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Life as an outsider

We have outside cats and inside dogs. We love the dogs more. We used to have an outside dog named Abby. Life as an outsider was harsh. The winters were cold. Inside, dogs were getting fed and sitting on laps. The outsider, Abby, had to fight the elements.   Most of my life I’ve been an ou…
By Seth Barnes
We have outside cats and inside dogs. We love the dogs more. We used to have an outside dog named Abby. Life as an outsider was harsh. The winters were cold. Inside, dogs were getting fed and sitting on laps. The outsider, Abby, had to fight the elements.
 
Most of my life I’ve been an outsider. Not that I feel rejection because of my outsider status. I’m an iconoclast by nature – I don’t buy into the status quo. I’m probably not going to join your club. And if you don’t invite me to your party, I’m probably not going to be offended.
 
The luxury I enjoy as an outsider is that I rarely struggle with people-pleasing. I don’t get depressed because I’m not a part of the “in group.”
 
The bummer of being an outsider is that, like any human being, I still have an inward need to belong to something. Not belonging is not an option. I care about what my friends and family think about me. In fact, I want to dive very deep with them and have nothing artificial in our relationship.
 
Consider what we know about outsiders:
  • They look and act different than the group.
  • Depending on how exclusive the group may be, they may be picked on by the group.
  • Groups that prize diversity need outsiders.
  • Groups that want to grow need outsiders.
  • Jesus was an outsider.
  • We are born as outsiders from the kingdom of God.
A lot of people feel like outsiders at work and too many at church. Many churches try to fix this by inserting a “shake-the-strangers-hand” time in their service. This is my least favorite time of most church services – I smile awkwardly at the people who smile at me but don’t take the time to learn my name or greet me when I enter the service. It’s a time when I especially am reminded of my outsider status. It feels phony and I don’t do phony.
 
The irony about Jesus is that he came as an outsider to make us insiders. Everyone wants to belong to the kingdom of God, but we’re born as captives of a dark kingdom. Somebody had to crash the gates and set us free. When Jesus did that, it was incredibly heroic.
 
Where do you belong? Do you mostly feel like an outsider or an insider? What would it take to be an insider?

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