Stuff Christian Culture Likes

Stuff Christian Culture Likes

#174 Public polls

surveysays.jpgThe evangelical pastor frequently conducts unscientific polls from the pulpit, and the evangelical congregation consistently responds in the affirmative. Common pulpit questions include:

“Who’s glad to be here today?”
“Are you excited about Jesus? I tell ya, I’m excited about Jesus.”
“Anyone here have a heart for [insert guest speaker’s specific ministry]?”
“Who’s ready to lift their hearts in worship for the Lord?”
“Don’t we serve an awesome God?”
“Wasn’t that an incredible call to action?” (said by whichever pastor takes over after the teaching pastor speaks)
“How many people here love God? Let me hear your hands.” (Let me hear your hands is your signal to applaud.)


The worship pastor tends to poll more often than other varieties of pastor. Of all the pastors, he seems to appreciate your response the most. Polling is a way for him to engage the congregation and perhaps banish some stage fright. But it’s possible and even likely that the questions don’t engage the congregation as much as they apply social pressure for them to respond verbally, thereby giving the appearance of engagement. Maybe it’s just as well. Christian culture values appearances. A lot.

It is somehow understood that each question from the pulpit (or from the headset mic, if your church is relevant) only has one acceptable answer. No one ever responds with a “no,” or at least not out loud.

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posted July 28, 2010 at 6:50 pm

For some reason I’m reminded of Patrick Swayze’s character from DONNIE DARKO.
“Is that all the gusto you could muster? I SAID ‘Good Morning!'”

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posted July 28, 2010 at 8:52 pm

I picked “Self-Loathing” – is that bad? Lol.
In my experience, something like this is usually followed by the obligitory, “Why don’t you turn to your neighbor and…” which can consist of:
a) welcoming them to the church
b) introducing yourself
c) shaking hands
d) exchanging answers to some inane question the pastor thought was campy
e) some combination of the above
Basically, it’s something no one wants to do except people who already know each other and even then, they just end up doing it in a mocking, mildly sarcastic fashion anyhow.
I know, I have a bad attitude :)

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posted July 29, 2010 at 12:23 am

@Rachel ~ Yeah, that sounds like where I go. (Usually it’s the worship leader doing that, though.)
In other news, I’m going with feigned enthusiasm.

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A Christian pacifist

posted July 29, 2010 at 1:14 am

When I read this, I thought it was going to be a satire of how pastors like to insert poll results into their sermons. The pastor of the evangelical church I grew up attending (but no longer attend or hold membership in) likes to say things like, “Polls show that 90% of people believe in God, but only 25% of people say they pray regularly” (I just made that up). He doesn’t make up his polls, but they’re always in support of his sermon point. He doesn’t quote any polls that might contradict his point. I think he uses them to lend credence to what he says and to show that he’s generally in touch with what’s going on “out there” in America, where most people aren’t REALLY Christians …

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posted July 29, 2010 at 1:45 am

@ Lee: Yeah, that all sounds about right.
I would pick “Reluctant mumbling” by the way. Though in some cases I don’t have to say anything: just smile and shake their hand while they do all the perkiness for me.
Now I’m reminded of Dane Cook’s “Peace be with you” bit. Why am I so full of pop culture references today?

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posted July 29, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Has anyone ever heard of giving Jesus a “praise clap”?

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stephanie drury

posted July 29, 2010 at 2:38 pm

In Campus Crusade they used to say “Let’s give God a hand!” and that meant to clap.

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posted July 29, 2010 at 3:54 pm

I am so with you – made me think of a blog I wrote: 5 1/2 things I Don’t Think I need to Hear At Church Again.
Can we get some original material folks?

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posted July 29, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Oh yeah! I hated “giving God a hand.” I’m not sure if I was able to feign enthusiasm with that one. As if God’s all “They like me! And they’re proving it!”

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posted July 30, 2010 at 11:41 am

I’ve heard of giving a Jesus a “clap offering”. Hmmm. Isn’t a clap offering what you get treated for at the free clinic?

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Rocky Presley

posted July 31, 2010 at 10:50 am

Nope Nobodyssister, but it does mean that the one who received the offering will be looking for one.

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posted July 31, 2010 at 7:26 pm

“Are you excited about Jesus? I tell ya, I’m excited about Jesus.”
“Don’t we serve an awesome God?”
The memories! I just peed a little. Then they launch into singing and worshiping and tambourine playing.
Truthfully, I always felt a tad embarrassed for them. Even when I was like, eleven.

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posted August 5, 2010 at 10:44 am

hey how bout a song to sing with free catchy lyrics if you do without charging for lyric use. it is called SPREAD THE WORD-TALK WITH THE LORD ITS FINGER POPPING TUNE free info and lyrics drop me a line g. hubbard p.o. box 2232 ponte vedra fl 32004 our cool blog

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posted February 6, 2011 at 6:05 am

You know the worship leaders do it because it’s the closest they will ever get to being a rock star.
Stephy, I’m almost caught up to your current posts, but I hope you do a post on the idolization of specific singers in the congregation. They’re the “good” singers who do a lot of contemporary-style (and super lengthy and dramatic) solos during offering time.
I started out in a very traditional hymnal-only church and was weirded out when we went a more contemporary church and watched some lady on the small stage singing God-pop music to a backing track. My first thought was “who the hell does this?” Apparently, all the mega churches do now.
It gives me douche chills just thinking about it.

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