Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My daughter- Odd??

One of my favorite movies is Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Belle didn't fit the mold of the community that she lived in. Belle was filled with dreams but the village people questioned her, thinking she was beautiful, but peculiar.
She goes home to questions her father to see if he thinks she is odd. He comes out from beneath his invention, with great googly eyed glasses on and questions, "My daughter, odd? Where would you get an idea like that?"

This morning I was reading from the book "Messy Spirituality," by Michael Yaconelli.

He refers to a story actually found in another book by Robert Fulghum called Uh-Oh. I will paraphrase it. It's about an elementary class that is performing the spring play Cinderella. The teacher distributes the parts to the students, making up various extra parts to include all the students. All except a boy named Norman. He still needed a part, so Norman declared he would like to be the pig. His teacher questioned, "Pig? There is no pig in Cinderella." "There is now," declared Norman. And Norman became a barking pig. Yep, barking. He followed Cinderella around throughout the play filled with emotion. Then danced with joy when the prince carried Cinderella off at the end.

Seemingly an insignificant story. How many teachers would be annoyed with a student wanting to do this? Yet at the curtain call, he received a standing ovation for his barking pig. Odd? Yes. But Norman refused to believe he had no place.

Yacolelli goes on to say, this is how Jesus was. He didn't fit into the Pharisee's script. The script they had written for the messiah didn't threaten their religion, break the rules, act so irresponsibly, disregard his reputation, or befriend riffraff. But Jesus reply was "This messiah does." Our churches aren't filled with exclusively beautiful Cinderellas. But dancing barking pigs who follow the real Cinderella wherever he goes. Filled with odd inspiring, an earthly assortment of Jesus' followers. Sameness is a disease.

Sameness is the cemetery where out distinctiveness is buried. In the sea of sameness, no one has an identity. But Christians do have an identity, We're aliens! We are the odd ones, the strange ones, the misfits, the outsiders, the incompatibles. Oddness is a gift from God and sits dormant until God's Spirit gives it life and shape. Oddness is the consequence of following the one who made us unique, different, and in his image!

I don't know if stand alone in feeling odd. Perhaps. But I think that often we feel isolated in our oddities. The world expects churches to and services to be perfect. Yet here where the grayness the world would like to to trap us, is where Jesus paints: bright, beautiful, odd colors.

It is not going to be easy to listen to God's call. Your insecurity, your self-doubt, and your great need for affirmation make you lose trust in your inner voice and run away from yourself. But you know that God speaks to you through your inner voice and that you will find joy and peace only if you follow it.
Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love

His Daughter- odd? You bet I am. But isn't this where Belle's story is found?

From one religious camp we're told that what God wants is obedience, or sacrifice, or adherence to the right doctrines or morality. Those are the answers offered by conservative churches. The more therapeutic churches suggest that no, God is after our contentment, or happiness, or self-actualization, or something else along those lines. He is concerned about all these things, of course, but they are not his primary concern. What he is after is us- our laughter, our dreams, our fears, our heart of hearts.
Brent Curtis and John Eldredge, The Sacred Romance.


JD said...

This is really deep stuff, really true stuff. I am grateful you are odd. I really am inspired by your oddness. May we make sure we never get normal! Thanks!

Beefy said...

Sounds like an amazing book. And you are amazing. And that inner voice has told me some things lately that I Really Don't Want to face and do. I love love the barking pig idea - I've been barking at my kids all morning, but it seems I should rechannel that barking. Great Post!

Beth said...

I am gonna blog soon about a book I just read, I think you would like it!
"Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul".... hey, it is by your guy, ....John Eldredge! ha ha! Funny! Now I gotta read "The Sacred Romance"!!! Have you already read "Wild at HEart"?
We have it at the library but I have it checked out right now!! he he!

Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

Love this post, Mel. I'm an odd-duck for that quote where it says oddness is a GIFT! WOO HOO!!! Can I call it a spiritual gift?!?

Beth said...

I will have to check out that book too! thanks!

I just bought this camera in January. It is a Canon Powershot SX100 IS. I bought it based on the reviews on
It is an 8 megapixel and has a 10X optical zoom.
I figured out this weekend that it actually takes awesome pics set on AUTO and then MACRO for those close ups! I love it! It is not tiny, but not as big as the "big dog" cameras either. It was about $270 plus the cost of the memory card. I do have to tell you that I edited these pics in Photoshop Elements a little as well, but the pics were great before editing too!

Heth said...

Good good stuff there Mel.

Michelle Gibilisco said...

Totally agree with you how we get wrapped up in thinking church must be perfect. Mike and I are having a hard time agreeing to disagree on what we want out of a church and in the process we have missed out! But it's out in the real world wear we see God's true work and love. Nice post, you're so deep!!

ann said...

I so need to print this out. Very very good, Mel.

Chris @ Come to the Table said...

He wants it all! Acceptance of who God made us can be so hard at times, especially when our culture wants to scream all day long at us at what "normal" should look like.
I love to read your thoughts Mel! I love how you think. You are very courageous, don't change, don't stop dreaming.