Odd Man Out: God Bless the Weirdos

Main Entry: mis•fit, n. 1: something that fits badly 2: a person who is poorly adapted to a situation or environment. See also: outcast, outsider, oddball, weirdo, fish out of water, square peg

One of my earliest clear memories was when I was a little boy, probably around six years old, and one of my friends said to me, “You’re weird.”

I said thank you.

I still like being weird. You probably wouldn’t know it by looking at me, but I still don’t always fit in very well. I never really have. That doesn’t really bother me 99% of the time. I like being different, charting my own course, marching to the beat of a different drum, [insert cliché about being different here]. In high school, the land of the cliques, I was much happier floating around on the fringes of a bunch of different groups without ever landing in any one of them. Drama, chorus, yearbook… not exactly a recipe for coolness, but I loved it.

The only time this “otherness” bothers me is when I come to church. In my last post, I talked about how people with political views that aren’t GOP have trouble finding their place in many churches, but you don’t have to be a socialist to not fit in in church. I have been in Sunday morning services where I feel like a band geek in a room full of jocks and cheerleaders. I don’t dress the same, act the same, listen to the same music, read the same authors, or watch the same movies. I couldn’t care less about sports but the sermon is filled with football analogies. I’m quiet a lot of the time, not working the crowd shaking hands and filling up the air with small talk. During handshaking time, friends seek each other out and say they’re glad to see each other while I shake hands with the pastor. After church, everybody goes out for lunch together while I head home.

I want to be part of the family but sometimes I feel like the black sheep.

And I know there are other people just like me. They visit a church and before the organist has finished playing the prelude they already know that they don’t fit in. They’re (let’s just say “we,” not “they,” cause I’m part of this group too) the artists, the poets, the creative types who think out of the box, and we just can’t seem to find our place among other Christians. This doesn’t mean that we don’t love Jesus madly. We do. And it really doesn’t even mean that we don’t love the church. We do, but often we feel like the church doesn’t love us back. We feel like a kid who has just been told he’s not cool enough to sit at the lunch table with the popular kids. Church is about the only place where I really do want to fit in, but that just doesn’t happen very often.

Out of context or not, I like the Bible verses that say that Christians are “peculiar people” and “aliens” (thanks, KJV!) That resonates with me. I Iove the others out there like me. Jesus said that all could come to him, not just the ones who have managed to navigate the complicated social waters of the church. Who did Jesus spent most of his time with? Outcasts. Loners. Losers. The people shunned by society and rejected by the church.

So God bless the weirdos, the freaks, the non-conformists, the band geeks and yearbook nerds, the kids in all black and dark eyeliner, the hippie girls who wear organic cotton skirts and don’t shave their legs or under their arms, the indie music snobs…

God bless the kids who would rather be on stage in a costume than on a court in a uniform, the guys who know fashion and the girls who fix cars, the artists whose work will never be sold in the front of a Christian bookstore…

God bless the guys who can’t stand to wear a suit on Sundays, the church members who don’t vote Republican but don’t put bumper stickers on their car for fear of being branded a heretic, the A/V guys who hang out in the back of the sanctuary and run the soundboard…

God bless the sinners and the Samaritans, the unclean and the lepers, the tax collectors and the prostitutes, the “peculiar people,” and the “aliens.”

When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Mark 2:16)

11 thoughts on “Odd Man Out: God Bless the Weirdos

  1. Seth says:

    They day we fit with in with the rest is the day we cease to live the fulfilled life that we were intended. I wouldn't have it any other way.

  2. Lisa Huddleston says:

    … but let us not take pride in our "different-ness." 🙂 We are called to love and serve all people which means we have to reach out.

  3. Jessica says:

    This post is *exactly* how I have felt for years. It is exactly why I have struggled to find a church home, and exactly why I can count my great friends on one hand – well, really just a few fingers. It is encouraging to know that someone like you feels just like me and is making a difference. You rock, and you know what, Jesus loves you. 🙂

  4. Jody Webster says:

    Lisa, I don't thinking being different or even enjoying your "different-ness" excludes someone from reaching out. In fact, I think often those people have the opportunity to reach some folks that others don't. I've seen "weird" kids who would never darken a church's doorstep on their own become committed followers of Jesus because someone else who didn't fit the mold reached out to them.

  5. Lisa Huddleston says:

    I said don't be prideful in it–great to enjoy it! And, yes, reach out. That's what I said. By all means! We are here to serve not to be served–especially those of us who feel called to ministry. (And yes, I am "weird," too.)

  6. Jody Webster says:

    Just to clarify, I didn't mean to sound like I was blaming anybody for feelings that I have. Rather, I was trying to express what I know many others feel when they come to church. I want very much to reach the "jocks and cheerleaders" and I love them very much, but I still don't fit in. Really, this post is an attempt to reach out to the disenfranchised and acknowledge their feelings, not blame others for causing them.

  7. Linda says:

    Jody, your blog is a reminder for me to make the extra effort to welcome and embrace the "stranger in our midst" especially within my church family. There have been many times when I didn't feel as if I "fit in" exactly either. Thanks for sharing…and thanks for being an extraordinary son-in-law!

  8. cherylw says:

    If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. One of your dad's favorite quotes!

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