Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Safe vs. Misfits

...'the next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your
friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people
who will return the favor.
Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits
from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be–and experience–a blessing.

Luke 14:12-13 (The Message)

It’s comfortable living in a religious bubble, socially. Within its confines everyone "fits" theologically with people that "look" familiar in an environment that "feels" good. Settling into this cozy spiritual cocoon one is tempted to believe that all that is needed is provided. And above all, one feels "safe". There is no one to disrupt this comfortable spiritual existence.

It is a luxury to be able to choose "safe", like-minded friends. My own social religious bubble popped while living in a small, alternative life-style community several years ago. Very few people "looked" like me! Frantically casting about for someone who "fit" I found myself empty handed. Then I began to open myself to the "misfits" that lived in our community. Friends became individuals that absolutely would not have crossed my path if we had been living in a more populated area. My life, however, was richer for their "misfit" involvement.

Jesus didn’t seek out "safe" people. He intentionally looked for the "misfits" in the community. While others attempted to blow a protective religious bubble around him, he’d burst it every time. Jesus wanted to talk, eat, socialize with the people who didn’t "fit." What difference would he have made if he had stuck with people who thought like him?

For every time you invite a "safe" friend over think about the "misfit", the individual who doesn’t "fit" you that could be invited as well. You’ll be–and experience–a blessing.

Jesus, I want to live like You lived, outside the bubble.
Help me to stop looking at who "fits" with me, looking instead for unexpected friends.

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