I sat in a new staff orientation yesterday, reading over the shiny, new employees’ handbook as my lead pastor and executive pastor gave a deep explanation of what it means to work at the church. We covered history, identity, mission, and expectations. While I was happy to learn more about the body that I’ve been serving for years, there was a moment during the outline of expectations that made me laugh.
“Please don’t make me have to explain you.”
Now, in context, it made sense. We all, as Christians, are representatives of Christ and His Church. As staff members, we are representatives of RockPointe. We have a responsibility to represent our God and His Church well. Especially today, in a world that doesn’t particularly like the Church. My pastor was simply asking that we conduct ourselves in a way that does not draw negative attention to the church.
Yet, in a way, I think we’re going to be explaining me for a long time.
Because you see, what I do is weird.
I create art for the church. I help to bring beauty and wonder and passion into an institution that is not well known for these virtues anymore. I tell stories of redemption and hope. I push some envelopes, and leave others alone. I aim to bring people to a place of awe before their Creator and Redeemer.
And, quite frankly, there aren’t many who are able to devote a lot of time to this sort of thing.
But that’s not the only way I’m weird. I often feel quite stuck when it comes to politics. I lean to the left when I analyze most social policies. I believe Jesus told us to look after the poor and the downtrodden and I believe a welfare state chases after that command. Yet, I am morally conservative. I believe that there is a right and a wrong and that we can discern what they are through the Scripture. At the church, I’m the crazy liberal artist. At Community Natural Foods (my other part time work), I am the token conservative Christian. I don’t feel like I’m quite like anyone in either camp.
And then, one day at Community, a particularly wise coworker told me: “Maybe you don’t need camps.”
We like labels. They help us self-identify. They help us find a place to belong and a people to belong to. But there are times when they are going to fail you, and those are powerful times.
Whether you are a Christian artist who isn’t quite a home at church or in the art scene, or a teenager struggling with self-identity against family-identity, or a stay-at-home mom trying to find her identity when the world defines you by your job, I believe we all go through periods in our lives where we feel like we’re weird. And I argue that these periods can be incredibly fruitful in our spiritual walk.
Because when we are confronted by our inability to fit into the moulds that the world (even the church world) tries to get us to fit into, we come to realize how fearfully and wonderfully we are made. Though there are more that 7.5 BILLION people in the world right now and many who are probably much like me, I am the only me that God has placed right here, right now. And you are the only you that God has placed where you are. No one can do what God has called you to do.
What the world calls weird is simply the messy specificity that God used to create you.
There are places I can go because I have ties to the arts community that a normal pastor either wouldn’t or couldn’t go. There are beautiful things I can do in the church that an outside artist doesn’t have the relationships to accomplish. I was made weird because God has a plan and we don’t always get to see that plan until after it’s all over. And you…yes, you…are also weird in your own special way and for your own special purpose.
So today, as you go about your business, try to remember that you are weird. And that being weird is a good thing. Not because of millennial snowflakism or your own inherent specialness, but because God has given you a certain set of passions and experiences that make you ideally suited to a certain mission in the world.
Go, be weird on mission.