Note: This is the first blog post of Stupid Church People on April 1, 2005. The show PUNK’d no longer exists (Google it) but SCP does. Also, for the record, I no longer attend church. This post explains the genesis of SCP and it still holds true.
It seems appropriate to begin “Stupid Church People” on April Fools Day.
This is the day that thousands and thousands of people will be tricked, teased, and manipulated into believing something that is not actually true or real. If you have ever been made a fool of on this day, join the club. It is the day that everyone gets to be their own Ashton Kutcher and PUNK someone. (Sorry friends – being Ashton for the day does not mean you get to hang with Demi – but we can dream now can’t we?)
Fooling someone can be quite easy. On the show PUNK’d it usually involves the following formula:
1. The prank is always orchestrated by someone the PUNKee trusts. Their best friend, their manager, or their spouse – someone close to them.
2. The prank usually consists of something the person values (I mean if they didn’t care, then they wouldn’t care right?). This can be their car, their house or even their time.
3. The prank always involves sucking the person in. At first they can’t believe it, but the person they trust keeps telling them over and over (Dude, your car has been totaled) and eventually they buy it.
4. The prank always has the big “reveal”. You don’t go on leading them on forever. That would be cruel. So there is always that revealing moment, “Hey man, just kidding, that isn’t your car – your car is safely back home in the garage.”
PUNK’d is a pretty funny show (although somewhat cruel) and April Fools Day is a somewhat harmless day of silly office pranks. But at the end of it all, no one likes to be “the Foolee”. It is much more fun to be the Fooler.
The goal of Stupid Church People is to be honest about how “foolish” church people can be. This is true for those of us that attend church (yours truly) and those that lead churches as paid staff (formerly yours truly).
I have been in the position of the “FOOLER”. I have designed programs and events that were done under the auspices of “bringing people to Christ” but were actually intended to increase the attendance numbers to make me look good to those around me. That is just one example. As the FOOLER my ego played a huge role in ministry.
I have been on the side of the “FOOLEE”. I have experienced that moment when the curtain is pulled back to reveal that the Wizard is nothing more than a sniveling, weak person who only has the power that I allow them to have. This can be very, very painful. When you see those that you trust lead you astray it is always painful.
The good news is that I am not alone. There are many, many people on both sides of the aisle in this discussion. Those that “FOOL” others and those that get “FOOLED”. The pain will be obvious for both groups as we share our stories together.
Do I hate the church? No. Do I still attend the church? Yes. Do I support the church? By all means. I just wanted to design a place where we can sometimes laugh at ourselves, where the truth is spoken, where light is shed on the darkness and where hurting people can share their pain.
Welcome to Stupid Church People.