I've always loved it.
When I was a kid my favorite stuffed animals were a dalmatian and a unicorn. They were married and, of course, best friends with the barbies. Because spots vs plain were of no importance, neither was two legs vs four.
My favorite quotes had to do with standing out and being different.
I love anything that screams self expression.
I never wanted to be a part of a crowd, and when I was I was searching for ways to not be like everyone else. I wanted to be diverse. To be different.
And the longer I live, the more people and places I get to know, the more I love it.
I went to an open mic night last week that spoke to this part of my soul. I walked in and there were paintings covering the whole interior of this venue, with no continuity other than that it was art.
The open mic night was introduced with the same message: "There are no regulations; if you can play, play. It doesn't need to be a specific genre."
My friend and I walked out and she said "I don't get this place. There's Doctor Who over here and then that," pointing to the other sections of paintings.
That's when it hit me. "This is what the church should be."
There are no rules or regulations for dress, for genre, for life style. Come in as you are, give what you have, enjoy everyone else as they are. No judgements, no expectations. The music was enjoyed because it was good, not because it fit a certain criteria.
What if when we walked in to church that's what we got? A mix of people from all places and stages of life. Hipsters and punks and grandmas and young families and skaters and potheads and business men and musicians and students. What if churches didn't aim to please the people, but instead focused on walking towards Jesus together? What if I didn't have to wash my colors off to walk in the door?
That's how I feel in Christian circles so often. Ephesians tells me I'm a "masterpiece". I was doodling that word the other day and I drew a puzzle piece next to it. The next day I walked to school and there were puzzle pieces scattered on the sidewalk on my way, as though God was reminding me "Megan, you're a piece of my puzzle. And you're magnificent, a masterpiece."
But when I think of the church, I don't see the beauty of hundreds of pieces that come together to make a beautiful picture. I see white. A giant white puzzle. As though we somewhere along the way decided that we had to shed what makes us unique to become a Christian. We have to do this and not to that and line up perfectly with this idea of the perfect Christian, who is not Jesus by the way.
No. To be a good Christian I can't cuss (or flip tables) I can't drink (turn water into wine?) I can't hang out with the wrong crowd (sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors). I must go to all Bible studies. I must raise my hands in worship. I must attend every weekend. I must.
And so here we are. All white. All matching. All 'perfect'. ... All boring. And dare I say, maybe a little dry, a little empty.
I don't know about you, but I think there's more to this relationship than that. I think God gave me my colors because he wanted me to have them. He didn't give them to me so they could be stripped when I met Him. No. I think He enhances them. I don't lose myself when I get to know Him, I become more of myself. More who He created me to be. This relationship we have, it's not going to look like cookie-cutter Christianity because I am created unique. And the way that I understand and communicate with God is unique to me and the way I am made. The beautiful thing is that I will never fully grasp who He is. He's bigger than me. But he's given me you to help. Because the way you understand and communicate with God is unique to you, and when you share that with me and I with you we both come away with a greater understanding and knowledge of who He is. And add another person in there, it's even greater. That is how the Body of Christ should be!
That is how the puzzle becomes a beautiful picture of who God is. As we all individually follow Christ and His call on our lives, we are sharing with each other and learning together for a more complete picture of who God is. That is the beauty that we could be. That is the beauty I long for.
So let's agree today; no more pretending or hiding behind white or doing something because "a good Christian would". Let your colors shine. Let people see you. You're a masterpiece. Why not share your beauty with the rest of us. Be courageous and inspire others to do the same. You were made for more. Live it with me today.