11 More Characteristics of Church Pessimists

On Monday I wrote about the great opportunity we Christians have to be “salt and light” to the world around us simply by being positive.  Unfortunately, our churches consist of many members who remain pessimists.  Chuck Lawless has listed several characteristics of church pessimists on his blog.  I shared his first list on Monday, and here is his second list…

11 More Characteristics of Church Pessimists

A few months ago, I wrote about “11 Characteristics of Church Pessimists.” I got enough feedback and suggestions that I realize I missed some characteristics. So, here are few more to add to your list as you evaluate whether you’re a church pessimist:

  1. You’re always watching for the proverbial “other shoe to drop.” That is, even when things are going well, you’re convinced that bad is still to come.
  1. You lack joy. It’s hard to be joyous when you see only the negative in every situation.
  1. Others think you’re pessimistic, even if they don’t tell you. Sometimes, they’re afraid to tell you because they assume you’ll respond negatively—so they, unbeknownst to you, avoid you.
  1. You seldom live by faith. It’s impossible to step out in faith when you’re certain that the plan will likely sink somewhere.
  1. You always have a suggestion for improvement. After all, somebody has to show others what the weaknesses are and how they might address them.
  1. You typically play the role of the “devil’s advocate.” You feel it’s your Christian obligation to force others to think about different perspectives and ideas; in fact, others wonder what’s wrong when you don’t play that role.
  1. You’re not very teachable. Most pessimists aren’t teachable, as their role is to teach others what they’re failing to see. When somebody does try to teach them, they quickly become defensive.
  1. You regularly threaten to leave the church. Because you think you see reality better than others, you can’t understand why the church doesn’t listen to you.
  1. You make sure that new pastors know the real story and history of the church. You don’t want them to be ill informed, so you make sure they know the history . . . or, at least the history as you remember and define it.
  1. You don’t genuinely sing much in worship. Sure, you sing, but it’s more because you know you’re supposed to sing than it is because you’re filled with the joy of Christ. Pessimists usually lack that joy (see #2 above).
  1. You generally don’t trust leaders. Smart leaders would understand and accept your view, and few have done so – so you’re always skeptical about any leader.

Okay, two posts on this topic are enough for now. I fear I’m becoming pessimistic about pessimists. . . .


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