In Brazil, it’s not a sin to be cool


“The atmosphere was electric at Reborn in Christ Church on “Extreme Fight” night. Churchgoers dressed in jeans and sneakers, many with ball caps turned backward, lined a makeshift boxing ring to cheer on bare-chested jujitsu fighters.

They screamed when a fan favorite, Fabio Buca, outlasted his opponent after several minutes. They went wild when Pastor Dogão Meira, 26, took his man down, pinning him with an armlock just 10 seconds into the fight.

With the crowd still buzzing, Pastor Mazola Maffei, dressed in army pants and a T-shirt, grabbed a microphone. Pastor Maffei, who is also Pastor Meira’s fight trainer, then held the crowd rapt with a sermon about the connection between sports and spirituality.

“You need to practice the sport of spirituality more,” he urged. “You need to fight for your life, for your dreams and ideals.”

Reborn in Christ is among a growing number of evangelical churches in Brazil that are finding ways to connect with younger people to swell their ranks. From fight nights to reggae music to video games and on-site tattoo parlors, the churches have helped make evangelicalism the fastest-growing spiritual movement in Brazil.”NYT (more on it here)

Special shout-out to Marginal Revolution (who started the “Why are books so expensive in Brazil?” conversation) for writing about this NYT story. When clicking on the “writing about” link, you will also find thoughtful commentary by MR’s readers.

I found one commentor’s words to strike a chord when he said that the common religious theme of sheep to the shepherd is also what is helping to bring in the youth of today by bribing them with ‘their own culture’. On a side note, I wasn’t sure if I should have placed this post under religion or business.

Informal Portuguese – Cool

Here’s how to say ‘cool’ in Brazilian Portuguese. There’s ‘Legal’, ‘Bacana’, ‘Massa’, ‘Show (de bola)’, ‘Manero’, ‘Irado’, ‘Sinistro’ and for Portugal…’Fixe’.”

Let me know if ‘massa’ is only used in SP and the Northeast. Also, I believe ‘bacana’ is used primarily in SP, although understood in most places. Manero can also be spelled ‘Maneiro’ and technically, if you wanted to say ‘a cool way’, you could say ‘uma maneira maneira’ (maneira means ‘way’) although I’m sure that’s avoided for consfusion’s sake.

I forgot ‘animal’ (ah-ni-mawl) which is used in SP for something really good.

Who decided Brazil was cool?

As a bit of a continuation of the Rio Gringo post I did, I found an article from the BBC from 2004 called “Who decided Brazil was cool?” in which the author attempts to describe why there is (was) a run on all things Brazilian (at least in the UK). At one point, the author writes…

“Not only is the world looking to Brazil for inspiration, Brazil itself is growing in confidence to break free of its stereotype of football, carnivals and samba.”

…yet the entire article revolves around these very things, stereotypes, complete with photos of Carnival dancers, the Christ statue, a screen shot from City of God, etc. I would think that in writing such a statement, one would wish to show instead of just tell. In the comment field, Ana from Brazil who lives in the UK, says…

“I am really happy to see that Brazil is getting a reputation as a country that has more to offer than samba, football and coffee.”

Even though the article she presumably just read, relates to those exact things. I think what the author of the article meant when she chose a title is, “Brazil is very cool…especially when just skimming the surface.” 

Here is the BBC article.

I suggest that the author take a look through my site and realize that if one wants to decide if Brazil is cool or not, its simply a matter of taking a deeper look.