We should probably stop kidding ourselves; Christians aren’t exactly the most celebrated humans on the planet.
According to this survey conducted by the Barna group, two-thirds of Millennials believe that American churchgoers are a lot or somewhat hypocritical (66%).
Further look into this 2015 survey shows:
- Only 46% of millennials said church-goers are tolerant of other beliefs (tolerance: showing willingness to allow the existence of opinions that one does not necessarily agree with).
- 54% agreed “The Church seems too much like an exclusive club.” Seems low to me.
The message more than half of millennials hear from the Church:
BELIEVE EXACTLY WHAT WE BELIEVE AT EVERY MOMENT OR GET OUT. No time for discernment or learning. No time to hear God speak through his Word. No place for the questioners or skeptics. Agree or you’re not welcome here.
And we wonder by 65% of churches in America are declining or plateauing and thousands are closing each year.
Following Jesus is a complicated thing. It means:
- Valuing what He values.
- Loving those he loved.
- Standing up to the religious hypocrites and embodying His compassion and hope for all the lost and broken (not just the good smelling ones).
For any of that to happen, we need to stop lying to ourselves. We need to be in community with people and call them out on their crap.
We need to stop allowing the extreme, loud, angry voices of Christianity to dominate the rhetoric about what it actually means to be a Christian.
So today I am sharing with you the (somewhat satirical) types of Christians I’ve seen over my last 7 years of trying be a Jesus-follower in hopes that we all start to identify the hypocrisy in ourselves first (myself included) and those around us.
See if you can collect all 7!
1. The Know-it-All
This religious type is hyper-focused on proving just how right they are in all matters including: translation, theology, history, topography, perceived cultural bias, law, anatomy—especially the opposite gender’s—geography, preferred Bible college, March Madness brackets, and anything relating to C.S. Lewis or J.R.R Tolkien.
Their main goal in life is to bait anything with a pulse into an argument, preferably online, and then attack-attack-attack until anyone with an internet connection wants nothing to do with God. They do not have Christmas trees because PAGANS!
The Know-it-all only converses in Christanese, has zero non-Christian friends and prefers not to associate with anyone who makes less than $40,000 a year for “safety.”
Others see them as pretentious, aloof, and annoying af (but they were probably home-schooled so they don’t know what af stands for).
This type is so obsessed with head-knowledge they don’t know how to relate to anyone who is different than them. While their knowledge is certainly valuable, they’ve neglected other areas of their faith and are far too proud to admit they don’t have all the answers.
Ultimately, they miss the whole point of following Jesus because they love theology and big words more than they love people.
Least Favorite Bible Verse:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” -Proverbs 3:5-6:
2. The Hipster
This type is obsessed with making Jesus as cool as possible.
They exclusively wear skinny jeans and fitted tees, pay lip-service to “purity” while watching Game of Thrones, and have four of the following: a Hebrew tattoo, a partially shaved haircut, ironic 80’s eyewear, a wide-brimmed hat, a “lit” vocabulary, an entire closet of back-up Edison light bulbs.
They can most frequently be found at an earthy coffee shop with their Bible sitting closed on the table while surfing Instagram. Their social circle is exclusively comprised other hipsters who dress exactly the same in their quest for individuality.
This type cannot handle anything in their lives that makes them seem lame or like an outsider. Their views are constantly shifting to their surroundings and they haven’t taken a stand on anything since Kony 2012 (and that was really just for the free sticker).
Others see them as flaky, self-absorbed, and over-confident.
The Hipster has to be loved and worshipped by others especially on social media. They are so obsessed with their “brand” and how others perceive them they never take a stand for anything or anyone. They think following Jesus will make them an internet sensation and their lives are primarily focused on the divine trinity, “Me, myself and i…Phone.”
Least Favorite Bible Verse:
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” -John 15:19
3. The Holier-Than-Thou
The Holier-Than-Thou wants everyone to see how spiritual and “together” they are at all hours of the day. They do not poop or have morning breath.
You will immediately notice them in any religious setting overusing the following: mmmmm, yes Lord, yes Jesus, yes God, yes Father, yes Moses, yes Mary, Joseph and the three Wisemen.
During worship, their arms will be waving frenetically through the air as if they are washing the Empire state building by hand (and thus proving their far-superior divine connection to their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who saved them at Bible Camp on October 23, 1995 and they’ve never sinned since).
Their Bible is highlighted in seventeen different colors including “Baby Jesus White”.
The Holier-Than-Thou also has a perfectly curated wardrobe, house, car, family, dog, and cursive “Thankful” sign and claims to love Jesus more than Instagram (which is clearly debatable).
You can also spot this person from their frequent social media “check-ins” at church followed by their “THERE’S STILL TIME TO COME TO OUR CHURCH THIS MORNING” facebook posts.
Others see them as a show-offs, disingenuous and annoying.
This type cares more that others see them as “religious” than their actual relationship with God. They spend a disproportionate amount presenting themselves to the world rather than genuinely seeking their creator. While they are more likely to serve than other types, they do so for the profile picture rather than the care and love for others.
Least Favorite Bible Verse:
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
4. The Social Butterfly
This religious type attends every social function of a church but is never seen at anything that may grow or challenge their faith. They use serving in youth ministry as their personal Tinder and quit once their spouse is obtained. They can be overheard using such phrases as, “If a Church doesn’t have a Starbucks inside, like why even go?”
The Social Butterfly could care less regarding anything “inconvenient” in the Bible including (but not limited) to finances, sex, love, hate, humility, serving the poor, the dangers of bathing naked on a roof, etc. etc. etc. etc.
This person is secretly one of the most dangerous religious types because they think they are an incredible person while telling others that following Jesus isn’t that hard (when both are super not true).
Others see them as unreliable, lazy and annoyingly likable.
The Social Butterfly never does anything with complete passion or integrity because Grey’s Anatomy is on at 7pm. They never commit to anything that requires the slightest sacrifice or inconvenience (aka most everything Jesus did).
Least Favorite Bible Verses:
“So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” -Revelation 3:16
“Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.’” -Luke 9:23
5. The Border Wall
The Border Wall cannot hold a conversation without inserting their political leanings. While they do know the Word of God, its primary use is to be angrily scratched onto picket signs. This type is more obsessed with the Supreme Court than getting to know a real human being.
The BW is the most divisive and abrasive type and is the most recognizable in today’s media climate. Their primary mode of communication involves all caps typing and regurgitating fake news articles distributed to Facebook by the Russian government.
Often self-trained in optometry, this type typically spends every waking moment searching strangers’ eyeballs for specks of dust while neglecting the Redwood Forest of planks in their own legally blind line of vision.
The Border Wall’s hobbies include Fox News, Fox News, Fox News, Fox News and forwarding cursed chain emails from their AOL email address. This type sees themselves as far superior to others and would never DREAM of being around *whispers* sinners, (especially not anyone of another race, religion, home-country, or sexual orientation). #gross
Others see Border Walls as: hateful, apathetic, completely out of touch and any word ending in “phobic.”
The BW’s have been hardened by the world and completely forgotten that following Jesus is first and foremost about loving others. They have become so obsessed with the “law” and pointing out sinful lifestyles, they forget they too are in need of a Savior.
The BW’s live in constant fear and anger instead of listening for God’s gentle whisper to love people where they’re at. They have forgotten that relationship is at the core of influencing others to live better lives.
Least Favorite Bible Verse:
“You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you. And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity.” —Colossians 3:12-14
6. The Over-Achiever
The Over-Achiever is an obsessive people-pleaser and will stop at nothing to achieve PLATINUM status on their church membership card. While often their faith and love is quite genuine, they tend to get side-tracked by “doing church” rather than making disciples and helping the poor.
This type can be seen frantically running around a church building, often with a headset or fancy title, pushing a Costco-sized pallet of gluten-free, nut-free, hypoallergenic communion wafers while simultaneously ensuring no toddler is coloring outside the lines.
You can identify this type by their insane calendar, slightly neglected relationships, and weary heart. While they frequently burn out on religion, they ultimately blame themselves for not trying hard enough. They are heavily rewarded for all their work but can never truly rest in the love of God.
Others see them as dedicated, selfless and admirable.
While this type might seem like a lesser evil than others, the over-achiever also misses the heart of Jesus. In a culture that rewards productivity, stress and busyness, this type spends their life as a “Martha” while neglecting their own soul. The Over-Achiever never can accept they are truly worthy of the love of God and sacrifice of Jesus.
Least Favorite Bible Verses:
“Be still and know that I am God.” -Psalm
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” -Ephesians 2:8-9
7. The Weirdo
This religious type appears most frequently when you bring someone to church for the first time. They are hyper-focused on anything that would make an outsider uncomfortable especially speaking in tongues, exorcisms, obsessive talk of Satan and/or making eye contact while standing at concurrent urinals.
During worship it is guaranteed they will do something completely bizarre like chant, scream, frolic, and/or harmonize a tri-tone under the melody.
Others see them as embarrassing, crazy lunatics who scare off anyone even remotely considering starting a relationship with God.
***Speaking in tongues is listed in the Bible as a spiritual gift alongside Words of wisdom, Words of knowledge, Faith, Gifts of Healing, Miracles, Prophecy, and Distinguishing between Spirits. Some Christians believe many of these gifts were only used in the past while others believe they are still relevant and should be used today.
This type, as in many other types, is interested in appearing to be on a higher level of spirituality and justifies their erratic behavior as proof that God loves them the mostest. They think their individual expression of God is normal and the rest of the world should “get on their level,” but fail to recognize they are literally the worst and the B.O. isn’t helping.
Least Favorite Bible Verse:
“So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?” 14:23
“If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.” 1 Corinthians 14:28
As I have stated many, many, many, many, many, many, many times on this blog: I am not the expert. I’m not sure that even exists. The truth is, I can see parts of myself in many of these too. I’m working on my definition of what is the “type” we all should be striving for. It’s something like this:
The Genuine Follower of Christ
The rarest of all, the Genuine follower of Jesus can be identified by their raw authenticity, genuine warmth, propensity to go to extremes to love people, and tenacity to disrupt the status quo. This type spends time learning God’s Word and genuinely seeks to follow Jesus’ example of a beautiful life.
While the GF’s typically attend church, they are most easily recognized out in the real world making a huge, freaking difference. They are rarely caught up in fighting or big debates and instead rise above the negativity around them to spread hope to a messed up world. They are obsessed with making new disciples and are constantly building relationships and supporting those around them.
They love without agenda.
The other seven types often dislike the Genuine Followers the most for reasons they cannot themselves explain. Ironically, this is what all other types believe they are due to miseducation, laziness, anger issues, undetectable cognitive deficiencies, pride, crystal meth, lust, inflated ego, Little Man’s Syndrome, undiagnosed television addiction or some combination thereof.
The Genuine Follower of Christ is willing to do anything for God including looking stupid, boasting about their failures and weaknesses, and/or admitting their addictions/sin struggles so others can see how God can truly change the trajectory of a person’s life.
While greatly flawed and broken themselves, the GF’s ultimate goal is not perfection, rather a full life lived with God fulfilling their purpose. They do not get tied down by their past mistakes and are eager to show others just how incredible a life lived with Jesus can be.
This world does not need another insincere, slightly moronic, sloth Christian. Those of us who read The Bible for comprehension and actually try (and are often failing) to know and embody the love of Jesus, it’s go time. It is on. Let us not waste another second on things that don’t matter.
Let’s go love people and chase a life that is fully and recklessly alive—a life only found in the adventure as a genuine follower of Christ.
In this together.