Define “creepy” 26

I linked to this Q&A about volunteer ministries at NewSpring a few days ago, and it warrants a little more attention. In one section, the following question arises:

How do you tell a creepy person that they should not be a greeter?

The answer is to try to get them to smile, and if they can’t, to keep them behind the scenes.

Fair enough, I suppose, but given what they’re asked to do, a little bit of creepy could be an asset.

For background, NewSpring has a policy of keeping children under the sixth grade out of the service. The document makes clear there are at least three levels of security to screen kids out and separate them from their parents.

  1. It starts in the parking lot. New visitors are greeted and “prepared” for being separated from their children as they are walked towards the church.

    Staff members … help redirect children. First time guests with kids are prepared for this by the Greeter in the parking lot.

  2. “Children’s advocates” inside the lobby are trained to redirect children away from the sanctuary.

    First-time greeters are very intentional about if they see a family with a child to go ahead and be talking up the children’s service and how much fun they are going to have. This also lets the parents know that they will not be with them in the service.

    Note how the greeters intentionally bypass the parents and appeal directly to the children. If they can convince the kids to come and play games, they recognize that the parents lose the option of making the decision, not that they really had a choice anyway. It would be like taking your kid into Toys R Us and having the staff ignore you and pitch their products only at the children. I’d be so mad.

  3. Bouncers [their word] constitute the third line of defense in case a crumb cruncher gets too close to Perry Noble.

    We have children bouncers that are especially trained for the confrontational conversations.

  4. If they won’t listen to the bouncers, the entire family has to leave.

    And you just have to know that sometimes people leave. The ultimate thing to remember is that God is sovereign.

    If you have a problem with this, apparently you’ll need to take it up with God.

26 thoughts on “Define “creepy”

  1. Tommy F. May 22, 2009 12:11 am


    Shouldn’t they keep children out of the service? After all Movie theaters have enough sense to rate movies filled with swearing and other adult “themes.” Shouldn’t churches that mimic Hollywood do the same?

    Or perhaps they could simply rate the sermons based on the garbage in them. They could even contact the MPAA and get ratings in advance.

    They could advertise upcoming sermons series with the caption:
    “The upcoming BAMF series on Money Matters has not yet been rated. But we have a pretty good idea that our child bouncers will be busy in June. Parents please be advised our sermon series typically contain content not suitable for younger viewers. And while you’re at it put a blocker on our pastor’s blog.”

  2. Johnny Burns May 22, 2009 12:32 am

    i agree with Tommy….sometimes i don’t like my little sister to go to a church service due to she picks up a new cuss word…and then uses it on the play ground.

  3. Twit May 22, 2009 12:50 am

    Would seem the bouncers are also sovereign…

    What’s the Scriptural basis for 1. keeping kids from worshiping together their parents in the main auditorium and 2. separating babies from their mothers at 10 weeks?

  4. James Duncan May 22, 2009 12:56 am

    I don’t know, Twit, but it’s probably not Luke 18:15-17

    People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

  5. James Duncan May 22, 2009 1:04 am

    Found it, Twit. Here’s why it’s a good idea: Ephesians 5:4

  6. Blake butler May 22, 2009 1:16 am

    @tommy f if you believe bamf is such a horribly unclean and defiling word why do you continue to use it?

  7. Twit May 22, 2009 1:18 am

    Thanks James. I was wondering if there was indeed a biblical reference or whether Ace was soverign at ‘his’ church. I appreciate you pointing me – and the rug rats with me – in the right direction.

  8. Tommy F. May 22, 2009 8:02 am

    Blake Butler: First, you still have never finished our 1st exchange from march about worship. OR our 2nd from a few weeks ago on BCoop’s blog about the importance of ministerial training (lucky for you I suppose that my persuasive comments were scrubbed).

    But, to show you that I’ll be glad to start a 3rd conversation (which you probably won’t join again), I’ll reply to your question. I use bamf for 2 main reasons: First, I don’t usually use such purple language, but my counselor told me it should be part of my empathy protocol – “do what they do” – to promote empathy toward them. I use twitter for this same reason. 2) (Just in case #1 wasn’t clear) I do it to make a mockery of the appropriateness of BAMF to describe a place constructed for one main purpose: worship. If I use it enough to describe mundane trivial items, then perhaps the term/phrase will lose its special place among NS-ers for describing their bamf building. Just for a second think about the word love. Now, I love starbursts. But not in the same way I love sex or the letter to the Romans, to take two examples. And using it to describe my affection for starbursts some how (in my twisted mind) debases the value of the term “love.”

    How’s that for a bamf explanation of why I use bamf more often than I should about bamf things that pale in comparison to bamf places of worship?

    Please note that I closed with a question for you, Blake. This your 3rd chance. If no reply? 3 strikes – you’re out. C’mon let’s play. It would be so bamf.

  9. James Duncan May 22, 2009 9:55 am

    Blake, TF has answered for himself, but I would have guessed that he was waiting for someone to get upset with him, because not one NewSpringer has even hinted that that language from their pastors is inappropriate. (I’m not sure whether to read your comment as condemning it or not.)

    There are two issues: 1) whether the language itself is acceptable (the issue you seem to be taking with Tommy here), and 2) whether it is appropriate to use to describe worship.

    As I’ve said on a few occasions, I would not have predicted the prolonged intense silence.

  10. blake May 22, 2009 10:29 am

    three part comment.

    a) come on – surely you know the people who are “creepy.” or to put a different spin on it – socially awkward. whether the close talker, low talker, or high talker – some people just aren’t cut out to talk to others in public. Jesus still loves them and wants them to serve somewhere.

    b) they don’t let kids into the service for a reason. who wants an 8 year old to hear sex preached about from the stage? no one. but should sex be preached about from the stage? absolutely. and who doesn’t remember sleeping in church as a child? who doesn’t remember being bored to tears because you didn’t understand what was going on? at newspring and at many other churches they have a worship service that is designed for kids. a chance for them to worship and learn and still be a kid. (not to mention that kids getting up every five minutes to go to the bathroom or screaming babies is incredibly distracting. the little things could be the difference in someone hearing the Holy Spirit speaking to their heart or not)

    and i realize that there is no way that i am the smartest person in this forum and my comments will undoubtedly be torn to shreds. but this next one will probably get eaten up quickly.

    c) so what does it mean if BAMF doesn’t offend me? or them playing highway to hell? or perry’s or brad’s use of questionable language? well questionable in the eyes of the “pajama pages.”

    regardless of those things (and anything that you throw at me) i know that perry and brad are both men of God. they love Jesus.

  11. Josh May 22, 2009 10:48 am

    “And you just have to know that sometimes people leave. The ultimate thing to remember is that God is sovereign.”

    This sounds like a step away from saying, “its okay if a make a mistake, God is sovereign.” So does this mean we can completely disregard the consequences of our actions and not learn from them, because God is sovereign?

    Metaphorically, it sounds like “God’s got the check, so I can order whatever I like.”

  12. Tommy F. May 22, 2009 10:50 am


    I don’t think you need to be offended by bamf, necessarily. But as my earlier posts declares using bamf to describe a movie is a bit different thatn describing a place of worship. PP asks a better question: Do you think God is? And do you think God is offended that language that the world views as expletives is acceptable by ministers? And that they use the terms to describe their place of worship of God?

    Lots of people love Jesus. It doesn’t mean they should lead a church, and certainly doesn’t give them the freedom to do and say whatever they wish. Loving Jesus doesn’t amount to a defense. In fact, loving Jesus and leading a church means that they need to be even more careful about what they say. You seem to imply the opposite: they love Jesus, so don’t question them.

    Why do NS-ers find it so difficult to find fault with anything NS leadership does? For NS-ers any objection to NS is dismissed outright. Why? Is there no valid criticism? He who has ears let him hear.

  13. James Duncan May 22, 2009 10:53 am

    Blake #2,

    You offered a three-part comment, but I’ll one up you with a four-part response, if you don’t mind.

    a) I was defending creepy people.

    b) We understand that. Did you follow my link to Ephesians 5:4? But as Twit asked, where does the Bible suggest we should be preaching x-rated sermons? When the Bible teaches about sex, it does it in ways that are appropriate for children. Shouldn’t that be the standard? Also, Jesus didn’t worry about crying babies when he was teaching.

    c) It means more than I think you know. This is exactly the attitude I was referencing in the 9:55 comment.

    d) How do you know they’re men of God? I assume it’s from what they say and do. We’re looking at the same things (what they say and do) and coming to slightly different conclusions, it seems.

  14. James Duncan May 22, 2009 10:58 am

    Good point, Josh. It’s just another version of the whole fatalism argument. It happens, so God must approve of it.

  15. Albert May 22, 2009 11:11 am

    The idea of keeping kids out to censor their minds seems a little hypocritical. NS seems bent on preaching subjects that other churches won’t–sex seems to be the example used. Furthermore, another thing NS seems bent about is permeating the minds of everyone in the Anderson community (this includes establishing a monopoly on children’s ministry).

    Why wouldn’t they want to extend that message to their children?

    Also, I doubt any censoring they attempt to place on their children will actually keep them from hearing about the services. With all of the media that includes the service material (website, PN’s blog, other leadership’s blogs), I doubt that children are kept from seeing it…

  16. James Duncan May 22, 2009 11:15 am

    Blake #2, perhaps I can clarify my response on point a above.

    My argument is that someone who smiles nicely at me and shakes my hand while scheming to divide my family is much more creepy than someone who is simply a nonverbal klutz. At least the klutzes are generally more honest.

  17. Seth May 22, 2009 11:39 am

    Let me ask everyone this, how many times is bamf actually used? if it was only that one time, then I think this is being taking alittle too far. it was one time, and like i said, everyone sins and falls short of the glory of God, and everyone makes mistakes. But, im not saying it should be dismissed either. ALso, where was the picture posted at? was it Newsprings website? I dont really remember but if it was his blog or somewhere else, then it might not matter since most blogs I read (and I read alot) have a disclaimer that the views stated in the blog do not reflect the views of the church that they are affilated with, example, your own blog says that. Yes, your suppose to watch yourself as a leader of the church but, it happened, he isnt going to change his mind or remove it.

    Also, I know NS leadership isnt perfect, and it never will be, but, they do seek Jesus and his direction for the church. We as NS we don’t really not find fault in NS leadership its more of the way people attack the people who do it wrong. Yes, perry talks to other churches but everything I have ever heard him say is biblically correct when he, as you would say, “attacks” other churches. and, if him talking to other churches bothers you, maybe he is talking to you, but, when you use the level of sarcasim and continual attacking it doesnt make people want to change, it makes them want to defend something so the other people can be proved wrong or vise versa. I don’t come into you places of work and critique everything little thing you do or call out every little mistake you make nor does NS for that matter, why? because they have better things to do for God. So, note this since it will be a big deal/first time or something, yes, i dont agree with everything NS leadership does, yes they make mistakes and say things that are questionable, no, I don’t have a problem keeping kids out of the service because their childrens programs is excellent, BUT, I still support them in love and I believe in what they are doing because lives are being changed in the name of Jesus. I know many people who have grown up and spent their lives in traditional church and when they come to NS they don’t agree with everything that is said, but, they learn and grow in their faith there, they acknowledge the wrongs while praising the things that are right.

  18. James Duncan May 22, 2009 12:27 pm

    Hello again, Seth.

    Cooper has used the BAMF epithet at least twice online (I can’t attest to how often he uses it in his speech or preaching). One was during the service on Easter Sunday from inside the sanctuary, the other was in a call to worship. In my book, that makes the statements pretty significant.

    Where do they appear? They were twittered, which means that they are a part of Cooper’s blog, which he uses as his mid-week pulpit to preach to his peeps. His Twitter is an integral part of his blog, so I don’t think you or he can “disclaim” it away.

    So, both the uses that I have drawn attention to were used by a pastor in the course of his ministry to describe church and worship.

    Why would you assume that BC is not going to change his mind? He certainly can delete it. He certainly can apologize for it. Is this a new version of fatalism? God made me do it, so I have nothing to apologize for.

    I agree with your statement about none of these leaders being perfect, though your statement is not really groundbreaking, nor really what we’re talking about. I don’t think anyone is under the impression that anyone is perfect (though my brother did think that of me for about 35 years). Making a general claim of fallenness is a bit of a cop out because you don’t have to specify particular instances of fallenness. Why can’t anyone say that BC is wrong in this particular instance? If he’s not perfect, that must at least be possible, right?

    Why am I so awful for pointing out such an instance, and why can no-one agree with me on at least that specific example? I’m not saying that BC is a bad man (from my personal experience, he’s actually a nice man), and neither would you (as in y’all) be if you said it.

    Look, I did not post the original desecration article looking for everyone to jump in and condemn him. But now it’s been so long, many hundreds of people have read about it, and NOT ONE NSer has had a single bad public word to say about it.

    Color me amazed.

  19. Seth May 22, 2009 2:16 pm


    If you did not post it for him to be condemed why did you post it?

    Also, I never said God made anyone do anything. So really, there is no ‘new fatalism’ idea that you may be thinking I am implying or applying. I never said you were awful, I just disagree with the method you go about trying to ‘fix’ or ‘correct’ NS. It’s not working.

    I am also curious about this, what, according to the Bible, constitutes profanity in todays world? I have heard alot of people talk about it and disscuss it and I would like to know the scripture to back it up. I am still open as both sides make interesting arguements.

  20. James Duncan May 22, 2009 2:34 pm

    Why post? Because I was judging it and condemning it. I just thought I might be joined by at least a few others.

    We’ve talked about this defining profanity bit elsewhere. I think it should be easy to agree that if the FCC says you can’t say something on TV or radio, that it’s probably off limits in church. Goodness, do you really want to argue that the church should have lower standards than the world when it comes to language?

    Your argument is self refuting.

    In case it really is still a mystery, Cooper was describing the church as incestuous. That counts as profanity.

    Leviticus 18:7: Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her.

    Do I need to spell it out any more?

  21. Tommy F. May 22, 2009 2:37 pm

    Seth: your question “what constitutes profanity” is absurd. It’s defined differently by different people. But here’s a stab at a definition for the current discussion: labeling something sacred (a place of worship) with profane adjectives (bamf) is profanity.

    Words are important. They have meaning. They cannot mean just anything, or nothing.

    Anyway, isn’t the whole point of NS using profanity designed to get attention? Attention gathered. You all should be happy – in a creepy sort of way.

  22. Micah May 22, 2009 9:54 pm

    Of all your arguments, Tommy, #2 reason for using “bamf” was not your strongest. I think we have to remember that our words reflect our hearts and using a word to deteriorate it’s meaning is well… not really a good excuse at all. I don’t think I need to break it down any further… you might just wanna take a second swing at that explanation… or just stop using the word so that people can’t point fingers at you. Lead by example. I wouldn’t be surprised if Blake B didn’t reply to that one… nor would I really blame him.

    In short… make sure you’re backing yourself with scripture and not wit, logic, or sarcasm… if you can’t, you might wanna reconsider your actions.

  23. Micah May 22, 2009 9:56 pm

    Oh… and I want to one day take my kids to worship with me… at whatever age they want to go… whenever that is…

    and I would want my 8 year old to hear about sex in church… by that age he’s already heard plenty at school…

  24. Tommy F. May 23, 2009 12:17 am


    I think JDuncan sums it up best. “Blake, TF has answered for himself, but I would have guessed that he was waiting for someone to get upset with him, because not one NewSpringer has even hinted that that language from their pastors is inappropriate. (I’m not sure whether to read your comment as condemning it or not.)”

    I use the language to provoke NS-ers to consider its appropriateness. A good reason? Probably not. But, consider that Blake B thought enough to ask. I do blame him if he doesn’t engage in a conversation he starts – 3 times now. 3 strikes.

  25. James Duncan May 23, 2009 12:22 am

    Not that TFred needs me to defend him, but it’s worth pointing out that when he used the word that TBB objected to, it was as a part of a mock NS appeal. Given that it was worded almost exactly the same way as when BC twice used it FOR REAL, shouldn’t all this angst be directed where it really belongs?

    In other words, not at Tommy.

  26. Micah May 23, 2009 2:37 am

    No angst here, just making sure we’re holding ourselves to the same standards.

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