Fighting the Urge to Be a “Regular Guy”


A couple of days ago, John Piper blogged about his lack of desire to be a “regular guy.” Here’s a quote:

“What my soul needs is not the ordinary. I’ve got plenty of that inside of me already. I don’t need more ‘regular.’ I need something irregular, unusual. Something unusually wise and deep and strong and pure and great. Something this world does not offer. I long for a person who has seen God and been forever put out of sync with this world. I long for a person who can tell me what God has shown him — something that is really there in the word of God, something that few see, something solid and glorious.”

His works struck me, because from as long as I remember I have aspired to be a regular guy.

I’ve always had (probably like many in the ministry) a desire to be both other-worldy, Christ-focused, out of step with the world, and then just plain john normal in social settings.

I cannot tell you how often I’ve had that weird schizophrenic feeling of being prophetic, challenging, other-ly in the pulpit, only to step down and talk baseball over lunch, attempting to fit in with buddies. Rather than taking the challenge beyond the pulpit to the lunch table, I was attempting to prove my normalcy to my friends in spite of my life-or-death challenges given moments earlier while preaching,

Piper goes on to say:

“Yes, I know. It is possible to be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly use. My problem is: I’ve never met one of those people. And I suspect, if I met one, the problem would not be that his mind is full of the glories of heaven, but that his mind is empty and his mouth is full of platitudes.

I suspect that for every professing believer who is useless in this world because of other-worldliness, there are a hundred who are useless because of this-worldliness.

And yes, I know that our aim is not to be weird. We don’t need more weird people in our lives. We are supposed to let our light shine before others that they may give glory to our Father. But in my experience shining with supernatural, divine light from another world is the very essence of non-regular.”

I don’t want to be a regular guy either. It is enticing to want it. The joy of being accepted, of fitting in, of being liked, of keeping up with the Jone’s, all of these things are enticing. Especially as a pastor, my occupation makes me weird from the get-go.

But Regular Guy Syndrome is a disease to the ministry.

Christ was no regular guy. He spoke with and loved regular guys and gals, but he didn’t seem to think it necessary to prove to them that he was just an ole Joe. He wasn’t attempting to determine what was culturally cool and acceptable and stay within the boundaries of the un-weird. Rather, Christ faithfully lived out his calling as a bright light shining in a dark world.

As followers of Christ, at some point we have to let go of this idea that we need to be regular, or normal. We don’t strive to be weird either. But we need to be exactly what we are: aliens and strangers in a foreign land.

4 thoughts on “Fighting the Urge to Be a “Regular Guy”

  1. I think Christ Jesus wants us to be a “regular” guy.

    By that I mean not to aspire to ascend ourselves, or to be “spiritual”.

    He wants us to be what He made us to be…human. To live our lives and trust in Him. That He has saved us, is saving us, and will yet save us.

    And in that freedom…we live.

  2. Of course it depends on how one defines “regular.” I agree God wants us to be human – to live and trust in Him. But if by “regular” we mean fit in to the patterns of this world, attempting to be accepted by peers at all costs, and things like this, then He doesn’t want us to be regular. I was using the term in this latter sense.

    1. Got it. I see your point.

      I do think we have to be careful to not be too religious…to beat people over the head with our faith, either. As St. Paul said, “we ought be all things to all people. That we might win some for Christ.”

      Thanks, Jason.

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