Barna: Regular Baptists not regular at all

Orginally published on Friday, September 08, 2006 at 7:19 AM
by Todd Rhoades

[HOLY OBSERVER] -- It appears that a disproportionate number of members of the General Association of Regular Baptists (GARBC) are regular in name only. In a study released in early May by the Barna Research Group, the GARBC comfortably—or perhaps not so comfortably— topped the list of major denominations for chronic constipation among members with a whopping 10 percent. That's nearly eight times the national average...

“These results are just unbelievable,” said George Barna, president of the Barna Research Group. “We’ve stumbled on a real epidemic here.”

The study defines chronic constipation as “either a decreased number of bowel movements and/or difficulties evacuating the rectum, including excessive straining or hard stools over a period of more than two weeks.”

While other denominations were well above the national average of 1.3 percent (just over four percent of Free Methodists and nearly three percent of Presbyterians suffer from chronic constipation), the “Regular” Baptists are clearly at the top of the heap.

John Greening, national representative of the GARBC, said the denomination had made no determination on whether or not it would consider changing its name in light of the findings.

“We’re going to think about this very carefully as a community of believers,” Greening said, although he would not elaborate on where all this extra thinking might take place. “I’m sure the name issue will come up, because we are, of course, very concerned about representing ourselves in a genuine manner.”

Greening denied that the GARBC’s recent decision to ditch its long time slogan, “Proud to be Regular,” in favor of “Together we can accomplish more” had anything to do with the study.

“That decision was made well before this information came to light,” he said.

Another high-ranking GARBC official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, cast doubt on the validity of the study results.

“These numbers have to be skewed,” he said. “No self-respecting Baptist is gonna talk openly to some researcher about poop.”

Although the study did not address possible causes for the high constipation numbers, Barna is not without his theories.

“It’s a well known fact that the older, more traditional GARBC members refuse to drink prune juice because of its .0006 percent alcohol content,” Barna said. “We also have to remember that this is a group of worshipers who often have to sit through a dozen or more stanzas of Just As I Am without a potty break.”

Whatever the cause of the chronic constipation, one thing is certain: the report has caused a ripple of anxiety through the GARBC membership.

“I had no idea this was such a problem,” said Harriet Mortimer, a GARBC member from Nashville. “I always thought that three bowel movements a month was normal.”

Others weren’t so surprised.

“This is news?,” said Jim Bixley, owner of a Birmingham service station that sits directly across the street from a large GARBC congregation. “I could have told you that.”

For more updates, please visit the Holy Observer...

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 TRACKBACKS: (0) There are 6 Comments:

  • Posted by

    It just makes sense that if you walk around with your butt cheeks squeezed too tightly together for over 20 years, your going to have problems!

    And yes, I believe that no self-respecting GARBer would even use the euphomism “poop” to describe fecal issues.  The danger that arises… is that many older members filled out the “fecal issue survey” having mis-heard and answered questions they thought were about “fetal issues” and took a very PRO-LIFE stand!

  • Posted by

    A GARB’er by upbringing and over 20 years in GARBC churches, I can really identfy.  Whoever wrote this really knows us.  If you can’t laguh at this you are probably in way to deep.

  • Posted by Andy McAdams

    That explains a lot to me now.  I was at a GARBC church not long ago and someone shouted alleluia (which is rather rare), but he had just come from the restroom so NOW I understand….

  • Posted by

    Wow! What a hoot.  I too grew up in “The Garb”.  Migrated into Non-Denoms in the early 80’s.

    Been just a Regular Christian ever since.

    I believe what Andy heard was actually, “Halleluhjah!” See, in addition to “poop,” a real Garb-er wouldn’t say “Alleluia” either.

    Way too liturgical.

  • Posted by

    How funny, although somewhat insightful.  Some of the most wonderful and spiritually atuned Christians I have met are GARB.  Unfortunately for those regular Baptists, many other GARBers have separated themselves so far from other brothers and sisters in other churches (even those with agreement in major doctrines) and from the world (even insofar as being soul-winners or disciple makers) that they are becoming irregular Baptists.

    Some might say that irregularity can cause pain, discomfort, unease, a sour puss, and even sometimes smells badly.  And it certainly isn’t something you wish to spread around for others to “enjoy.”

    Thank goodness there are Regular Baptists too.

  • Posted by

    I’m personally glad to be part of the “movement”. . .the GARBC seeks to be balanced and biblical in its perspectives.  Great to laugh at ourselves too.  Maybe a name change would be in order!?!

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