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March 15, 2007

Jesus Christ Ass Kicker

If you look hard enough in the Gospels, you'll find a Jesus that any red-blooded, pick-up truck and football lovin' American he-man can relate to. Just skip all the parts where Jesus heals the sick and hangs out with widows and children, or where he talks about turning the other cheek and the meek inheriting the Earth, and get to the part where the Lord goes ape in the Temple. Now that's a man for Men, or more specifically for GodMen, a growing group of Christian guys who believe that traditional church services are too feminine and sissy, explaining why less than 40 percent of churchgoers today are male.

Founded by comic Brad Stine, GodMen meets in a rented space at a Tennessee mall hoping to put some hair back on the chest of Christianity. Daylong sessions are full of guy stunts (men bending frying pans and metal bars with their bare hands) and God talk. "It's about men stepping up and being strong again," Stine told Good Morning America today. "A meek and mild Jesus," he added, "eventually is a bore."

Stine doesn't want to do away with the even-tempered, loving Jesus, just to put him in perspective. "There was also a table-tippin' guy that went after people with a whip," he told GMA. "I mean, that's assault and battery in the United States of America. It sounds like a sin, at least if I'm whipping you! But Jesus didn't sin, so apparently there are nuances to Christianity, an element to it, that we haven't been taught as men because we're different than women."

"So when we walk into a church," he added, "we don't see metal, we see ferns. We're not used to that! We want something that shows the masculine side as well."

So what does to GodMen offer guys?

"You go to this event, you get to be real and raw," Stine said. "We're flawed, we're messed up, we're not perfect. We don't have it right. We're on a journey, but we screw up every single day. But now you have a tribe of brothers that promise to walk with you on this."

I originally wrote this for Beliefnet.

Posted By John D. Spalding | Email

 


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