Have Some Grace for the Corny Christian Guy


We all know the middle-aged dude in church who is really soft-whispery on the microphone and makes you wish you didn’t bring your friends, and he loves all the kitschy Christianese catchphrases like “Let Jesus into your heart of hearts” and other sprinkled sugar cliches. 

But hey: please have grace for this guy.

He might be a little cornball, but I think he really does love Jesus.  We need guys like him.

We could all stand to have some of that unjaded, invigorated energy on a Sunday. 

We could stand some of that soft gooey goodness to round out the kick drum and the loud preacher.

We could stand to be a little more positive.


I never knew how much we needed the Corny Christian Guy until one of them prayed for me.  I was in a bad place that Sunday, and during the service he put an arm on my shoulder and did his cheesy prayer.  He talked about “how deep the love of God” and “how high His thoughts are above ours” and “the majestic matchless beauty of our Creator” — but man, all this uppercut me like a ton of bricks.  I felt warm.  Every word felt real.  He cried and cried with me, like actually wept these big sloppy tears.  I didn’t want him to let me go. 

I had really misjudged him.  People are just people, and not the cartoons we wish them to be.  Maybe we give these guys a hard time because secretly we want to be just as vulnerable as them, and it’s jealousy at work.

Later I discovered these Corny Christian Dudes had terrible pasts.  Drug addictions, streetfights, third marriages, illegitimate kids, that sort of thing.  But Jesus had crushed these guys into powder.  God’s grace had tenderized them.  They couldn’t help but be so exuberant about the love of God.  They were beautiful, really, in their own bizarre way: like a perfect pop song on the radio at the right moment of your life.

Be thankful for every facet of personality in your church.

God has a limitless imagination in His ministry that is ordained for each season of the church, our needs, our humility, our growth — and of course, for His glory.  God will use anyone and anything to get our attention, and it’s our choice to listen.  Please don’t shut that down on a first impression. 

After all, there is nothing wrong with “letting Jesus into our heart of hearts.”  God’s love is very much infinitely deep and wide, and His thoughts are indeed above ours.  The next time that corny dude said it, I believed it with reckless abandon.  It was a wonderful Sunday. 

— J.S.

9 thoughts on “Have Some Grace for the Corny Christian Guy

  1. Wow! What a probing piece–“People are just people, and not the cartoons we wish them to be.” Great humor too, even if you weren’t trying to be funny. I love it when God uses our needs to show us lessons and different perspectives of himself and others.


  2. My favorite guys in church are the big burly ones with tender hearts. You can have all the “tough” dudes and the macho types with their impenetrable hearts! Guess I do a little judging of my own on the other end of the spectrum, eh? 😉 All kidding aside, those with tender hearts feel more “real” than the plastic Ken doll sort who are too tough to let anything touch them deeply or to show emotions. One thing I enjoyed about Israel is that the men are much more open with their feelings. Thanks, Marlboro Man. 😦



    1. Yes, I remember visiting a church in NC and meeting a hunter named Buck who was covered in tattoos and had muscles the size of my torso. He was one of the most sincere compassionate Christians I had met, making sure I was comfortable and never looking away while we were talking. He hinted at a tough past, but Jesus makes mush out of those guys.


  3. Thanks for this challenge to love like Jesus. People look on the outside; God looks inside (1 Sam. 16:7). I prefer the way God “looks”.


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