Jonny Baker has some good thoughts on the gift of not fitting in, which is an interesting turn of phrase of itself. And as anyone who has this particular “gift” will know, it often feels more like a curse than a gift. This “not fitting in” describes more than simply those who are “different,” the non-conformists conspicuous for their external similarities. What makes these people not fit in is far more fundamental — it’s a way of thinking, an outlook. The thing that makes them not fit is that they look at things as everyone accepts them to be, and they not only ask why they are this way, but why everyone accepts them to be this way. In asking the question and beginning to imagine an answer, they begin to imagine an alternative, and to see a way to change. Sometimes they even begin living according to the alternative way, clashing in the process with the accepted way of things.
there are lots of artists, prophets, creatives, entrepreneurs, and change agents for whom this is true and it is why they are able to do what they do. cultures need people that don’t fit – it’s how things get moved on when they get stuck. i have been reminded of it on this trip to the US as i have met a number of people for whom that statement could be said both in okc and austin. and they are amazing gifted wonderful people. and guess what – the institutional church really doesn’t get it or them too well!
It all has that eerie ring of the truth about it, doesn’t it? Of course, I fit into this pattern myself. If I consider the many times when I’ve met with opposition of various kinds, it is more often than not a symptom of this difference. Of course, I’m not so special in this respect — there are many who are a part of this tribe, and their numbers are growing. They are beginning to reimagine the way things are, and the momentum toward change is growing. This is of course what is meant by the emergence of the church from the way that it was into the new thing it is becoming.