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Stay Unique

I love the idea of celebrating our uniqueness. I think it’s more important now than ever. God is the author of infinite variety, so of course it stands to reason that He made us all unique. Unfortunately, some folks only join the celebration until they feel uncomfortable. I’m not talking about sin – the Bible has very definite standards when it comes to morality. I am talking about preferences: music, politics, worship styles… topics that are not actually eternal but continue to divide us. It comes down to a basic misconception: unity and uniformity are not the same things.

Let’s talk food for a moment. I am one of those people who hates cilantro. To me, it takes like soap. Honestly, I could lick a bar of zest and get the same result. However, I realize not everyone reacts the same. Even lower on my ‘bleck’ list are oysters. They are slimy and foul, in my opinion. My husband, on the other hand, loves them in any form. Smoked, canned, raw… pretty much any way you can eat them. After so many years together we have an understanding. Go ahead and eat your oysters. Just don’t expect me to kiss you afterward!

It wasn’t that long ago that Christians were divided over things like movies, playing cards, and dancing. I didn’t grow up in the church, so I was surprised as a twenty-something newbie when I considered joining a local church and read their constitution. It specifically banned all three. When my husband and I talked to the pastor about it he said nobody bothered with that anymore, so not to worry. The denomination in question simply hadn’t updated its constitution since the 1930s. Despite his reassurances, we didn’t join that church. We still attended but couldn’t, in good conscience, pledge to abstain from things we felt were innocuous. Since then we’ve come across similar debates around alcohol. And don’t even get me started when it comes to the gifts of the spirit! Looking for a hot-button topic? Hoo-boy!

I was fortunate to be raised by a bit of a maverick, so being “unique” doesn’t scare me the way it might scare some people. My mother was quite possibly the most unique person I’ve ever known. She was an artist and free-thinker who rarely did things in a typical way. She was a hipster before that was even a thing! Our family fondly calls it “the Doreen Method”, which roughly translates to “winging it”. As a child, her flamboyance was sometimes embarrassing. I won’t go into details, but I know all about health-food-crazes/yoga-every-morning/tissue-salts-for-ailments/meditating… (the-list-goes-on). Some people thought she was crazy; others were inspired. Thankfully, her curiosity eventually led her to Jesus, and her fervent prayers dragged all five of her children into the kingdom.

I know God has a sense of humor because He continues to teach me important lessons about embracing uniqueness from the opposite end of the spectrum. As Pentecostal ministers, my husband and I embrace certain freedoms in terms of worship style and other expressions of our faith. We raised our children that way. They’ve seen it all at camp meetings and so forth, and experienced some powerful moves of God along the way. However, two of our daughters now attend what I consider to be a very conservative church. Liturgy, hymnals, and various traditional elements abound. This wasn’t how they were raised!

I think that’s the point. I have come to love and appreciate the beauty of their church’s services and the people are so genuine and caring. What more could a mother want for her children? I also have a totally new perspective on what it means to show reverence.

Perhaps that’s why God made us each unique. In embracing our differences we get a small glimpse of His infinity, and that’s not something to take lightly.

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