A Church Of Another Kind

I had originally planned to attend church this morning in Cebu, Philippines…but as with a lot of traveling plans, things did not work that way. Nope, instead of attending a Vineyard Church, I attended a church of a different kind.

A boxing church.

Yes, boxing – as in Pacquiao versus Marquez III.

For those who don’t follow the sport of boxing, Manny Pacquiao is a Filipino boxer turned politician who is rated the best pound for pound boxer in the world. He has won six world titles and championships in four different weight classes – a crazy, unbelievable record!

Juan Marquez is a Mexican boxer who has won eight world titles in three weight classes. He originally fought Manny in May 2004 where it was considered a draw. Four years later the two met again (March 2008) where Manny won by a very, very slim margin via a judges vote.

Today was their third fight – and one that everyone was hoping would end in a knockout. Sadly the winner was once again determined by the judges after 12 rounds – at 2.5 minutes per round, that is a hour of fighting!!! Talk about fitness and stamina!

During this hour, the tension and excitement was amazing! I can’t say that I have been too many places where everyone was on edge – staring at the screen and wishing their hero on.

It was almost like church.

There was a spiritual side to the experience that I can’t explain. I just remembering sitting there thinking about how this feeling of unity, of excitement could be addicting. I could feel myself not wanting it to end – to start planning for the next ‘church’ meeting. To somehow recreate the bond I had with the crowd and with Manny Pacquiao.

Yet the fight did end; the worship service was over.

Then two MCs came forward with some announcements followed by a gentleman who begin to pitch a multi-level marketing business. Using phrases from the Bible, this ‘preacher’ spoke about unlimited income and a changed life to those who would join him in an effort to change their country through tourism.

After a 45mins of teaching, the preacher gave an altar call for those who wanted to join with him – gesturing to the ushers who would give out cards to those moved by the ‘spirit’. He also gave out some door prizes to those who stayed throughout the event – returning the focus back to the important part of the services: myself and my greed.

Greed to get something…greed to feel something…greed to be part of something…

Yes, I went to ‘church’.

Or, should I say, I went to a counterfeit church with empty promises and hollow emotions. Lord Jesus protect your people and may we seek your face and not a hollow church, whether it be in a bar, a church building or a boxing match. May we know you heart to heart.

(oh, and Manny won by a two to one judges vote…in case you were wondering.) 🙂

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