Toxic Ones – Back Row People


It’s very, I mean very, common. People come to church and they start by filling up the room … and they start in the back. Maybe back pews, or back rows, or back seats … just the back. One Christmas, I roped off the back pews – forcing people to move forward. I had people arrive and just stare at the ropes, as if they thought the ropes would disappear if they stared long enough.

In college, I sat in the second row. Not too close to get the lecturers spittle as they rambled. Not too far back so I can still get involved. Not in the back, for I didn’t want to be labeled a slacker. Even that 7am history class in which I occasionally dozed off.

But a lot of people do sit in the back. Some may be interested in the happenings, just mildly interested. Others just like the back – but are still truly interested. 

More to the point, a toxic “back row” Christian are those that keep God at arm’s length. They may be driven by things like money, pleasure, or achievements. And they don’t want God interfering with their pursuits. Unless, of course, God wants to help them reach their goals. God is more like a fairy god mother – a Genie in a bottle – one who grants wishes but doesn’t interfere.

This is not about where one is ‘physically’ in relation to the front of the worship room. It is about the distance they keep God in their heart.  The irony is they put church, and the church family, in the back seat. They don’t really want to get involved. And when they don’t get involved, they force the church to carry the weight in which they should be helping. They become dead weight. Literally, just filling a seat, albeit a seat in the back row.

“Back row” Christians are toxic but they are not without meaning or usefulness. God has a purpose and a plan for each and every one of His children. Hebrews 10 tells us to prompt, to prod others to acts of love. 

It is not once, but multiple times in Scripture, that God encourages us to draw near.

Get out of the back seat. Leave the final row of despair. Draw near to the Throne of Grace. Run to His welcoming arms. Feel the warmth of His embrace. 

Then run back to the back row and get those that are still there and bring them closer too! I’m glad someone did that for me.


POST SCRIPT: yesterday, the Eagles won their game and are headed to the Super Bowl. My son, an Eagle’s fan, now thinks I should buy him tickets. Ouch. Even if I would consider it, I am not sure I could even afford the tickets – for they even start at $4,600. So if I go, probably a back row seat for me. If any readers want to make my back row dream a reality, let me know. LOL





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: