Did Jesus even lift, bro? Nobody knows but we do have the deets on evangelical wrestling, The Power Team, and Buff Jesus. LET’S GET RIPPED!
JEY: I met this hot MILF at emo night, and so we've been going out on some dates. We just got done thrifting. So that's why I'm late to record this podcast. Sorry, I was on that MILF money train. You know what I mean?
CLINT: Is this person actually a mother or…?
JEY: Yes, she was like, I have kids, is that okay? And I was like, Are you telling me that this is the first summer of MILF? Like, I recently became obsessed with Young Gravy because he loves MILFs so much, and now I got to wear a MILF’s lipstick home from Emo Night the other night. So I would say that I'm having a great time.
CLINT: The fact that you’re picking up MILFs at Emo Night, an event I find nostalgic, makes me feel super old and also a little depressed.
JEY: Emo Night is so surreal because I'm friends with all the people who run Emo Night L.A. in Texas, and a lot of the people that are Emo Night DJs got their start in megachurches, some of them are pastors’ kids. Some of them went to church camp,
CLINT: So do you think we could wrangle these people into helping me with my CCM rave idea?
JEY: I really think that we could definitely do that. And I think it would be really funny. It would be like a Shrek rave or like a Taylor Swift rave, like we’re banking on people's nostalgia.
CLINT: There has never been an event where you can go dance to early 2000’s CCM and also get shitfaced.
JEY: That's what I need. Yeah. Now I am ready to, like, be an absolute slut to some FM Static.
CLINT: It’s the crossover that no one asked for but everyone desperately needs.
JEY: I just bought some Demonias. Like, give me some Skillet. You know what I mean?
CLINT: Speaking of fancy boots, how do you feel about professional wrestling, Jey?
JEY: You know, I have not. I'm not a competitive person. I don't like fighting. I like when we work together to do things so really, not my sport.
CLINT: Well professional wrestling is not actually a competition. It's stage combat, not actual fighting.
JEY: I watched that show Glow. Have you seen it?
CLINT: Yeah, it's exactly like that.
JEY: And I was like, Oh, I could do that. I can take a punch and look hot.
CLINT: That's what it's all about, really. I learned a little wrestling back in college. I was part of a stage combat troupe. We mainly helped theatre productions with sword fights and things like that. But one production wanted to do professional wrestling-style fights for their Shakespeare play instead of fencing so we all learned the basics.
JEY: Amazing, truly.
CLINT: It was pretty sick, not gonna lie. But wrestling isn’t something I was very into as a kid. Back when I lived in Oakland, I became a really big fan of Hoodslam, which is based there. They take a lot of wrestling tropes and turn them on their ear. And over the years, they developed a lot of chants and weird little eccentricities that you would pick up on if you went to shows. My favorite one was anytime something completely ridiculous and obviously fake would happen, everyone in the audience would just start chanting, “This is real, this is real!”
JEY: Amazing. So it's like, yeah, we're in on the joke but we love it.
CLINT: My favorite wrestler there was called Drugs Bunny. He was this insane rabbit. And like, when he was going to be in the show, they would fill the tops of the corner posts with baby powder so when he was like fighting, he would run over to the corner and blow into it and send white powder everywhere.
JEY: So that it looks like he's doing fucking coke or something.
CLINT: It was amazing.
JEY: I never wrestled but when I was little, we went to some other church and there were these, like, Christian bodybuilders there, and they would like, rip phone books and half. I think the guy got like a hundred nails and like, cut them hammered into his chest, but like, they didn't go in or something because Jesus.
CLINT: We're definitely going to be getting into that because evangelical powerlifting and evangelical wrestling are peas in a pod.
JEY: To prepare me for this episode, I started watching season two of the Righteous Gemstones again, where, I think his name is like Kelvin-
CLINT: What's the name of his team? It's like the God Team or something.
JEY: The God Squad. And it's just all these, like, ridiculously hot men trying to, like, lift this cross and they're like, all clearly gay, but it's not supposed to be gay. Oh, man, it's great. Good, good times.
CLINT: Hello, everyone, and welcome back to How Gay Thou Art, a comedy podcast about growing up queer, Christian, and hella confused. My name is Clint Keller, he/him.
JEY: I'm Jey Austin, they/them, and today we're going to be answering the question, “Did Jesus even lift bro?”
JEY: So today we're covering muscular Christianity, evangelical power lifting and Jesus wrestling.
CLINT: This is not a Jacob thing though. This is he who wrestles for god, not with god.
JEY: This is not a faith thing. We do not care if you are Christian or not. If you're listening to this, if you are here, if you're not, yay. Either way, we're talking about Christian pro wrestling today.
CLINT: I mean, if you are a Christian, I won’t hold it against you, but I'm not going to clap or anything.
JEY: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You don't get a cookie.
CLINT: What we’re talking about here is WWE style wrestling, but for evangelistic purposes. As for the power lifting, it’s heavy weights, dangerous stunts, and feats of strength in the name of Jesus. And muscular Christianity is just sort of the framework that pulls it all together. We're not going to spend too much time on that though because it is a whole can of worms.
JEY: We'll spend an hour.
JEY: Well, we'll tell you about it
CLINT: Our main sources today are Wrestling with Satan, a documentary by Paul Aldridge and Tom Morton, Wrestling for Jesus, a documentary by Nathan Clark and the 1991 TBN Special John Jacobs and the Power Team Touches the World, which was my personal favorite.
JEY: I also watched a bunch of YouTube videos that the Christian wrestling Foundation- Federation?
CLINT: Federation. Yeah. It's a rip off. WWE used to be WWF, But then they had to change federation to entertainment because they got sued by WWF, the Panda organization.
JEY: Yeah. Got it. I love that.
CLINT: But yeah, there are dozens of hours of Christian wrestling on YouTube. There's quite a bit.
JEY: If you love amateur wrestling and a bunch of children screaming, there are so many wrestling videos out there for you, and I don't know what it is, but the audience seems to all be youth groups.
CLINT: Well, it's all targeted at kids.
JEY: These are dads. These are definitely the dads that just wanted to wrestle.
CLINT: Although if you watch the documentaries, you will find that they are shitty dads.
JEY: Are they like dance moms? But wrestling dads.
CLINT: No. They're just grown ass men who use ministry as a cover to just spend all of their time rolling around in the ring with their buds.
JEY: I love that.
CLINT: You'll also notice a consistent theme here that every single person who founded one of these organizations, be it wrestling or powerlifting, has gotten divorced.
JEY: I don't know what it is, but I'm going to just say this once. If they go to the gym every day, they don't know how to eat pussy. Like, there is this dude and he's like, so hot. His abs have abs, right? And he was in and out of my house in under an hour.
CLINT: Here's the problem, here's the problem. People who are really, really hot don't have to try very hard.
JEY: I know! That's my shtick. I can't have a partner that does the same thing.
CLINT: Then you’re destined to date less attractive people.
JEY: I swear to God, this man is trying to sext just like, “I could use some hands.” Like on your dick? Like I could use a mouth. I swear to God. I think he only sexts so that he can talk about his own dick. You know what I mean?
CLINT: Yeah, well, people who spend a lot of time at the gym are often very into themselves.
JEY: Yeah, that's what I mean. Like, I feel like you're more into your own dick than you are other people's pussies. Just like, go fuck yourself, not me.
CLINT: There's no GGG at the gym.
JEY: GGG? What's GGG?
CLINT: Good, giving, game.
JEY: Good giving and game.
CLINT: Like you're good at sex, you're a giving partner and you're game, you’re DTF.
JEY: I've never heard that.
CLINT: Well, let's dig into muscular Christianity just a little bit. Again, I don't want to get too far into the weeds with this.
JEY: I'm really excited because I didn't realize just how far back- So when I think of muscular Christianity, what I think of is those really, really ripped what are they called the not the ichthus but the the…
JEY: Thank you crucifix. Wow.
CLINT: Have you ever been to church?
JEY: I did nineteen years that they got on me. Anyway so crucifix - I almost called it chrysanthemum. You know like when there's the Jesus and he's got like a gajillion abs?
CLINT: Sure. And that's definitely part of it. But to really get to the core of this we're going to have to go back hundreds and hundreds of years to the Victorian era. You see, up to the Victorian era, Christianity didn’t really give a shit about physical fitness or self-care of any kind. Christianity was really associated with monasteries, and convents, and living a life of poverty.
JEY: That's what I'm used to, right? Like that idea that you're not supposed to work out. My mom was very much like, uh, don't work out. That's too vain. Vanity is bad.
CLINT: Also at this time, Jesus was portrayed as pacifist and feminine. I’m sure everyone has seen old paintings or sculptures of Jesus. He had an angelic vibe. He's not a masculine, tough guy. But a bunch of old white dude in England decided Jesus was too feminine and weak. And that weakness was trickling down to the congregation. They thought modern living was making everybody soft. And the remedy to this was Muscle Jesus.
JEY: Hold that, hold that. So you're telling me that these bitches are just like, “Jesus - he's got a man bun. We don't like it. we're going to need this man to go out. I don't know. He was a carpenter. He was manly. He was working with his hands. That's what they did. Wow. They totally boys scouts’d this.
CLINT: You don’t know how right you are. Tons of athletic organizations we know today - YMCA, Boy Scouts, FCA, Promise Keepers - they all have roots in muscular Christianity.
CLINT: Because a major tenet of muscular Christianity was the belief that physical vigor and spiritual discipline were somehow connected, that athleticism is be tied to religious devotion. All of this started in England, but it soon came to America, where we made it even worse by incorporating frontier ideals and rugged individualism. And now, hundreds of years later, we live in a world where white Christian men conflate toxic masculinity with good Christian character and conservative Christians are obsessed with violence and gun culture. They're pro-war. They're pro-police. All of this comes out of muscular Christianity.
JEY: This whole obsession with masculinity is a little gay to be honest.
CLINT: All of this is very gay. A bunch of Victorian dudes thought Jesus was too feminine, and 200 years later we've got evangelical Christians rolling around a wrestling ring in their underwear.
CLINT: Now that we’ve laid a bit of a foundation, let's talk about the 80’s weightlifting sensation, The Power Team. Jey, do you know The Power Team?
JEY: Okay, so, uh, no, but I'm guessing it is basically like, the Harlem Globetrotters but more like powerlifters and Christian.
CLINT: Kinda. They’re just extreme powerlifters who use their bodies as a tool for evangelism. They incorporate preaching into displays of strength, martial arts skills, and dangerous stunts. That's the whole bit.
JEY: Wait, so this might have been the people that I saw growing up?
CLINT: Almost certainly.
JEY: Wow I feel so seen.
CLINT: So The Power Team was founded in the late 70’s by John Jacobs and here's the thing - The Power Team was a big deal in the 80’s and not just among evangelicals. They had mainstream success as well. Guess how much money The Power Team took in on average during the eighties.
JEY: Okay, So I'm going to do some quick math, this is just a guess. $250,000.
CLINT: $11 million.
JEY: Jesus Christ. It was so wrong.
CLINT: They were touring around the world, dude!
CLINT: They were reaching over a million teenagers a year and raking in $11 million in the process.
JEY: $11 million.
CLINT: They traveled all over the place - South Africa, New Zealand, Israel, Russia. They were taking buff Jesus anywhere people would listen. Their show included all kinds of crazy shit. They would lay on beds of nails while weights were stacked on top of them. Their big thing was blowing up hot water bottles with their mouth, which is impressive I guess but not nearly as metal.
CLINT: You know, like, hot water bottles that you put at the foot of your bed to keep your feet warm. It’s like a big rubber bottle.
CLINT: Anyway, they're made of thick, hefty rubber and they would put their mouth on it and they would inflate it until it popped. And it was very dangerous to do. If they were to, like, slip up and let the air rush back into their lungs, it could make their lungs explode, apparently.
JEY: That is certainly an eighties-like thing to do.
CLINT: There are videos of this on YouTube if you care to see for yourself. And like I said, this was not some sort of niche thing. Krist Novoselic from Nirvana wore a Power Team t-shirt at a bunch of their shows back in the day. They were on MTV. They were all over the place.
JEY: I would do that. Ironically, I would wear a Christian powerlifting cropped up.
CLINT: I'm not convinced it was ironic.
JEY: Oh, God.
CLINT: And they didn't always do a Christian thing. They performed at a lot of schools, still do actually, and just deliver a positive, uplifting message. There were plenty of religious dog whistles, of course, but nothing explicit. The shows themselves were basically an alternation of personal testimony and powerlifting. A team member would come on stage, give a little talk, do a stunt, then swap out with someone else. Then there was usually a closing message/altar call led by John Jacobs himself. They claimed insane conversion numbers - up to 50%!
JEY: Oh, yeah. Half the people accepted Jesus once they got there. That means that the people coming wouldn't have been Christian.
CLINT: Well I imagine they’re counting rededications as well.
JEY: Yeah, that's every kid in the youth group that they've convinced don't have their salvation so they rededicate themselves like every week. It was me.
CLINT: Exactly. All of this started as a prison ministry actually.
JEY: I could see that like, because they, like, think boys getting ripped in prison and then…
CLINT: So the founder - John Jacobs - was a preacher who was also into bodybuilding. He was preaching at prisons but nobody was coming to listen to him. But one day he was hanging out with one of the local sheriffs, and the sheriff showed him how to break out of handcuffs without any tools or anything.
JEY: Why would one of the sheriffs- Oh, he wasn’t a convict.
CLINT: Right. They were buds.
CLINT: So he incorporated the handcuff thing into his next sermon. The theme was “Breaking the Chains of the Devil.”
JEY: So he started teaching this to former prisoners…”
CLINT: Current prisoners actually. And that was that. The Power Team was born.
JEY: No one's coming to my service. What do I have to teach these prisoners? I know. I'll go to the prison yard and teach people how to get out of handcuffs.
CLINT: I had not considered the fact that he immediately turned around and took this information to the prisoners.
JEY: I just still can’t stop thinking about this guy. Just teaching all the prisoners how to break out. I love this. ACAB but only if you believe in Jesus.
CLINT: Jesus breaks the chains.
JEY: You better get yourself wrapped with the Lord. sorry. Anyway, continue.
CLINT: The Power Team sailed along without a hitch for 27 years. They grew in popularity. People loved it. It starts declining a bit in the nineties, but in May of 2000, everything falls apart when John Jacobs and his wife get divorced.
JEY: Yeah. She didn't want to jingle his Smith anymore.
CLINT: I mean, I bet his jingle Hammersmith didn't even work anymore after all the roids.
JEY: Jesus breaks chains, but he's not resurrecting that dead dick.
CLINT: No resurrection there. Obviously, this was not looked upon very favorably by the Christian crowd so Jacobs was ousted from the team. He started a new team called Team Impact but it didn't go very well. A year in, he was charged with assault and battery against a Team Impact member. In 2002, the original Power Team filed for bankruptcy but later that year, a longtime Power Team member named Todd Keene resurrected it, renamed it Todd Keene and the Power Team 2.0, and it’s been going ever since.
JEY: What did he change the name from?
CLINT: It was John Jacobs and the Power Team. Now it's Todd Keene and the Power Team 2.0.
JEY: That's like when you see First Baptist Church and Second Baptist Church in the same town.
CLINT: So they’re still performing in churches and other venues such as schools. They can't talk about religion directly at schools, but they promote social responsibility as well as abstinence from drugs and alcohol. They really hate drugs. Of course, they came about in the DARE era. Listen to this anti-drug PSA they made back in the 90’s.
The Power Team clip
CLINT: That never gets old. Here’s the thing with all this - it’s actually just a form of the prosperity gospel.
JEY: If you love Jesus, he will make you strong.
CLINT: Exactly. In a quote, John Jacobs said, “Ever since I was 16, I've put God first. And God's given me a beautiful wife (Look at my smoking hot wife!), a great ministry, I’ve been around the world to 22 countries and have seen literally millions of people come to Christ and rededicate their lives. Why? Because of my talent? No. Because of my strength? No. Because of my abilities? No. It's because God honors people who honor him. When you put God first and seek his way, he'll add everything to your life.” You know, I'm not an expert in bodybuilding or even religion, but I feel almost certain when I say that becoming a Christian will not make you ripped or rich.
JEY: No. My final thought is this - I get that you want to find people in your interests. But you don't have to slap a Jesus label on it. If you want to minister to people, use your muscles to build houses.
CLINT: That would be a much more productive use of their physical strength.
JEY: Stop breaking bricks, start building them.
CLINT: That's a good line. Deep, Jey. Deep. What is with this thing where evangelicals have a compulsion to turn everything they do into a religious activity? They can't just have interests and hobbies that are unrelated to evangelical Christianity. Why can't they just be into weightlifting and also go to church?
JEY: It’s about shielding themselves from the outside world. Worldly things are OK if you remove them from the world.
CLINT: Can we remove evangelical powerlifting from the world?
CLINT: Ok let's move on to wrestling because this is what I’m really stoked to talk about.
JEY: Real wrestling or like, show wrestling?
CLINT: Nobody gives a shit about real wrestling.
JEY: High schoolers.
CLINT: I stand by my statement. No, we’re talking about WWE style, professional stage wrestling with all the melodrama and the grudges and the choreographed fights.
JEY: I just went and searched Christian wrestling on YouTube and ended up finding the CWF and their channel. They post like every wrestling match.
CLINT: Of course. You have to keep up with the storylines.
JEY: I felt like I was watching wrestling vacation Bible school
CLINT: Here’s the thing about Christian wrestling - and this is true about a lot of evangelical versions of things - it kinda misses the point of it all. There isn’t any dramatic tension because the good guys always win. Team Jesus always comes out on top. A lot of wrestling fans probably wouldn’t admit this but the real reason people love professional wrestling isn’t because of the fighting. It’s the drama. And there is zero drama in Christian wrestling.
JEY: It's like watching Bible man.
CLINT: Yep. And it’s just so so fucking bad.
JEY: So in all the copaganda shows, the “good guys” always win at the end of the episode, every episode but people still watch it for the mystery.
CLINT: Yeah but mystery is drama. But there's no mystery in evangelical wrestling.
JEY: You're saying it's bad acting? Yeah. Okay, cool. Got it. Well, there's a writers strike going on…
CLINT: I don't think the WGA strike has affected the CWF.
JEY: They are in Texas…
CLINT: There's been a lot of these Christian wrestling orgs pop up here and there regionally. But there are only two that have stood the test of time - Christian Wrestling Federation, which is the one that you've been talking about, and Warriors 4 Christ Wrestling. That’s the number four by the way. I’m not sure why.
JEY: Of course it is.
CLINT: Let's talk about the actual experience of these shows. On the most basic level, it’s trying to replicate a WWE-style wrestling show, which I imagine most people are somewhat familiar with even if they’ve never watched wrestling.
JEY: Yeah. WrestleMania. Fight, fight. Let's go. And there's, like, a lot of a lot of feuds, hot women.
CLINT: Well, you don't get the hot women so much in the Christian wrestling, unfortunately.
JEY: Well, then why the fuck would I watch it?
CLINT: To get hot for J-E-S-U-S! Similar to WWE, there are ongoing plotlines, rivalries, championships, monologues, choreographed fights. The twist comes at the end when the vibe takes a hard left into a brief sermon/altar call where they try to get everyone saved or rededicated to Christ.
JEY: No, they get 50% of people.
CLINT: The numbers they report really are actually insane. Like many forms of evangelism, all of this is very much targeted at kids. They’ll often even lead the kids to a different room after the show and try to get them to get saved and also pressure them to bring their friends who are unchurched to the next wrestling match.
JEY: OK you’re making these WWE comparisons but it's nothing like the production value of actual professional wrestling.
CLINT: Oh no, no no. The production value is essentially nonexistent. These usually take place in a rural community center or rec hall, harsh fluorescent lights overhead. There’s an announcer on a shitty PA. You’ve got an old lady sitting behind a fold-out table selling canned Mountain Dew and raffle tickets.The audience is seated in fold-out chairs. The ring is some sort of dangerous homemade abomination. But despite all of this, the crowd, especially the kids, are usually very into what’s happening. And I have to say, this is easily the most redneck thing we’ve covered on this show so far. What’s ever wilder though is how they will sometimes work sermons into the wrestling matches themselves, even if it breaks every semblance of reality.
JEY: Do continue…
CLINT: In one video I was watching, the hero character was handcuffed to the ropes and they stop everything. And he just starts addressing the audience directly and he's like, “As I'm looking at this chain wrapped around my wrist, these handcuffs, I’m reminded of a message I want to share with all of you. The only purpose we're here for is to serve God. This represents chains of bondage within a person's soul, the possession of bondage within your soul, within your heart, in your life. Are you living a life right now that's got you shackled in chains? There's only one addiction out there, and that's the addiction to Christ. We're going to give you the chance to get addicted. I'm going to give you the opportunity to make the move. There's no drug out there that'll get you high like getting addicted to Christ”. And the crowd just goes fuckin wild. It’s also worth remembering that this kind of talk makes a little more sense in the context of the opioid epidemic, particularly in Appalachia.
JEY: Right. I didn’t even think about that.
CLINT: The big thing I think we should talk about here, though, is how when they use wrestling as a means of evangelism, the gospel ends up being understood entirely through a lens of violence. All of their sermons, everything they talk about, is always about waging war with Satan and fighting for souls. They never talk about morality or community, or how Jesus said to live. It’s all about getting saved before you either die or the world ends. They're not helping people with their problems in a practical way or modeling Christian behavior at all.
JEY: Who designs the wrestling costumes? Do you think they're just like Party City, Walmart kind of things?
CLINT: Most of them are actually homemade. They talk about it quite a bit in the documentaries.
JEY: Kind of love that.
CLINT: But these outfits are not modest by any means. They’re tight spandex. They have cutouts. Sometimes there isn’t a top at all to speak of. It kind of feels like hell house in that it’s OK to sin a little if it’s in the name of evangelism. But there is also the sexism piece where men can get away with this stuff but there’s no way women could wear outfits like that and grope each other for the world to see.
JEY: Yeah it’s a major double standard. You know how there are some flavors of Christians who only let women wear dresses and only let men wear like button-downs or suits or whatever? That’s what I want to see. Conservative Christians wearing khakis just beating the shit out of each other.
CLINT: Honestly, that would be so much more entertaining. I would love to see that. Maybe they could use a tie as, like, a weapon.
JEY: Yeah instead of handcuffs.
CLINT: Also, you know, in gay male culture, the powerlifting body suits, singlets, jock-stuff - that’s a whole thing.
JEY: And all of them divorce their wives, huh?
CLINT: It's very homo erotic. I mean, if you watch that Power Team thing from ‘91, it could almost be a gay porno if they'd just had some dick swinging in there.
JEY: you're telling me that there's no dick swinging in the Christian one?
CLINT: There is not any visible dick swinging, no. I think they wear cups. Don’t want any VPL on there.
JEY: Very penis light?
CLINT: Visible penis line.
JEY: Like the gray sweatpants.
CLINT: Yeah. The ol’ camel tail.
JEY: Yeah. Dick toe.
CLINT: Or is it toe dick?
JEY: This is what I'm saying.
CLINT: What do you think about Christian wrestling, in terms of the new evangelical vitriol against drag? Because, professional wrestling presents itself as hyper masculine, but those wrestlers are running around in bedazzled costumes and wearing Tammy Faye makeup.
JEY: Absolutely. The makeup, the costumes, the over-the-top characters.
CLINT: Soap-opera plotlines. It's camp.
JEY: Very much so. I'm like where is the line drawn?
CLINT: This is where we get into it’s all made up the points don’t matter territory. It doesn’t make any sense. They act like gender presentation has absolutes but then ignore that when it’s convenient for them. These wrestlers are immodest, flamboyant, objectified - but it’s totally fine somehow because they’re “straight.”
CLINT: OK, Jey, are you ready to rumble with a brand new game we’re calling “Porn Star or Christian Wrestler?”
JEY: Oh, God. These are two topics I know nothing about Clint.
CLINT: All right, stepping into the ring tonight we've got Jeyyyyyyy Austen!
JEY: I'm pumped. Let's get this bread.
CLINT: There are a lot of these, so we're going to go through them fast. There are men and women, and each of them are either a porn star or a Christian wrestler.
JEY: So I just need to say “porn star” or “Christian wrestler?”
JEY: Got it. Ready.
CLINT: Richard Cheese.
JEY: Richard Cheese. That's definitely a Christian wrestler. There's no way.
CLINT: Actually Richard Cheese is a porn star.
JEY: That makes me think of dick cheese.
CLINT: Next up, Terry Blocker.
JEY: That's a Christian wrestler.
CLINT: Correct! Ron Starr with 2 R’s.
JEY: Well that's how Ken Starr spelled his last name. So he could just be some random dude.
CLINT: No he's he's one or the other. It’s not just some random dude.
CLINT: Yep. Biff Malibu.
JEY: OK, Biff Malibu is definitely gay. Are these gay porn stars or just any porn star?
CLINT: Some of them are gay, but not all of them.
JEY: Porn star.
CLINT: You got it. Tommy Gunn with two N's. Tommy gunn.
JEY: Christian wrestler. I feel like they're too obsessed with guns.
CLINT: You’re on fire. Okay, Big Fitz.
JEY: Sounds a lot like Big Fist, but it doesn't seem intentional. I'm going to go Christian wrestler.
CLINT: How are you getting all these?
JEY: I'm just guessing.
CLINT: Colt Steel?
JEY: That makes me think of Blue Steel, the pose with the duck face, so I'm going to go with porn star.
CLINT: Yep. You’re doing so much better than I expected.
JEY: It's just the ones that sound like a dad made it up. That's the Christian wrestler. Like every time it just sounds like some sort of great value fucking wrestling name.
CLINT: Michael Meatman.
JEY: That's definitely a porn star.
CLINT: RIght again. Goddamn.
JEY: I'm so happy with myself.
CLINT: I thought this was going to completely fuck you up. How about Frenchie Sinclair?
JEY: It could be either one. I'm going to go with porn star.
CLINT: You got it again.
JEY: I really wasn't expecting to get that right.
CLINT: Stacy Took.
JEY: I don't think there's any Christian wrestlers that are women and I know that Stacey can be a guy's name but I’m going with porn star.
CLINT: Wrestler! Bam Bam Malone.
JEY: Oof! Uh, Bam Bam Malone - porn star.
JEY: Christian wrestler. OK Bam Bam Malone, you got me. I was doing so good.
CLINT: Phil The Real Deal Bishop.
JEY: The bishop makes me think Christian Wrestler Yeah I guess, Christian wrestler.
JEY: Fuck, yeah.
CLINT: Rocky Morocco
JEY: Rocky Morocco. Porn star.
CLINT: Nope. Small Hands.
JEY: Trump! Oh, sorry. Oh, yeah. porn star. It has to be.
CLINT: Sebastian Envy.
JEY: I think that this is a villain in the Christian Wrestlers.
CLINT: Nailed it. Johnny Lawless.
JEY: Johnny Lawless. I think it's a Christian wrestling villain.
JEY: Fucking told you.
CLINT: Rod Majors.
JEY: Rod Majors, porn star.
CLINT: Yep. Seth DeLay,
JEY: Like delay your cum? I feel like porn star.
CLINT: Wrong. Wild Man Jack?
JEY: I'm thinking like a porn star that wears a lot of, like, leopard print.
CLINT: Miz Keen?
JEY: Sounds too cool to be a Christian. Porn star.
CLINT: All right. Last two. Mighty B.
JEY: Porn star
JEY: What is the B?
CLINT: I don't know, Beatrice? Last one. Justa Dream.
JEY: Porn star.
CLINT: You got it. Strong finish.
JEY: Fuck yeah.
CLINT: Not bad, Jey. Not bad at all.
CLINT: Before we close this out, I do want to talk a little bit about the next iteration of all of this nonsense that cropped up recently - MMA fight churches.
JEY: I’m sorry, what? Like wrestling ministries but MMA?
CLINT: Well here’s the thing - the wrestling ministries are choreographed fights, right? It’s a show. At these MMA fight churches, people are literally just beating the shit out of each other. It's estimated that 700 white evangelical churches in America have an MMA program of some kind which is like, a lot. Not in the context of the total number of churches, but it still feels like a large number of churches to have programs for men to kick each others asses every Sunday.
JEY: So it’s Christian Fight Club.
CLINT: That's exactly what it is. There is a documentary about this called Fight Church, but it is totally unavailable right now for some reason. I can't find it anywhere, but there is a trailer for it so let’s listen to a couple clips.
FIght Church audio
CLINT: Well if that doesn’t disturb you, I don’t know what will. These churches have MMA classes, they host have fights, they throw PPV viewing parties. It’s wild.
JEY: This is, again, the glorification of violence, but they’re still not okay with sex. Could you imagine if they got a pay per view of like, porn and watched it at the church? Absolutely not. But violence is totally acceptable.
CLINT: The stage wrestling is one thing. They're putting on a show. It's basically a play they’re using that as a foray into evangelism. It's silly but it makes sense on some level. These MMA churches are literally just hosting cage fights and indoctrinating kids into a cult of toxic, masculine violence. I just don't know how you square that with anything Jesus ever said. But this is catching on. There's even a clothing company now called Jesus Didn't Tap which uh, I don’t what Bible they’re reading but Jesus literally tapped out. He willingly gave himself to slaughter.
CLINT: Tapped right out.
JEY: He gave up his weekend for people's sins, Clint.
CLINT: This is the most unhinged version of muscular Christianity that has ever existed. It is batshit crazy, and there are hundreds of these churches.
JEY: Yeah. And each of those churches has to have a group.
CLINT: Oh yeah. I mean, we're talking thousands of people. Thousands.
JEY: I'm so over the hyper masculine Christianity. There's got to be some like very Paris, Britney, Lindsay, hyper-feminine version of Christianity. I'm going to go find that.
CLINT: I don't know where else we can go from here in terms of muscular Christianity. Like what's more extreme than an MMA fight church? A fucking gladiator arena?
JEY: It really just seems like Christians wanted to start a fight club, and it doesn't even make any sense, but it reminds me a lot of the, “We are in a spiritual war with the devil” and, like, fighting and, like, all of the like, “I'm in the Lord's army. Yes, sir.”
CLINT: Sure. It’s been bubbling beneath the surface for a long time but outright fighting at church is a new development. And I think it makes sense in the context of white male rage and America’s obsession with violence. That part makes sense to me. It's dumb, but I understand it. What I don't understand is tying all that to your religion. It's very disturbing. I'm disturbed by this. I mean, when you tie your faith with culture war fears and Christian persecution fantasies then start building churches around the worship of violence, it’s a fucking powder keg.
JEY: It’s scary. It’s really scary. There are militias outside of drag shows. There are hate preachers calling for queer people to be stoned to death. And this is exactly the kind of thing that could push that kind of talk over the edge. Do you think that twinks can fight? No, we're just going to throw our poppers at them and see what happens.
CLINT: I don't know. I think you could do some pretty mean damage with a big dildo.
JEY: But, like, you can't bring a dildo to a gunfight.
CLINT: I wouldn't discount a twink hopped up on poppers. I bet they'd give some of these assholes a run for their money.
CLINT: All right, let's wrap this up. Thank you so much for joining us for our very first episode of season 3. We do have some new merch in the store. There's a sick new hoodie and new Chick Tract stickers which are my personal favorite thing in the store. Big shout out to Jennifer Ferguson for drawing the picture of Jey and I. It’s absolutely perfect. As always, you can find us on our website, howgaythouart.com. We’re on Instagram, Twitter AKA X, Facebook, Patreon, and all major podcast platforms.
JEY: If you have hate mail, if you hate us or you absolutely love us and you want to send us a story or something, or maybe you just really want to tell us about something that went on in your youth group that was wild, you can submit a voice recording on our site.
CLINT: We'll be back in two weeks with a brand new episode about the Left Behind film series. We watched every single one of them so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
JEY: Thank you so much for listening.
CLINT: We'll see you next time…in the ring!
BOTH: Ding, ding, ding!