intro to fight club
“Welcome to Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club! Third rule of Fight Club: if someone yells “Stop!” goes limp, or taps out, the fight is over. Fourth rule: only two guys to a fight. Fifth rule: one fight at a time, fellas. Sixth rule: the fights are bare knuckle. No shirt, no shoes, no weapons. Seventh rule: fights will go on as long as they have to. And the eighth and final rule: if this is your first time at Fight Club, you have to fight.” (From Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk)
So, I begin with a question: Do many Christians handle the realm of spiritual warfare by applying some rules of Fight Club? In my experience (limited yet lucid), Christian churches don’t/won’t/embarrassingly can’t talk about living and fighting in the spiritual equivalent of a world at war. Certainly not the churches I’ve attended in Louisville, Kentucky. Rules 1 and 2? Check. It would seem the spiritual vasectomy some church leaders here must undergo in order to summit the pulpit eliminates the concept of warfare from their spirit, soul and body, their heart, mind and will. Or maybe some would offer the flaccid strength of a spent man and perhaps say, “That’s a job for Jesus and not for me.” Rule 3? Check. In the Gospel of John (10:10), Jesus – as a man on a mission and in no need of spiritual Viagra– tells us: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
In his no-holds barred book Waking the Dead, author John Eldredge doesn’t worry about offending the delicate sensibilities of any Christian by cracking the eggs of Jesus’ spiritual truth right into the cast iron skillet of warfare reality: “Have you ever wondered why Jesus married those two statements? Did you even know he spoke them at the same time? I mean, he says them in one breath. And he has his reasons. By all means, God intends life for you. But right now that life is opposed. It doesn’t just roll in on a tray. There is a thief. He comes to steal and kill and destroy. Why won’t we face this? I know so few people who will face this. The offer is life, but you’re going to have to fight for it because there’s an Enemy in your life with a different agenda. There is something set against us. We are at war. I don’t like that fact any more than you do, but the sooner we come to terms with it, the better hope we have of making it through to the life we do want. This is not Eden. You probably figured that out. This is not Mayberry, this is not Seinfeld’s world, this is not Survivor. The world in which we live is a combat zone, a violent clash of kingdoms, a bitter struggle unto the death. I am sorry if I am the one to break this news to you: you were born into a world at war, and you will live all your days in the midst of a great battle, involving all the forces of heaven and hell and played out here on earth. Where did you think all this opposition was coming from?”
In 2009, Eldredge put the skillet on the fire in his work Fathered by God and said something that made so much sense to me that I have a copy of his words sitting on my desk at home so I will see and read and remind my heart of them every day: “We live in a world at war. We are supposed to fight back. It is apparently a difficult reality to embrace, as witnessed by the passivity that marks much of modern Christianity. We just want the Christian life to be all about the sweet love of Jesus. But that is not what’s going on here. You may not like the situation, but that only makes it unattractive – it does not make it untrue.”
If the modern Christian church weren’t so emasculated, his quote would exquisitely double it over in well-deserved pain as a good shot to the nut sack should. Welcome to Fight Club – MAXIMUS HEART style! As I co-create this iteration of my calling with a Father who is after my heart like no other, a brother/warrior named Jesus who is fiercely determined to train me in the skills of spiritual masculinity, and the brilliant counsel of a Wild Goose whose wisdom and cunning are more valuable than any world currency, I desire this section to be, well…raw, true, bold, dangerous for good, and leaving no one who reads anything here on a fence. In other words, you’re going to feel an impact. And that’s good…and intentional.
Some of the topics will be handling mature content. Some of the language will be raw and unfiltered – grace, while amazing, is as messy as spirituality at times…I make no apologies and offer no condolences to anyone that could – and will – be offended with the hammer and anvil of fighting for truth and light in a dark and deadly world at war.
The truth, after all, should be disruptive in its honesty. Jesus doesn’t do it in any other way. More will be revealed…