ec-cen-tric-i-ty: 1. Deviation from the normal, conventional, or expected. 2.a. The quality of being eccentric. b. The degree of being off center or not concentric...
In some respects, I've spent my life striving not to be eccentric. In fact, I'll bet that most people would say I'm fairly centered, normal, conventional, even traditional. I tend to be orderly and predictable, stable and dependable. Innovative I am not. A man with a flair, not me, at least not usually. I like classic things: cotton button downs, cuffed trousers, things that fall into the tried and true categories.
Beneath all of this, I suspect, lurks a fear of the unmanageable and unpredictable. In some of my weaker moments, I am pretty change-averse, I'll admit it. I like right angles and when pictures hang straight. Messes bug me. I prize punctuality. My car may not be clean right now, but it is neat. Okay, enough confession.
As I grow in faith, I realize more and more that following Jesus Christ calls me out of my comfort zone and out of the world of Carl-in-control (which as comfortable and predictable as it may be, is nevertheless claustrophobic after a while). Following Jesus scares me, in many respects. It forces me to open up my clenched fists, white-knuckling my little life, and live into a world where he is Lord, a world which is often messy and unpredictable, full of obtuse angles and unexpected surprises. I dread this--and I desperately long for it. For in the end, I think that Carl-in-control is a persona, not a person, a construct that through nature somewhat, but nurture mostly, is a false idol who's erected a little kingdom and mistaken it too often for the kingdom of God. Does this make sense?
Our trip to the Holy Land next week pulls me off center and out of the little orbit that is my normal life. It stretches me to remember that Jesus is in control, that his kingdom is global, and that what he requires of me is trust in him and love for God and others.
Eccentric literally means off-center or out of the center. In the last analysis, discipleship means living Christocentrically, with Christ at the center calling the shots, not me. That's easy to forget. And being religious is no substitute for the bold trust of living eccentrically. It's not easy this eccentric life, is it? What are your thoughts?