I Love my Misfit Friends

First Posted 14-Apr-2015

Listen, them that are trash talking you because you are different don’t know their history. The popular kids are the ones that end up holding signs on street corners because they had it good and when things got hard they lost it. You who are a swan among ducks just haven’t figured out that you do have gifts. Remember that any successful person will have opposition. They crucified Christ, remember?

Viva la Misfit“. Yes indeedy. If you are rich you have your wealth to protect. If you live off your land it brings enough trouble that you don’t have time for carrying a protest sign down a city street or holding a prayer vigil in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic. If you are not well rooted in the status quo then you are also not well invested in maintaining it. We malcontented are not well rooted in the status quo. It makes no never mind to us if it’s upset or not.

It’s an itch that has never stopped tickling the fancy of my kin. We should just tear it all down and start over. Our messiah was a disappointment to his people because he didn’t foment a revolution that ended Roman governance over Israel. He infuriated the church of his day by saying the kingdom had come in the hearts of the people of God. The itch to just start over is chronic. My ancestors came here seeking virgin ground on which to create their Utopia. They saw themselves as the Israelites crossing the Red Sea to the Promised Land. If they could start from nothing they could make it perfect. Ten generations later, it is far from perfect.

Those that do scratch the itch tend to be socially mobile. We tend to be from middle-class or upper-middle-class families. We are largely college educated. We can afford to shit on the apples from the cart we pushed over. There be unintended consequences but because of our privilege we are insulated from the worst of it. Others will come behind us, repair the cart, wash the apples and sell most, giving some of the apples to those who can’t afford them. A family farmer will typically be more worried about his apple trees than inventing a new way of governance to manage his crop. The scorched earth idea, the itch to blow away everything is one that finds its most comfortable home in privilege.

You know, your iPhone won’t work when the untelevised revolution comes. The power will be out. There will not be water from the faucet. Your toilets will stop working. Food will become scarce. The third world will look on bemused because this is how they live. As they look they’ll go back to their gardens and break the neck of a chicken because probably hungry kin will be home soon.

The blowhards that made all that noise before the power went out about how they can do it better, that history is a trail of tears best left forgotten, will find out soon enough that some of the old answers don’t have better answers. As brilliant any leader might be, he has to eat and that will mean dirty dishes to wash. After a year somebody has to dig a new hole for the outhouse. Think about it. I know, right?

There are always dishes. There is always laundry. Somebody has to cook. The grass needs to be cut, the garden tended, the carpets vacuumed, the bathroom & kitchen cleaned, groceries made, gutters cleaned . . . there is plenty to do even if you are some brilliant community organizer who gives inspiring speeches. You may be wonderful on Sunday morning, bringing countless souls to Cheeeezus. That doesn’t give you a pass on making your bed each morning. Add children to this picture and the chore list just gets longer. Malcontented brat or not, the diaper doesn’t get auto-magically less stinky. The kid(s) still need things done for them. All of us share a burden of work that is fairly universal. It matters not whether you are President or a dishwasher.

Empires fall. Democracies tend to last a couple centuries at the outside before they collapse. The Israelites in the times of the judges cried out for a king and got Saul. Stiff necked people that they were, it wasn’t the perfect answer. Some kings can be good. For every good king there are far more that are bad and become dead kings. The itch for a more perfect, utopian nation through revolution sticks around like herpes.

This country is a revolution started by people who believed utopia was both possible and worth doing. Our god is a martyred Nazarene carpenter whose death was one of the straws that broke the back of the Roman Empire. Our forefathers shook off the colonial rule of the British Empire. Every four years we change leadership without bloody revolution. We innovated in ten-thousand ways methods of doing the needful. We still innovate. It is our constant work to find better ways to do things that makes us strong. There are tons of folk like my three friends who do the research, invent and implement better ways. The revolution continues, though maybe not in the dramatic and bloody way it is happening in other parts of the world.

Our god disrupts. He loves the unloved, throws wedding banquets for slaves and beggars, rises from the grave and though dead, his followers infect the Roman Empire with a disease that eventually gets Constantine and over time, helps end it. His faith, his Way is absurd. He tells a rich man that a camel would have an easier time passing through the eye of a needle than a wealthy man would entering the kingdom of heaven. Aubrey in her post is encouraging the odd ones, the outliers, the ugly ducks who don’t know they are swans, us, hot messes like me, to have faith in Jesus and not in the haters in this world. Empires come and go. Rulers rule and one day, die. Democracies rise and have their dynasty. Misfits remain and get the dishes done. Time and God are on our side.