Friday, September 11, 2009

Every church has one. . .

As we have visited several churches, I have noticed that many churches have similar characters in their congregations. I will describe a few of them for you. I have been many of these characters and I am often poking fun at ME. If you see yourself or your friend described here, I assure you it is an accident. Unless you are Charlie Leavitt. In which case, I will say that yes, Charlie, you are the inspiration for Testimony Guy.

Mary/Martha - Mary in the Bible story loves to sit at the feet of Jesus. The Mary you'll meet at church loves to pray or visit after church, loses track of time, and the nursery workers (Marthas) bring her children to her so they can clean and serve some more.

Greenie - This guy rode his bike to church. He collects church bulletins that have been left on the pews to ensure they get recycled.

Granola Head - eats organic food, wears flip flops and bamboo fiber clothes, brings his own food to Bible studies, and interrogates his kids about what they ate in nursery/children's church to see if it was up to his standards.

Devil Hunter - You'll know her right away. She's probably exorcising the coffee pot for some offense as you walk in the door. Every problem you have has a spiritual root and she will sniff it out, bind it, and cast it out.

Inertia Mouth - Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Inertia Mouth doesn't mean to, but she talks constantly. Once she starts, she just can't stop talking. Wave at her from a distance. Be email friends with her, but don't say "hello" in person unless you have an exit strategy. Some inertia mouths know who they are and don't mind if you just say "got to go" and run off. I've seen men that have inertia mouth too. I saw one that got called on to close the service in prayer. We'd still be there if someone hadn't pulled the fire alarm. I am pretty sure that I'm an inertia mouth. A big clue is that the muscles in my face seem to get sore from talking too much at church.

Conspiracy Head - All things work together for bad against them. The government, the Pope, the Supreme Court, whole nations in fact are consulting together on ways to torment Mr. Conspiracy Head. Religious conspiracy heads often see events described in Revelation coming to pass in current events. They pin you in a corner and talk about the end of the world. Other church members know better than to cross his path and are unlikely to come over to rescue you for fear of being his next victim. Tell him you hear your baby crying and he might let you go.

Transplant - Christian from some other part of the country. Mrs. Transplant has a heavy accent and needs to be subtitled because you can't understand a word she says. You smile and nod and promise to pray for her.

Denominational Transplant - These guys are often doctrine police. Either they want their new church to change to be more like their old church or they want to ensure that their new church will not stray into whatever doctrinal fallacy that prompted them to leave their old denomination.

Modesty Police - I struggle with this one. I do have one request: if you are a lady taking up the offering, please find a way to cover your business so that you don't flash the entire row if you have to lean over to get the offering plate. There, I said it. I'm sorry.

Spiritual Superstar - This guy has it all figured out. He has a scripture for every circumstance and he can pray to beat the band.

Special Dieter - This is the lady who sees a food allergy behind every tree. Where the Devil Hunter would be binding and casting out, Special Dieter would be prescribing whatever her latest diet discovery is. "You need to eliminate gluten, diary, meat, ____. And all your problems would be solved."

Testimony Guy - This guy LOVES Jesus. Jesus took him from the mud and the mire and washed him white as snow and Testimony Guy wants to tell you every detail. If there are 2 Testimony Guys in one church they compare testimonies to see who was rescued from the biggest drug habit, gambling debt, etc. OK, I've never heard Charlie do that. Other Testimony Guys might get in testimony contests but Charlie just wants to tell you about how great Jesus is. Go Jesus!

Adoption Head - Has adopted or is planning to adopt and thinks all Christians everywhere should adopt. I am an Adoption Head.

Radio/TV Ministry Head - Is always quoting some radio preacher or televangelist and thinks you should too.

Name Dropper - Knows some famous preacher and wants you to know how important he is because he met Billy Graham once at Dennys. There are variations of this. In the Assemblies of God, I noticed that when traveling evangelists are introduced, the fellow is introduced as having been to "The Holy Land with Brother [Presbyter or Denominational official, or, if they're very important, Binny Hinn]."

Spiritual Tourist - Wants to hear some tongue talk for himself. Or wants to see a liturgical service, Calvinist service, Black Gospel service, rich old white guy service, etc. for himself. Goes home happy to be whatever denomination he is. He is now his congregation's local expert on what ever type of church he visited. He tells about it in Sunday School and every one congratulates themselves on choosing the best denomination instead of that flawed one Brother Spiritual Tourist mentioned the other day.

Spiritual Widow - Worried about her husband watching The Simpsons or whatever "sinful" habit she's observed lately. Often cries at prayer time over his absence from church and how backslidden he is.

Music Police - There are a couple of variations of Mr. Music Policeman. Either he is looking around to make sure that you don't have a certain kind of instrument that may have originated in Africa where all the demons are from, or he is pouring over the lyrics to all the songs to make sure they are doctrinally sound. Sometimes he finds a flaw and suggests alternate lyrics to make the song a better fit for his theology.

Bible Police - Wants to take a peek at your Bible to make sure it's up to his standards. It should be a particular version. Bible Police are often at a loss with multilingual parallel Bibles because they aren't sure if the non-English portion was translated from an approved version.

We met a Conspiracy Head at a Mega church here. He had "a word from the Lord" for us. Right about the time I was getting ready to run off and get an usher to rescue Paul, Conspiracy Head got distracted and we escaped. Marys and Marthas are ubiquitous. Churches need Marthas or nothing would get done. They need Marys to remind us to enjoy God's love. As we have visited around I have been comforted to see a familiar cast of characters even if we are in a different part of the country.


  1. Great post, and so very true. How observant you are.

  2. This may be the funniest thing you have ever written. And we laugh over your stuff all the time. I think Charlie vs. Shawn Panosian would make for a great Testimony Guy contest.

  3. And if you're not taking up offering, it's ok to display your cleavage to any and all? ;)

  4. You should send this one to the Pentecostal Evangel--or maybe post it on their blog. Love, Mom

  5. Ok this is funny! David says you should do Worship Leader Guys next!

  6. Yes, I am inertia mouth as did we survive in the same house? Love ya!