It's Okay to Be Weird

“You are so weird,” my classmate told me while giving me a strangely quizzical look.

I actually looked over my shoulder to see if he was talking to someone else. “Who, me? I’m weird?” I thought.

It was my sophomore (or “Yuk”) year at West Point and we were on a short break from a Combatives class.

Personally, I thought it was weird to be rolling around on the ground grappling with my fellow Cadets for no apparent reason whatsoever...So naturally, I was breaking the tension during the break by cracking jokes and sharing what (I thought) were amusing anecdotes.

Turns out: I’m just weird.

I’m not telling this story because I’m somehow deeply emotionally scarred from the incident--far from it. In fact, I still chuckle to myself every time I remember the look my classmate gave know, the kind that’s sort of like I was growing another head?

(Of course, if no one’s ever given you that particular look, you may be one of those “normal” people that I could never quite fit in with--but I still want to be your friend anyway :)

So why am I telling you this?

Well, in the many years since that incident happened I’ve only become even odder when compared to what the world views as “normal”--

And if you’re a practicing Catholic, I can tell you that you’ve probably gotten weirder too.

Do you practice NFP? Strange.

Do you pray the Rosary? Weird...Don’t you know only old ladies do that? (read: I’m being facetious….check out how much I love the Rosary HERE).

Do you actually go to Mass every Sunday? Do you seriously have nothing better to do on the weekend?

What do you mean you don’t support “abortion rights”!? How dare you tell a woman what she can or can’t do with her own body!?

Don’t tell me that you believe in only two genders and that you’re born either one or the other!? Now you’re not just weird, you’re a bigot!

The thing is, as mainstream culture has veered farther and farther away from traditional Christian values, being a devout Catholic is downright counter-cultural.

Of course, I would argue that even in the “Golden Age” of Christianity, to actually strive for holiness has always seemed a little weird. I seriously doubt that many people who knew great saints in their everyday lives would have classified them as “normal”. Even the name of the Jesuit order was a derisive one that the Jesuits embraced (“Jesuit” translates as “Jesus Freak”).

And yet so many of us are afraid of that kind of slur today.

We want all the benefits that Christ came to give us, but none of the shame. We want people to like us. We want to be accepted.

And there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with that. It’s human nature, after all, to seek safety in numbers and in groups. We weren’t meant to be alone; we are communal beings made for community.

The problem arises when the collective consciousness of the crowd is morally or ethically flawed. You may ask, “How could so many Germans stand idly by while millions were being killed in concentration camps?” And yet, how many Americans are standing idly by now while millions of unborn babies are killed via abortion today?

If you choose to take a stand on a moral or ethical issue for the sake of Christ, you will be persecuted.

Do you know how I know? Because Jesus himself said so:

“And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. ~Jesus (Matthew 10:22)”

But let’s say you don’t really get involved in social media activism or heated political debates--let’s say you’re just living a quiet life, trying to keep your head down and live your faith and raise your kids the best you can. You’re not banging down doors trying to convert anyone, you’re just doing your best to follow Christ day by day. Are you immune from persecution?

I’m sorry to say that you’re probably not. Or at least, you won’t always be.

You see, you’re very existence poses a threat to Satan and the forces of evil. You can’t expect to rest on a battlefield--and make no mistake, you are engaged in a battle every day whether you like it or not.

The good news is: You’re already guaranteed victory by Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe, for whom every knee will bend and every head will bow.

The downside: you’re super weird.

I’m cool with that. Are you?

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