Lets Hear it for the Weirdos

     Several years ago, our pastor took the staff and their wives to a leadership conference in Lancaster, California.  There we heard David Gibbs speak among other wonderful speakers.  What stood out, in a humerous way, from one of his messages, was when he posed the question to us, “Do any of you have weird people in your churches?”  It took our little pew about five minutes to recover from the giggles. Our church seems to be full of them.  I say this lovingly, because I fully believe I must be one of them.  I know I attract them. 
     All self-depracating aside, I am amazed sometimes at the variety of people God has created and those he’s chosen to place in my life.  We’ve been at our current church almost 13 years and it seems we’ve always had at least 1 special person in our youth department.  I’m not making fun of anyone, I mean, God created them.  They are just special in ways in which others don’t always share or appreciate.  2nd man and I have started to learn to appreciate these people for the spice they add to our lives and really, the challenge sometimes to love that God calls us too.  It’s easy to love “socially acceptable” people.  But those that seem to go against the flow, well, they’re harder. Come on…admit it.
     We had one, I’ll call the boaster, several years back.  He loved to boast and brag to my husband and anyone else he could catch listening.  He was tall and loud.  The boaster especially enjoyed paintball.  2nd man generally takes the teens once a year to go paintballing.  Well, this boaster could spin a yarn about how good he was at paintballing that no reasonable man could believe.  As 2nd man put it, “if he were sitting next to someone new on the bus and telling his tales, that new person would say ‘I want him on my team!’ to which everyone else would say, ‘you can have him.’ ”  The boaster, also, would come back with tales of conquest against the youth pastor.  2nd man took it all in stride, but oooh boy he tried the patience.
      We had another, for a while, that was the singer.  This boy was itching to get up in front of the church and sing a song.  This is a great fear when nobody in the church knows a person or his testimony.  He really just wanted the attention.  However, the way he broke the news to 2nd man about wanting to sing was priceless.  2nd man was giving him a ride home one day and the boy proceeded to let him know “I can sing!”  then, without invitation, he went on to sing.  An entire song. … No pauses…  No breaths..No ability….  Every verse.  2nd man didn’t quite know what to say except, “now that’s a song.”  He was like one of those contestants on those singing shows that nobody steps up to tell them they can’t sing until they’ve made a spectacle on television.
      There was also the young woman who was a loud talker.  She would ask me (loudly during service I might add), “where’s he at? ” So I would help her find the place in the Bible that Pastor was preaching out of.  She would also answer all of pastor’s rhetoracle questions during the sermons as well as stand up and adjust her skirt in the front and center pew. 
     Right now, we have a special one too.  He puts “the boaster” to shame, he’s the ultimate big talker.  Sometimes I have to pick him up for services.  I’ve kind of made a game of picking a topic and just throwing it out.  He catches, and trumps up a story the whole 15 minutes to church. Things that couldn’t possibly be true, but he somehow seems to say it without hesitation, like it really happened.  One time, our 4 year old son asked his daddy in the car if a tornado was coming. It was raining after church and he’d just come to realize what a tornado was.  Well, big talker proceeded to “scientifically” expound to our young son how tornadoes are created and what the weather conditions must be.  To which our son responded with silence and blinking.
     I save my favorite for last.  It’s our little homeless guy.  He’s not really homeless, well not anymore.  We first met him downtown.  Our church was meeting at a local historicle theater while our new building was being built.  This guy wanders town every day.  He was homeless at the time and 2nd man’s heart was moved.  After inviting him in to worship with us many times, he finally did.  He started coming faithfully.  He’s almost every stereotype you can think of with tattered clothing, no bath in eons, missing teeth, and a shuffle when he walks.  He isn’t a drunk or on drugs though, which is a relief.  We kind of took him in as a family.  2nd man along with some of the mans family helped to get him into a house which is fairly close to where we live.  We’ve learned a lot about him through the years.  He actually gets disability checks, but for some reason doesn’t have much money sense, so he still lives and behaves like he’s homeless. He rarely uses the lights in his house, he always borrrows gas from us for his lawn mower.  He walks downtown to the local mission for his meals every day and spends afternoons at the library reading the paper.  He’s stubborn.  After attending our church in it’s new facility for a long time, we very gently asked him about cleaning up a little (truly his smell is legendary and it carries) and actually getting on the bus on time to get home. (he would sometimes hide out purposely so that 2nd man and I would have to take him home. Not really a bad thing, but it caused a lot of confusion for the bus drivers).   So in his stubborn childlikeness he has refused to come anymore.  However, he does stop by our house a few times a week for a free cup of coffee on his way to the mission shelter.  He loves the rocking chair on my front porch.  So he takes a seat, sips his coffee and fills me in on the latest news from the newspaper.  I don’t even have to get the daily paper anymore.  He’s frustrating, but we love him.
       The only bad thing about the big talker and my stubborn homeless man is that they both show up frequently on my front porch when 2nd man isn’t home so I end up being their hostess.  I can only imagine what the neighbors must think of me entertaining men on my front porch.  I’m sure some of them are at their windows trying to figure it all out.  I’ve had a few even ask about it.  I just assure them that they are harmless and just want a cup of coffee and someone to listen. 
      Many of the above mentioned are kind of weird in the world,s sense.  They lack something in their head like an inhibitor switch or something.  While most of the rest of us fight being self conscious and worrying about what others think, these people really don’t care.  They are who they are, take it or leave it.  In that sense they are weirdos.  But, as 2nd man says, “they add to the spice of life.”  Ministry wouldn’t be as interesting without them, or sometimes as challenging.  I really wouldn’t want it any other way.  They challenge me to love all of God’s creation.  Many have been deeply hurt somehow by someone.  You can just imagine Jesus reaching out to them, so we try to as well.  I won’t say I always enjoy it.  The unexpected door ringing at the most inopportune times does frustrate some days.  But without them, I wonder if I would be a total snob for Christ. I’m also challenged to realize that I’m a weirdo too, with my own stubborn ways and quirks.  I’m thankful God chose to call me to his saving knowledge, when he could have written me off as stubborn, unthankful and weird.

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10 thoughts on “Lets Hear it for the Weirdos

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