Blessed Eccentricity

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?


mbpbooks said...

Yaconelli: "The Truth shall me me odd."

Glad you're home and can't wait to read about your trip.

mbpbooks said...

oops -- the truth shall make me odd, he said.
hey, i'm in hawaii lounging around reading blogs.

Carl Hofmann said...

Doesn't "me me" capture this need to live eccentrically?! :-)

Anonymous said...

i read your blog and i hope your jet lag is over. i had the same type of jet lag when i used to come from india. i am glad that you visited so many important places in those countries connected with christianity. Love from mr. bose.

Carl Hofmann said...

Thank you for your comment and I'm honored that you read my blog! I hope you'll stay with me as I unpack stories and share some pictures on this site. Never have I appreciated my faith more--and the lovely middle daughter you have raised who I am privileged to call my wife! "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" indeed!

Love to you, Baba.