“That’s weird.” During college, I worked at a warehouse, and “that’s weird” was common in daily conversations. Typically, it would be directed at me. Yes, I’m weird. But what is the content of “weird.” The content matters. This was often said because of something I claimed to believe in or how Christianity impacted what I valued or how I lived. In that case, I am okay with the phrase being employed – so long as what I believe and how I live reflects Scripture. But this idea of “weird” is beneficial for us to think about as Christians living in a post-cultural-Christian society. I want to examine two helpful concepts when thinking through this: first, what is called common grace, and second what is referred to as antithesis. While these may be new terms, the meaning is pretty simple.
Don’t Be Weird in This Way – The Blessing of Common Grace
Common grace is that which God gives to all people. It emphasizes a common goodness that we share with all people. It also refers to God’s benevolent love to all people. Scripture talks about how God sends rain for the good of the just and unjust (Matthew 5:45). This is God’s gracious care for all people. With that, each person also has gifts and abilities that benefit society. For Christians, we can benefit from Christians and non-Christians alike because of common grace. This could range from benefitting from others’ creativity to the wisdom of basic hygiene. Rejecting the common grace in others in this way would be the wrong kind of weird.
God also works through good structures that benefit others. Organization, for instance, is a good that all can embrace. In 1 Corinthians, Paul instructs the church not to be chaotic in their worship so that outsiders aren’t freaked out (a pretty heavy paraphrase, but the point is there!). Being disorganized merely to be different from the world isn’t a virtue; it’s just chaos. Finding and appreciating the good structures and truths in this world is a way we can reflect the good God who designed them that way.
Be Weird in This Way – The Necessity of Antithesis
But there is a good kind of different. We see this contrast throughout the pages of Scripture, even immediately after the fall in Genesis 3. We see a contrast between the serpent’s seed and the woman’s seed. We see this contrast played out throughout the pages of Scripture between the blessed and wicked in the book of Psalms. And with those who belong to God and those who belong to their father the devil (John 8:44).
The contrast emphasizes the difference between those who follow after the pattern of the world and those who follow after God. It is one of allegiances and lordship. Who is King? For Christians, this is the good kind of different. We get our marching orders from someone greater than anything here on earth. We follow after the King of Kings. That will put us at odds with things in this world from time to time. That’s okay. This is the good kind of weird – the kind that reflects our Creator and Redeemer.
What about you?
Christians are set apart. But it is not enough merely to be set apart. We are set apart to holiness, to a different way of living. There will be a lot of similarities that we have with non-Christians. We can enjoy the same food, watch the same games, and dress alike. But there are differences as well. Christians bow their knee to King Jesus, and that leads to the good kind of different.