Defining Subsets of Unpopular
This will not come as surprise to anyone. But when I was in government school, I was not popular. Actually, it was worse than that. I was actively unpopular. Even in those days I was observant of society and culture and able to pick-up on trends and personality types. Consequently, I observed that even in the “unpopular” subculture in schools, there were subsets of unpopular people.
One subset of unpopular types were the kids that wanted to be popular. They longed for it. So-much-so it seemed they could taste it. They were the hangers on. The kids that followed the athletes around looking to fit in. They tried to get invited to the parties. When they were, they sat on the sidelines like wallflowers basking in the sunlight of the in-crowd.
The other subset of the out-crowd knew they were the out-crowd and had no desire to be part of the in-crowd. Sometimes, these were the kids that were the biggest targets for bullies. And if it wasn’t bullies, it was ridicule and mocking. The Motorheads and the Shop Class Aces hated them as much as the Jocks did. The Nerds despised them as much the Preppies did. Their great sin? Not showing a desire to fit in.
The funny thing about this subset of unpopular kids, at least in my observations, they were the ones that everyone thought would be cops someday. Why? Because they accused them of wanting to get revenge on everyone else. Funny enough, here I sit. No desire to get revenge on anyone. Maybe my greatest revenge is the lack of desire to see any of them again.
Guess what subset I was in…
What Does Being Unpopular have to do with the Church?
From the earliest days of the history of the world, well, after Adam and Eve and their “little tryst” with Satan, God has always been about using the “least of these”. Abram was not a well-known man. David was a shepherd boy. Jonah was reluctant. Heck, nearly all the prophets were genuinely despised and utterly rejected by their people.
Not to be outdone, the first disciples of Christ were all nobodies. Fishermen. A hated tax collector. A Zealot. Eventually a murderer who had been popular with his sect, but rightly feared by the early church. All of them went on to infamy in their contemporary world. Most went on to persecution and eventual martyrdom.
God works in these types for His purposes and for His causes. It would not be a big deal to see some big-name celebrity come to Christ and then hold sway over thousands of people. Think of the uproar when Kanye West allegedly converted. Brian “Head” Welch of KORN was the same. Granted, both of those examples have proven to demonstrate some severe judgment problems in their affiliations. But the Church at large, Western Christian Culture if you will, loves them some celebrities. In their eyes it lends credence to the message of WCC.
But what is the model of the Church? Weak, foolish, unknown apparent societal rejects and malcontents being drawn into the Body of Christ through the salvific work of Christ.
Does the In-Crowd Ever “Get Saved”?
I am not the final arbiter of any persons’ salvation.
God determines who is called.
He determines who is saved.
It isn’t on me to make that decision.
However, let’s be clear. Jesus gave a stern warning to the Jerusalem In-Crowd. Rich men and the self-righteous would have a hard time finding salvation. Consider the eye of the needle and the pharisee praying in the temple.
The Two Types of Unpopular and Their Roles in the Church
The first type of the unpopular subsets is not hard to spot in the Church today. They are prolific. These are the people who long to fit in to culture. Make note I am not accusing them of being false coverts. I am simply saying that they brought with them their desire to be accepted by the very people they tried to be accepted by before.
I’ve watched this crowd before. They hate being embarrassed in society. These are the folks that decry public evangelism and despise open air preachers. Now there are certainly forms of both that should be rejected. But the first group of unpopular types hate it all and practice guilt by association.
There are more subtle traits in this subset as well. They are often the ones that align themselves with apparent slavish adherence to societal or even governmental trends. Correspondingly, these are the people that got Woke real fast as getting Woke swept across the Western world.
Yet another trait is the fawning adulation of government as our “earthly” protector. A physical savior if you will. These are the folks, even in the Reformed camp, that have glommed onto every single COVID19 mandate and restriction. You can hear them screaming from the rooftops, “BUT IF YOU LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR….!” and “ROMANS 13 BRO! ROMANS 13!” If you watch carefully these folks will be the people in WCC demanding that everyone agree to forced vaccinations.
Sadly, they also spend a lot of time screaming about “wicked law enforcement officers” and joining BLM marches. Conversely, they remain completely silent when it comes to abortion.
I wanna get it out of the way. I am this guy. No surprises, I am the second subset of the unpopular subculture in WCC.
I have no desire to be popular or well-liked. Do I want a good reputation? With a qualified affirmation yes.
I want my reputation to be for standing firm on doctrine and theological purity, with conviction and love. But I do not want a reputation as someone who is easy to get along with simply because I roll with the theological punches as they come.
I am not saying I am the paragon of virtue within the second subset. Conversely, please DO NOT model yourself after me in the least. Just be ready to be unpopular with the Church. Nor am I saying that the second subset is perfect. We tend to be hotheads and trend towards being hyper-critical.
Those of us in this subset are the folks that speak our minds as culture shifts away from traditional values towards Marxism. We are not afraid to call the Church, especially WCC, to repentance over compromise with Culture. We are the people likely to decry tyranny even at great personal risk. Subsequently, we often find ourselves at odds with the other faction. Not because they are “pro tyrant” but because they don’t much like rocking the boat.
I mean really, who wants to try to learn to walk on water under-pressure?
We May be Embarrassing but you Need Us
Frankly, we all need one another. It is hard to avoid. After-all, the Scriptures tell us that the eye does not get to tell the hand it isn’t needed. Moreover, we can’t all be mouths or eyes.
But that being said, you need us. We are the spine of the Body. We are the war boots. When everyone else is holding in a “wait to see” pattern, we are the ones who are taking the fight to the enemy.
Our subset are the ones that King George hated. We made up the Black Robe Regiment. Furthermore, we made up the Puritans and Separatists. Great men like Luther and Zwingli sprang from the ranks of such a subset.
The Church needs to be filled again. Moreover, it needs to be filled with Christians who are willing to stand and speak. To act and not be afraid of the consequences. We are the watchers on the wall. We are the first to take the arrows for the rest of you. And, like so many in the past, we are the ones who inspire the more docile to action.
You may not like us. But you need us. Not despite how embarrassing we are to you. But because of it…
Soli Deo Gloria!