I wanted to reflect a bit about the UFC, Ultimate Fighting Championships.
Now, this may be a divisive subject, I get that, because for lots of men out there the idea of watching guys fight like this just isn’t something they care to see. Some men on the other hand will appreciate the UFC for a variety of different reasons.
Ok, with that out of the way, I enjoy UFC. I am not a regular fan, I do not pay for fights or stay up late to watch but I do watch replays on YouTube and follow current news and updates about UFC. What do I like about it? I like the battle, the unknown outcome and the way two marital artists can showcase their technical and physical abilities from a particular path of training. In this moment of battle they are called upon to carry the name of their background, training and school of martial art with them. A loss does reflect poorly on a martial artists style, technique and ability and perhaps there is an unwritten process here of never knowing which martial art is ultimately the best, so the battles continue.
A recent battle was between a Russian fighter called Khabib, and an Irish fighter called Conor McGreggor. Now, the pre-fight meetings here were, in my opinion an embarrassment to the UFC. Lots of arguments, and commentary on each fighter’s race, religion, family and whilst you will always get this trash talk in combat sport, it was far beyond the norm.
The battle (which was the largest in UFC history with an audience of over 2 million on pay per view), ended with the Irishman McGreggor tapping out and submitting after a choke hold from Khabib.
So, why on earth am I blogging about the UFC and this fight?
Well, the point I am trying to make is that I think that lots of the men we want to introduce to Jesus might not be into the same stuff that we are. There could be a chasm of difference between what makes these men tick and where they are in their lives to where you and me are and the stuff we like.
Now I am not suggesting we all need to watch UFC to be able to introduce men who do like UFC to Jesus, but I am asking a question about the crossover between your world and theirs. How do we enable that dialogue, access and welcome? Perhaps when you read that I like UFC, something in you switched off because you don’t like it and make a judgement about those who do. This isn’t a criticism, it is what I think happens and in fact I know it happens because I do it too.
We hear a bloke express his passion for footie and we glaze over, or conversations about cars, bikes or climbing mountains just isn’t our bag so we mute it in our heads and look to chat to someone else who likes neo classical art or gardening. That definitely happens and the knock-on effect is that we create distance and barriers between us. Men see this stuff and feel it. Perhaps then I am advocating for a willingness to be ready to supress that inner switch that triggers when we hear or see guys liking the stuff we don’t. Instead we need to get creative and find ways to connect, even if we don’t like that stuff.
I got a Wattsapp message from a mate recently after this big UFC fight and he posted: ‘Jacob didn’t tap out, he held on until God blessed him!’
It made me laugh but it was clever, it turned a subject that he isn’t into, into something useful, a conversation starter. Instead of being offended and judgemental about this stuff, we must get creative and accept guys for who they are and what they like. Then we will find ways to share who Jesus is and what motivates our faith.
Just a thought.
Image Credit: Hermes Rivera