Monday, August 4, 2014

Wrestling with God

A Sermon on Genesis 32:22-31

I do not like to watch people fight on television. I do not like wrestling, I do not like boxing, and to be perfectly honest, I routinely mix up wrestling and boxing, which horrifies my husband. I am told they are entirely different sports, but I can’t stand watching either one long enough to learn the difference. Recently, despite my distaste for televised fights, I’ve been hearing a lot recently about yet a third kind of fighting, MMA, or mixed martial arts. Apparently, there is an MMA competition coming up where amateurs can compete to win a big pot of cash.

A man I know from my neighborhood who sometimes attends my church’s sandwich line is certain that that prize has his name on it. He’s been telling me for the last couple of weeks about his training regimen, his potential competitors, the friends who are coaching him. He’s told me how many push-ups and pull-ups he can do and described MMA techniques in exhaustive detail.

Finally, a few days ago, I couldn’t take it anymore. As he continued to wax poetic about roundhouse kicks and chokeholds, I told him that I thought it was a sin and a shame that people relax by watching other humans do violence to one another on television. I told him that I hoped things worked out, and I wanted the best for him, but that the world has too much senseless violence already, without people hitting each other for money and other people watching for fun. I got on my high horse, and I declared the whole endeavor ungodly and evil.

And then I read the scripture for today. It would appear that my personal distaste for wrestling is not actually reflected in all of Christian scripture and theology.