This is a hard one for me. As I sit here, eating Golden Flake Sweet Heat™ chips, watching a Night Court episode featuring Dr. Joyce Brothers, and catching up on reading, I am convicted by a piece I just read.
You see, I’m weird. Probably clinically weird, if that’s a thing.
And that’s just for starters, guys. Srsly. It gets worse, as the article I share at the end of this post rolls on. You might relate, you might not. You can probably judge how true this read rings on both counts, y’know?
I’m not sure how weird I am, or even if weirdness can be quantified. (Click the link for my Weirdometer result. As you’ll see, I’m weirder than 66%, at least.) But I am a decidedly strange, eccentric human being, more so than most. I worry that I’m exceptionally bizarre, possibly to the point of being off-putting. That concerns me, because, if I am off-putting, then (I assume) my impact and outreach as a Christian suffers as a direct result. I wish the behaviors that blunt my impact stopped at weirdness, but newp.
Bone-headed, idiot behaviors—like being overtly political, being bad at handling conflict, playing at “selective ‘sin-ranking'” (as if it were an Olympic sport, you’d think), and wrongfully judging others—seem to clutter the path, every place I’ve trod. If we’re being honest, I’ve not exactly been a marketing boon for God.
Yuppers. I’ve sometimes been guilty of all of these “dumb” behaviors, as a human, and a follower of Christ. Every time my number of “Facebook friends” takes a dip, I’m convinced that it’s probably due to being too much of a “Holy Jo[an]” walking Chick tract–or, paradoxically, that it’s due to my having a heaping helping of heathen hagiography. That is what happens, isn’t it? (Please insert your own super-salient point about me over-thinking it, or a reminder that other folks’ worlds don’t exactly revolve around me.)
Hmmm. Maybe part of my “weirdness” involves insecurity. Anyway, I’m hoping my fellow believers will read this and examine themselves accordingly, because Church-y people can be pretty awkward, marginalizing, even cruel. I can tell you that if I had a nickel for every time I’ve done any of the 5 things listed, and pushed people away, then I could probably buy that 1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom I’ve had my heart set on since 6th grade. Or, alternately, I could snag that ’59 Caddy Hearse with the sick fins, that I’ve wanted since my late teens…and still want. (Yeah. Again, weird.)
I’d also like to apologise to my friends of other/no faith traditions, for all the times I’ve been this particular kind of dumb. Other kinds of dumb, too, now that I think about it. If I hurt, annoy, or otherwise disappoint you, please come to me. Let me know. Suggest an amends that would help things heal between us. Whatever you do, I hope you’ll “not go gently into that good night” without letting me know I’m part of the problem with religious life, rather than that “soft answer” I’m supposed to be that turns away wrath. Deal?
Without further adieu, here are 5 Dumb Things The Church Needs To Stop Doing.