Not So Stupid Church People

The other morning I was watching CNN and saw a story about college students who were using their Spring Break to go down to New Orleans and assist folks there in cleaning up. The morning host interviewed two of the students who were part of Campus Crusade for Christ group, and I was deeply impressed and strongly encouraged by their commitment and the manner in which they spoke while being interviewed. They didn’t use Christian lingo. They said the word “like” about a million times each, sprinkling it throughout the dialogue. They didn’t say “the Lord” at each and every opportunity to “get the message out”. They were nervous, anxious, excited, enthusiastic, genuine and pretty damn funny.

In short, these kids appeared N-O-R-M-A-L.

Remember what being “NORMAL” means?

I am so glad CNN or the leadership over at Campus Crusade used these students to tell the story. Imagine how different it would have been had one of the uppity-ups over at that organization had been interviewed. Maybe it wouldn’t have sounded different, but I think it would have been filled with God-language and platitudes.

These students sounded like, well, students. Real students. Normal students.

They were church people mind you, but they were “Not So Stupid Church People”.

In their own little world most of the time, church people “dumb themselves down” to the rest of society hence the appropriateness of our name for them – “Stupid Church People”. My biggest problem with most church people I know (myself included in the very near past) is how utterly ignorant we are of our culture. Oh, we think we are being “relevant” and that is one of our watchwords or mottos, but we are so completely and thoroughly clueless. Most (especially many full-time church leaders) have lost their ability to write, speak or even communicate on a daily basis in such a way as to be truly relevant. Some attempt to do so, but fall short.

One thing I have realized is that this “sub-culture” is so ingrained in me, that I may never recover. But there is hope in our youth. It is our job to help those that come after us to be a different kind of Christian. If someone chooses to enter into the sub-culture of church, do so responsibly. Church leaders should seek to assist those within their congregation to develop “normal” lives… not one that is codependent on church gatherings, small groups or meetings. This doesn’t breed anything other than isolation from those the church is seeking to influence – the real world.

NORMAL. Sounds nice. We should all try it sometime.

I think “Not So Stupid Church People” might be a great name for a website for stories like this. I know there are plenty of believers in the world, even some church people, that are making a difference with no hidden agendas. Not many, but some. They are offering things to people, contributing to society, assisting those in need without wanting anything in return or hoping to promote their church. They are writing, creating music, painting, drawing and creating for the love of the art. Some are just everyday people that go to work, come home, coach their kids soccer teams, are good neighbors and kind people for absolute no reason at all – except that is what you are supposed to be. Not extraordinary people but simply ordinary, you know…..NORMAL.

But we don’t need a website called “Not So Stupid Church People”, because that’s what this website is about anyway. It’s not only about pointing out the “stupid” in the church (although that’s what pays the bills and brings people in – it’s a kind of reverse, twisted “church growth” way of doing it). SCP is about promoting the “not so stupid church person” and we have done it and will do it every chance we get….we’d love to do it more, but it’s a rare and endangered species.

27 thoughts on “Not So Stupid Church People”

  1. Im really glad to hear that CNN played that story!! There are people out there, living in a reality that people are hurting and need help. This is the whole idea, reaching out to hurting people and loving them when they need it. Not with the agenda of being seen by the world around them, but instead being seen by the ones that need to be seen themselves. Way to go “Not So Stupit Church People”!!

  2. I’d like to nominate the Christian Peacemakers for Not So Stupid Church People. Sure, some people would call them stupid for going to Iraq but those people are, themselves, stupid. Of course, you don’t have to put yourself in harm’s way to be an NSSCP, as you say. But I’m just saying.

  3. Oh Steve, when I read this post, all I could say was “Praise the Lord” for the way God is using these young people. It’s a real blessing to see God moving through our youth in such anointed and powerful ways.What a witnes they are for Jesus when they shout His praises and declare the majesty of the Lord on the devil’s television. They’reglorifying God and ol’ satan’s payin’ for it!I’m sure the angels in heaven are rejoicing as God draws His children home. Someday I’ll crossover into beulah land and rejoice with them. Until then, I’ll continue my journey as a pilgrim for the Lord, like these youth… the church of tomorrow.

  4. Again- not Amber, but Cody.“I’m not always real- sometimes I am pretty fake. But I’m trying.<> I want to be like Christ.<>“Not only that, but know him and let him know me (relationship), and walk with him.Not normal. Real. Everyone tries hard to be good. The road to hell is paved with good intentions I’ve heard said. Normal in this day and age is not a Christ follower. Those are the real modern day rebels. I think its great to feed people and build houses for them and tend to thier physical needs. That’s what Christ did. He healed people. He fed 5000. But notice that when he did so, it was after he spoke truth to them or while doing so. (Mark 6:34-44) If we only tend to the physical, and not the spiritual, then we are wasting our lives. The spiritual lasts forever, the physical ends pretty soon. On the other hand, some people are straight stupid. If we try to spread the gospel only in word and not in deed, then people don’t buy it. “They don’t care what you know until they know you care.” I think both are crucial, both go hand in hand. Like JC. I’m enjoying this blog by the way. Later,Cody

  5. This is the part where someone debates the idea that normal is relative. Since normality is in the “eye of the beholder” and blah blah, blah blah, blah. Anyway my question, Steve, is: is it not true that the base idea of the surreal STP’s contrasted with the reality based christians (non-SCPs)is that by being fake and unrelatable the church has lost it’s ability to reach the unsaved population? If so, why not more conversation about reaching the lost? If not please correct my series of incorrect assumtions. thanks

  6. Blogging skipping and I landed here.It is refreshing to hear folks doing for Christ and not pontificating for Him.I grow tired of everyone assuming that God is a member of the Reupublican party and wears a red tie.

  7. You said: “…making a difference with no hidden agendas…They are offering things to people, contributing to society, assisting those in need without wanting anything in return or hoping to promote their church.”My wife and I decided a couple of years ago to financially support an organization that would help love and feed people struck by poverty in places that we will probably never be able to visit in our lives. We chose a VERY popular Christian ministry only to SWITCH organizations the very day our welcome packet came in the mail because this particular group was PLAGUED with agendas and left no room for people’s culture (not to mention religion). I’m sure it’s not the way they were doing it, but it sounded like they were going to convert them and THEN feed them.We then found a group that were doing the very thing the folks you mentioned were doing: living out compassion in a very real way – loving for Love’s sake (God’s sake) – not to hand out a tract, church invite or whatever else they were pushing.

  8. Thanks for sharing this, Steve. I do admit the moment I heard Campus Crusade that I started having flashbacks of my days in a club that was loosely affiliated with Campus Crusade and the regional rep coming and suggesting something ridiculous like going around and knocking on ever dorm door asking “Do you know Jesus?” that everyone else seemed to think was a great idea except for me… But there’s almost always good with the bad… and I think what you just shared was a very good thing.

  9. Like Steve, that was like so like totally kewl. Like ya know, I saw like, Christians like that when I was like going to Hawaii, on like this cruise… heheheActually, that’s a very kewl story. I actually did see a bunch of college age kids sitting and eating lunch at San Francisco airport, all wearing t-shirts with a big cross on it. I kinda wanted to go up to them and talk to them about it, but then I thought that would SCP of me. Ya know like what would I say and not sound stoopid. Knowing me I’d get nervous and say something like “Hi guys. Are you on fire for Jesus too?” So I just figured they were probably a part of some relief effort or going on a missions trip and went on my merry little way.

  10. WHAT!? Jesus isn’t an Evangelical Republican with a life membership to the NRA?! All kidding aside I think He probably is a Republican…he just extends salvation to Democrats & Independents too…(Don’t tell my Republican friends, though. You’ll ruin their small, small world)

  11. Jeff – you forgot to use “washed in the blood” and “fool for Christ” in your euphemism post. I’ll pray your christian lingo skills are blessed and anointed, brother. πŸ™‚

  12. I have to say, I don’t know if people like that are such a rare breed. I think maybe what they do and say has a way of not being pushed to the forefront. What makes SCP stupid church people is their ability to push their personal reality of the God in everyone’s face like a pop-culture trend. There are others out there it is just by nature of their normality that they seem to blend in to society. I remember as a child in church everyone would boast christians as a “peculiar” people. I think they may have misread the interpretation on that one, you tell me?

  13. Oh man! You totally just articulated what I’ve been feeling for a long time! I also relate to your statement about never being able to recover from that sub-culture. I think it’s a lot like alcoholism. Hence the name of my blog. If anyone wants to work with me to develop “12 Steps” for this problem…please let me know.

  14. I don’t think the eternal and the temporal are a dichotomy. Every act done in Jesus’ name has value, even if it’s <>only<> attending to others’ physical needs. After all, the book of James had a lot to say about that. If you only attend to *spiritual* needs, you’re a hypocrite of the faith.Maybe by attending to others’ needs (and most needs, even *spiritual* ones are ultimately physical) we’re discipling <>ourselves<> (which is also an important aspect of “The Great Commission”(tm)–you know, that whole “work out your faith with fear and trembling…” thing). By focusing on others instead of ourselves, we become more like Jesus, and give others a model of how to be more like Jesus.

  15. No Amber… I think I mean what I said… NORMAL….You say: <>I’m not always real- sometimes I am pretty fake. But I’m trying.<>See… you are NORMAL!

  16. Actually, there was a notsostupidchurchpeople.com but some found it offensive. It’s available if you want it. Man, just think, if I still had that I could make a mint.

  17. Been reading through your site about a few weeks now, listened to your podcast about 3 times (because it was so frickin’ funny), and I must exasperate thus that:Where have you guys been in the past 5 years? I’m glad there are people like you I can relate to. How I wish there were people like you I could connect to here and be serious about connecting.Normal….I like that.

  18. Hey- (I’m not Amber- I’m her son)Anyway- As a Campus Crusader who actually went down there last week over my spring break, I appreciate this mention (I’d like to thank…jk). I think I agree with what you are up to here although I haven’t had a chance to read much more- this blog was emailed to me. I would like to mention that I don’t think you mean NORMAL, but what you really mean is AUTHENTIC or REAL. We aren’t normal. for example, I used my spring break to see lives changed in Christ. Normal stays at home or goes to Club La Villa in Panama City. I do talk about JC- usually people talk about the things they love, so that is normal, but talking about JC is not normal in this culture/society- it’s real. I think people are tired of Christians trying to be relative, and they are thirsty for truth- authenticity attracts them. I’m not always real- sometimes I am pretty fake. But I’m trying. I want to be like Christ.-Cody

  19. Cody – My original intent was regarding the way these kids handled themselves in the interview. I wasn’t necessarily talking about what they did in service. You are correct when you say it isn’t the “norm” for college kids to spend their Spring Break in service to others. It’s not the norm for 42 year old men living in So Cal to do that either.I do think we can find examples of “non-Christ followers” that do good deeds. There are plenty of people in this world that are benevolent. Let’s not be naive to think that only Christians are capable of good deeds. I think anyone that thinks of others before themselves could be considered a “rebel” by your own definition. My point in my original post was the manner and language with which these kids talked. They didn’t put on airs. They weren’t absorbed with promoting their organization. They behaved and talked like normal college students who were doing a pretty cool thing in service to others. That’s all I was saying. I get your point. I agree with most of what you say. However, I do disagree with this statement: <> If we only tend to the physical, and not the spiritual, then we are wasting our lives.<> Serving others in any way, shape or form, is not a waste. I believe God honors every self-less act of giving.

  20. Steve:You mean you were a pastor for a while and didn’t see that the whole “pastor” relevance thing was a bit, I dunno, freaking INSANE?Are you a newly converted iconoclast or what? Would I have avoided you 3 years ago and today you’d drink a beer with me?

  21. <>recovering said:<><>WHAT!? Jesus isn’t an Evangelical Republican with a life membership to the NRA?! <>No, that’s Ted Nugent. Those two are a lot easier to tell apart now that Ted shaved his beard!!

  22. Hey Steve!Yeah, this whole thing did get blown up a bit (of course that’s what normally happens…lol). I guess I wanted to check us on our view of Christ/Christ followers. I agree that people promoting the growth of thier personal churches and organizations is very annoying. It drives walls between the real point of our life. I’m not going to be naive and claim that I know all (as I thougth not so long ago…yikes!) but I question that good deeds are rebelious. Everyone I talk to seems to have the mindset that good deeds are the way to heaven. Sure they are great and honoring to God, but lets face it, JC said “I am the way…and no one come to the father except through me.” (Basically we can’t earn it). I think that’s where the whole “rebel” thing comes in. I guess I feel like we do have a responsibility though. The whole great commision thing. I think I’ll sign off here on this. Keep it up. I don’t know you, but if this is more than talk, then rock and roll.Cody

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