get home tonight, I’m going to drink a Coors Light. That’s a Coors Light because Bud Light won’t pay me nothing. And hell, I might even get on top of my wife tonight.”

-Current UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar

I’m so stupid. For 30 years now, I thought I had a clue what Jesus was all about: doing unto others, loving your neighbor, all that crap. But it turns out I was wrong! As reported in the New York Times on Tuesday, a number of churches across the country are taking advantage of the growing popularity of “mixed martial arts” and incorporating the sport into their ministries, mainly because it attracts young men who otherwise wouldn’t attend church. As Brandon Beals, the lead pastor at Canyon Creek Church, puts it: “Compassion and love — we agree with all that stuff, too. But what led me to find Christ was that Jesus was a fighter.”

See? Jesus was a fighter. And to think all these years I had him incorrectly pegged as a longhaired pacifist “Prince of Peace.” Can you imagine? I bet Jesus would pull a horseshoe out of my ass and beat me over the head with it for getting him so wrong. And so, in recognition of his uncanny ability to attract the extremely desirable young male demographic (WAAAAY harder than say, walking on water or returning from the dead), Kung-Fu Jesus is Fonzie of the Week. Spoiler Alert: “Strip Clubs” and “Beer Pong” may be next in line if I continue to use this criteria for selecting Fonzies.

Here’s the thing: I understand churches using pop culture trends to attract young people. I was once a card-carrying Alt-Rock Christian Teen. Church is where I learned to play the electric bass and where most of my friends went to skateboard – hell, I was actually on a church Judo team. But I’d like to think we drew the line at bloodsport (Judo isn’t as violent as you might think). And we never kidded ourselves that Jesus would have actually been into skateboards, judo or rock music. It was just what the kids were into, so the church gave us a safe place to do those things. And if they snagged a soul for Jesus in the process, so much the better.

What’s most frightening to me about this particular from of Christian bait-and-switch is that it’s fooling these young men into thinking Jesus was a badass when by all accounts Jesus was actually kind of a wuss. Don’t get me wrong, he’s possibly the most influential person to walk the earth in human history, but the most violent he ever got was throwing a temper tantrum at some money changers. We’re talking about a guy who willfully submitted himself to crucifixion without fighting back and who is literally responsible for the saying “turn the other cheek.” The more I think about it, the more I realize that Jesus generally fit more of a stoner mold: wearing sandals everyday, turning water into wine (sort of like making a bong from an apple), magically making enough food to feed the masses (munchies)…you get the idea. Something tells me that Jesus would have hated Ultimate Fighting but that he would have LOVED Ultimate Frisbee.

What’s really scary about this whole Jesus Fight Club phenomenon is not so much that a bunch of young holy rollers are beating the crap out of each other, but what it means for the culture at large. Think about this for a minute: these guys are managing to make white male American Christians, who were already a pretty troublesome bunch, even more frightening. That’s not easy. What’s more, the poor women who are bound to fall for these guys are screwed. And trust me, these guys are going to be good girl magnets. It used to be that you had to look outside the church to find yourself a bad boy. Now the pews are stocked with blood-smeared kickboxers that you can actually bring home to meet Mom. Hallelujah!

Ryan Dobson is a pastor and a fan of mixed martial arts. He’s also the son of James C. Dobson, who founded Focus on the Family, a crazy right-wing political organization masquerading as a religious ministry. Dobson the younger was quoted in the Times article as saying “The man should be the overall leader of the household. […] We’ve raised a generation of little boys.” I’m not sure what a man’s supposed role as his home’s dictator or a “generation of little boys” has to do with mixed martial arts, but the article certainly seems to imply that Mr. Dobson thinks teaching our young men how to kick the shit out of each other is a good first step towards remedying the problems facing modern Christian men. This can’t be good for their wives, especially if they aspire to more than barefooted pregnancy. And maybe it’s just me, but last the last time I found myself captivated by two men fighting inside of a ring, I was actually a little boy. I’m pretty sure suiting up and hopping into the octagon isn’t going to make me mature any faster. It might make me more apt to beat my wife when she challenges my authority as supreme ruler of our home, though. Way to go, Pastor Dobson!

"Buddy Christ"

I’ve strayed from the point. Despite the inherent dangers of arming evangelical Christians with a deeper understanding of the martial arts, I still think the idea of Kung-Fu Jesus is pretty cool. But keep in mind I’ve also awarded Fonzie of the Week to a computer virus, a Peanuts character, and that guy on the Monopoly box, which is to say: people who don’t actually exist. I think it’s sort of spooky that in his 1999 movie Dogma, Kevin Smith made a joke of the ridiculousness of the Catholic church making over the image of Jesus into “Buddy Christ.” It seemed so absurd at the time. Eleven years later, it still seems absurd, but for vastly different reasons. Sigh.

@dogmonologue: Twitter is Finally Worth It

February 4th, 2010 No comments

Breaking News: my dog is awesome.

Were she able to speak, I’m certain Nellie would have amazing things to say. And now, thanks to the magical gnomes at the center of the earth who run the internet, she can. That’s right, my dog has a Twitter account. I’d suggest you call your stockbroker right now, because there’s no way technology could ever surpass the greatness of @dogmonologue. It’s all downhill from here, man. Sell now before word spreads and tech stocks plummet worldwide. You’ve been warned.

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

February 3rd, 2010 1 comment

My neighborhood isn’t perfect, but it’s home. And every now and then I get a reminder of why any neighborhood is great – the people who live there. Case in point:

This is an actual note I found taped to a streetside mailbox up the block from my apartment building (numbers blurred digitally to avoid pissing off whoever wrote it). At first, seeing this gave me a nice big dose of the warm fuzzies because somebody was nice enough to help a neighbor find their lost “I [heart] NY” shirt. You can’t get those just anywhere, you know!

Upon further reflection, however, I’m sort of confused, and a little worried for the welfare of whoever tries to retrieve this particular shirt. Here’s my thinking on this:

  • This note was taped to a mailbox, not a dryer. The shirt was found in a dryer, right? And this mailbox isn’t even remotely close to a laundromat.
  • What exactly has the note-writer been doing with this shirt for the last month? Lost clothing is like dropped candy: some sort of “five second rule” really must be put into action. Otherwise you’re draping yourself in a month’s worth of creepy neighbor mystery. And that’s tough to wash out, friends.
  • People who freely post their phone numbers in public scare me. Call me crazy, but I still can’t listen to “867-5309/Jenny” without getting a serious case of the heebie-jeebies.

And yet, I love my neighborhood. It’s a wonderful place to live. I just need to make sure I don’t leave anything in the dryer.

Battle Royale: Sad Kitty vs. Dirty Kitchen

February 2nd, 2010 3 comments

When not neglecting my blog, I work in operations for an art gallery. That’s a fancy way of saying I’m the office manager, which is a fancy way of saying I need to make sure our half-dozen kitchens (seriously – there are six of them) stay clean. It’s an awesome job.

Lately my co-workers, in what I can only assume is a cooperative effort to make my job more interesting, have been making a real mess of our tiniest kitchen. I reacted to this professional challenge the same way I do to most of life’s little problems, which is to say:

  1. I stomped around and held my breath until I passed out.
  2. I woke up and had myself a good cry.
  3. I fought back with clip art.

And after carefully employing the highly sophisticated work habits detailed above, I am now the proud owner of this little beauty:

Effective, no? I know that you, dear reader, would never leave a dirty mug in a sink with that pathetic looking cat posted nearby. Unfortunately, my boss thought this might be a little too silly and that it would only ensure that my coworkers have themselves a nice chuckle while they pile more dishes in the sink.

I respect my boss’ authority, and have resigned myself to the fact that Sad Kitty will never grace the wall of my office kitchen. But you know what? I’m the boss of this blog, and I say Sad Kitty rules! I don’t ask for much, readers, but I’m asking you to send this image to your respective office managers and get them to put it up in your office kitchen. Send it to your friends and tell them to do the same. Hang it up in your apartment: Sad Kitty works as well on roomates as it does coworkers. Together you and I are going to conquer America’s kitchens, one kitten tear at a time.

And please, PLEASE, if you do hang up Sad Kitty, take a photo and send it to Little things like that make my day, and if I get enough of them, I’ll post a gallery of the many places Sad Kitty has been.