Tuesday, December 13, 2016

In Defense of the Weird

Editor's Note: This post is from TJ Birnbaum. You can find TJ on Twitter @Noodle_45.


Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about Catholic teaching, and I’ve come to one, single conclusion:
Catholicism is weird. 
For context , this is coming from a college student whose interests include astronomy, Saint Augustine, and heavy metal, so I guess I’m kind of weird (or so I've been told). Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re weird, too (or maybe you’re even weirder, in which case I applaud you, weirdo). 
I find the weirdness of Catholicism to be very fascinating, since a good amount of criticism that I hear about the Catholic faith is that it just seems too weird. If everyone holds the view that Catholicism is weird, then we should all be on the same side. Except we aren't. The explanation for this can be seen when looking at the connotations of "weird." The difference between my view and society’s is that society seems to believe that weirdness is inherently wrong, while I see the weirdness of Catholicism to be good, as it is the result of the truth we hold.
Let me explain.
To find where the weirdness of Catholicism starts, we must look back to the beginning, with someone who went by the name of Jesus (you might have heard of Him). Jesus, if you didn’t already know, said and did some weird things during His time here on Earth. In case you’ve forgotten, here are some highlights:
Speaking entirely in plant metaphors. (Mark 4)
Casually strolling across a stormy lake. (John 6)
Accurately predicting His death…three times. (Mark 8 ,9, 10)
Cursing a fig tree, then proceeding to flip merchandise tables. (Mark 11)
All of these things were either said or done by Jesus, and were then documented in Sacred Scripture. These events, of course, go to explain why Catholics sometimes seem so dang weird to everyone else.
And that’s just the point.
See, today, it seems that people have a problem with “weird.” Society as a whole wants normal and average. Upholding the status quo appears to be the only motive behind what the world holds as true, and advancement is reliant upon the upholding of the mainstream. This means that society has an issue with Catholics, because, as I’ve been stating throughout this whole passage, we are quite weird. The problem with society’s view is that the truth, more often than not, is strange. Really strange. Even outside of spiritual truth, reality can be hard to accept. We live in a universe that, as confirmed by scientists at Johns Hopkins, is a shade of beige referred to as “Cosmic Latte.”
Yes, you read that right. “Cosmic Latte.”
In the same way, the truth that is present in Jesus Christ is also quite weird. And that’s kind of the whole point. Jesus didn’t come to continue the mainstream and the average. He came to break the mold and to show us the Truth, the Way, and the Life. He came to show us the way to the Father. He came to show us His truth, as weird as it may have sounded when he said it.
So, as Catholics, it is our mission to continue in our weird way. We contain in our faith the wholeness of truth, and we are called to be uncompromising in our following of it. If we are to live as Jesus commanded us to, we must follow His way of life. We must be weird.
This will cause society to push us aside, and will continue the criticism that Catholicism is just too strange. We must continue on our way, and we must be okay with look as though we’re off our rocker. I’m glad to look crazy if it means I get to share in the fullness of truth with the one and only Jesus Christ.
Stay weird, friends.

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