Confession: I Hate Being THAT Guy

In Do Good, Missional Living by Chris Marlow10 Comments


Being *THAT* Guy

I always have this nagging thought in the back of my mind, this lingering frustration with myself and my voice as communicator and writer. When I’m with my friends or in a group, I see this issue come up time after time.

I’m one of those that could be considered THAT guy. You know, the one that people roll their eyes about and mutter things like “Here comes Chris with another sad story.” My life is so different than most. My story is unique, my calling is hard for people to capture, process and relate to.
I wish I was not always the bearer of bad news.

See, I hate ALWAYS being THAT guy. The do gooder who serves orphans, the oppressed and the forgotten. At times, my friends, neighbors and acquaintances really don’t know what to do with me.

Yes, I’m the guy who reminds everyone that not all is well with the world.

I wish I did not have to talk about these issues all the time.

I want to talk about other things. Honestly.

Maybe some great leadership principle that will get a million re-tweets because it is practical and the middle-class masses can apply it to their daily lives, be more productive, and make more money.

Maybe I could write a blog post on some practical fatherhood tips.

Maybe I could talk about money… or sports… or fashion… or fitness.

Here’s the truth — all of those topics are spiritual and Godly and good. And they need to be discussed.

But it’s not for me. It’s not my niche. It’s not my calling.

I’m living my calling.

Some would say I’m a machine-like, super-motivated, type A guy. Others ask how I do this all the time. They warn me that I’m going to burnout. And maybe I will. If so, it will be worth it.

I’ve had friends tell me that they don’t read my blog because they can’t handle the bad news all the time. It’s just too much.

I get it. I understand. I’m in the same boat. Sometimes I want to hide and ignore all of these global poverty issues. But I can’t. We can’t.

But that is why I keep writing, speaking, shouting, begging. We simply can’t afford to ignore these issues. I will talk about them over and over. Don’t get me wrong, we will focus on the beauty, joy and hope as well – it’s not all sad news!

Living for something bigger than yourself.

Sometimes, I wish I did not have to do that. Then I remember the calling on my life. I remember the grace that I’ve been given. I remember the little boy in Zimbabwe who crushed my heart and caused me to rethink everything…to reframe my life for the remainder of my days. I remember the little girl in Haiti who just wants to attend school and have an opportunity…any opportunity.

They need us. We need them.

I’m committed to being a voice for the voiceless. I’m committed to using this space to tell their stories. I’m committed to writing books on their behalf–not for the money, but for them. I’m committed to getting on every church stage in the world and telling their stories and asking the church to help, to get involved and be on mission.

I’ll go to any board room that will allow me to share; any mom’s group that wants to do good; any university that is encouraging their students to do good in the world.

I don’t HAVE to do this. I GET to do this. If God is willing to use a knucklehead like me to advocate for them…then I will do it. I’ll be THAT guy.

I need you to pay attention.

And friends…I’m going to need you to stick with me, even when you don’t want to hear it. I’m going to need you to be generous, even when you feel like you’ve already been generous.

I’m going to ask you to dig deep…and deeper…and deeper. We can do this. We are doing this. Lives have been changed because of this little rag-tag, bootstrapped startup called Help One Now.

We’re a collective of normal people who choose to care for those who are suffering, and together, we’re seeing lives transformed day in and day out.

So let’s keep running the race together and do our part to seek justice in our generation.

Are you ready to be THAT guy with me?


  1. Eric

    That we could all be “That Guy” – we need more of them in the world. AND, I seem to remember a running theme of taking care of widows, orphans, oppressed, cast-offs, and others within a little known book out there.

  2. lynda

    Dont stop being “That Guy”. We need a lot more of “those Guy’s and a lot of “those Girls” too. Live it Out Loud! I c ur coming to NW AR. next week. YAY ARkansas & welcome but Dang we r in Central AR (little rock).

  3. A.J.

    Love it…keep being that guy brother. You inspire, challenge and convict with your words, actions and passion.

    Especially like the “knucklehead” part 😉

  4. Christena Cleveland (@christena_c)

    Well said.

    I appreciate your perspective. I imagine that being a person of privilege who feels called serve the oppressed is not an easy road and requires a certain degree of finesse.

    In terms of building solidarity with the people you seek to serve, your (fleeting) experiences as “that” guy (e.g., Other, different, an outsider, easily dismissed) can help you understand what it’s like to be “that” guy/lady all of the time, inescapably, as a member of an oppressed group.


    1. Author
      Chris Marlow


      Thanks and so true. It’s always unique to be walking through a tent-city one day and then hanging out in downtown Raleigh the next. The tensions never end…

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