Secrets to Becoming a Christian Guru

5 03 2013

It is no longer sufficient for church leaders to aspire to be good pastors.  Delivering a faithful sermon, devoting yourself to prayer, loving the people God has given you, and reaching out to the lost are no longer enough to determine success in modern Christendom.  If you really want to be considered successful, you need to aim to achieve “guru” status.  Because the “Christian Guru” is a relatively new gift of Christ to his church, I thought it might be helpful to write a short article describing what a “guru” is and offer a few brief points on how to achieve guru status.  As a caveat, I must put forward that I myself have not achieved guru status, so I’m not the most qualified to offer any advice on these points.  Nevertheless, I have had some success in research through a modest academic career, so I do offer the following as the humble observations of a researcher of this new trend.

The Christian Guru (Definition):  A professional conference speaker, with no home church, who is put forward as an expert on a perceived problem that may or may not exist outside of the mind of the conference attendees.

What are the Essential Features of a Christian Guru?

Posit a Crisis:  The Christian Guru must first posit a crisis.  Not just any crisis will do, but it has to be a crisis that would somehow compromise the eternal destiny of the church and place in jeopardy Christ’s promises.

Introduce a “Secret Solution”: The crisis can only be resolved by recovering some lost, secret knowledge.  It is essential, to solidify the guru’s status, that only he has been able to recover this lost knowledge.

Reinforce the “secretness” of the solution with obscure language:  The crisis is resolved not in plain language, but in secret language.  The simple instructions of Jesus, being insufficient, are translated into complex language that must be explained by the guru.  A current trend among Christian gurus is to raid the language of corporate America, baptize it, and then introduce it to the church as a truth that they personally derived from their study of scripture.  Things like “alternative metrics” are all of a sudden discovered in Paul’s Letter to the Church in Ephesus.  Corporate language is not necessary however.  Obscure language currently popular amongst gurus are:  missional, inter-generational, relevant, enculturated, incarnational, post-evangelical, post-Christian, postmodern, post (anything).  It is critical that these words are used quickly, before anyone asks you what they mean.

Encourage People to Adopt Your Paradigm:  The aim of the Christian Guru is to accumulate followers who adopt not the strategy, but the language of the strategy, so that they demonstrate their distinctiveness through their unique vocabulary.

Accidental Points:  You cannot be a guru and neglect the above points.  The points below, not being essential, are accidental.  Though they are not essential, they are most certainly helpful to solidify the guru’s reputation.

 Wear Tight Clothes:  If you were to go into your wife’s closet and remove a pair of her jeans, preferably in some kind of pastel color, you would be well on your way to becoming a Christian Guru.  Though just a few years ago it would be unseemly for a man to do such a thing, it has become guru mainstream.  I believe this trend was first introduced through the modern church planting movement.

Adopt an Accent:  Most gurus have accents.  This helps with their mystique, which is essential to becoming a guru.

Soul Patch:  It’s hard to determine where the effectiveness of the soul patch lies, but again, I think that it reinforces the mystique of the guru by making them appear as if they were a wizard or magician, pulling solutions to the church’s problems straight out of their magic hat…er…Bible.

Apple Product Competent:  Gurus only use Apple Products.



8 responses

5 03 2013
Ryan Ventura

I like it! I try to avoid any man with frosted hair, designer jeans, fancy looking eye glasses, and a 10K fee for their speaking services. That’s why we love Iain because he has no fashion sense 🙂

5 03 2013

All of the above have their roots in contemporary American youth ministry.

Posit a Crisis: 90% of Youth leave the church when they get to college…

Introduce a “Secret Solution”: Just google youth ministry

Reinforce the “secretness” of the solution with obscure language: The first place I heard of post modernity was at a Youth Specialties conference from the key note speaker.

Encourage People to Adopt Your Paradigm: “This will get you a bigger youth group.”

Wear Tight Clothes:×4001.jpg

Adopt an Accent: Cherrio
Soul Patch: Guilty
Apple Products… I’d argue this point. I think the guru lives in a “post-Apple” world. The solution is “google glass” won’t you join me in adopting google glass as our way to fix things mates? *strokes his soul patch.

5 03 2013

They’ll say you are jealous.

6 03 2013

Reblogged this on Commerce & Arts and commented:
This is so true. Fittingly, about two weeks ago I received a reviewer copy of “The Great Evangelical Recession: 6 Factors That Will Crash the American Church… And How to Prepare” by John S. Dickerson (BakerBooks). Frankly, I think I will follow the steps below because I could use a little more income.

7 03 2013
Secrets to Becoming a Christian Guru | Treading Grain

[…] Rob Sturdy – I found this both amusing and painfully close to […]

12 03 2013

Fantastic! I just added Relevance to my Christian Dictionary series this week. I love the satire. Or, would you prefer it called sarcasm?

12 03 2013

I suppose satire is a kinder term than sarcasm, but I might be guilty of blurring the distinction from time to time

13 03 2013

I employ sarcasm. Sorry world but I won’t lie. ;-)> Good stuff here no matter what you call it.

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