I drive a truck. It’s actually a hybrid of sorts; one with two full rows of seats and a shorter-than-normal bed length. People who drive “real” trucks snicker when I drive by. I can tell what they’re thinking by the amused looks on their faces: That ain’t a real truck! Well, to me it’s a real truck. There are other people who have said to me, You don’t look like a truck person. My response is normally the same: “What does a truck person look like?” I’m guessing they mean that people of Scottish descent aren’t a truck driving lot. My people ride horses, paint their faces blue, wear kilts and go to war with the imperial Brits… or play a lot of golf. I’m sticking with my truck. I’m allergic to horses.
Contrary to public opinion and practice, scripture counsels us to excel in our uniqueness. We were created as individuals, not as an amalgamation of the corporate whole. This reality provides us the ability to break away from the natural drift to sameness. The gravitational-like pull toward a corporate commonality is not at all scriptural. Was Paul one of his generation’s eager average? James? Peter? No, none of these people seemed content to settle for average, nor did they chose the easiest route through which to navigate life. They stood for something that transcends all cultural norms. History demonstrates that these stances are often lonely and from time to time end with a violent death. It happened to these guys. They lived for something and they died for something. They lived; they died; they raised the bar.
I surmise from this that it is O.K. to be unique. Uniqueness is a major step in the direction of having the inner-strength to take a stand and to not fear the trivial consequences. Please don’t get hung up on the use of trivial. If we are honest we can admit that before one is prepared to die for their convictions one must first be able to withstand being insulted or shunned. Humanity seems to crave the company of people who float along and never rock a boat of any type. Rocking boats is best left to the odd and unique types. Taking a seat is generally preferred to taking a stand.
If you love and follow Jesus you are asked to take stands, merge away from the cultural template; while, remaining firmly attached to culture. It’s a conundrum of epic proportions. We work to be different while remaining in the midst of jillions of people who haven’t yet located their ability to be different. Jesus is the answer for their malady and we are the conduit for the remedy. We could run off with our own kind and dance around celebrating our uniqueness; although, sooner or later our uniqueness would fade. We would simply become a corporate lot that dances around and celebrates excessively. We must be different within the larger scope of humanity. It isn’t easy; it’s often lonely; and people have died for their efforts. Jesus never said it would be easy. Therefore, we must entertain this question from time to time: Is my difference showing? It really is the difference between life and death.