Friday, February 5, 2010

Flat Stanley and Other Two-Dimensional People.

Alternately titled: Square Peg, Round Hole.

Each year the Music Pastor at my church likes to sit down and have an interview with the members of the choir and orchestra. My interview was tonight. It went well. It's not like an interview for a job, more like a how are you doing, what's going on in your life and are we on the same mission, kind of thing. Relaxed. Enjoyable.

Ahem. Until he asked the unanswerable question, at least not one I could answer without lots of thought.

The background: From the time I was 6 years old I've attended this church. It's large. It's steeped in tradition. It's Biblically strong. I love to worship there. I love the people. I hurt when things happen there that shouldn't happen in churches. And I rejoice when victories are won.

The question: It came about almost in a moment of surprise. "Really, you've gone here for 34 years?" Yes. "Wow! 34 years." Yep. "So, here's an odd question for you... why aren't you a DFC* person?" He explained that he could usually tell people who have been around this church for more than 20 years. Truly, they have a staunch, ingrained kind of loyalty to them that looks and feels a certain way. I know what he's talking about, and it's not me. I'm not a DFCer in that sense. And I think it's quite possibly the greatest compliment I've ever gotten.

*DFC is the initials by which our church identifies itself.

I have pink hair, well, I did until it washed out. I hope to have purple hair again soon. I'm much more charismatic in worship than the typical DFCer, ie. the raising of hands, dancing, swaying to the music. And honestly, I'm not nearly as free in worship as I want to be, but I try to be real. I would probably fit in better in a church like Heart of Mercy Church of the Nazarene in Orlando, FL. ;) (it's a black congregation!)

Why? Why am I not the typical DFCer? What is it that prevents me from fitting into that mold?

First there's the obvious... I don't like to fit into molds, as my blog title even announces. I'm pretty comfortable in the skin I'm in. I may be shy and lack confidence in some areas, but take me or leave me, I am who I am.

What you might not see from the outside, but it wouldn't take you long to discover when getting to know me, is that I have an incredible, deep, unshakable faith in God. My world may crumble around me, yet I will trust in the Creator of the Universe. My walk may be is definitely less than perfect, but I know who God is, and I love Him with the whole of who I am.

The rest of the answer to the question lies in the perception of Flat Stanley and his wife Flat Robin. We are dimensional people. Scientists have discovered, or think they've discovered 11 dimensions in the universe. Since you cannot create something greater than yourself, that means the God that created the universe is at least 12 dimensional, though, more likely He's infinitely dimensional. Another thing about dimensions is that you cannot comprehend anything beyond your own dimension, know it exists, yes, comprehend it, no.

So, I'm a 4 dimensional person (3 dimensions + time), and I create this flat world where Flat Stanley and Flat Robin live. They know me as their creator. Being flat, they cannot hear my voice or see me (they are flat, vision and hearing require 3 dimensions), they only know me by how I interact with them personally. I decide that I will only touch Flat Stanley with one finger, and he begins to know me as an oval. Flat Robin I touch with 3 fingers and she begins to know me as 3 ovals. Flat Stanley and Flat Robin could argue forever and a day about their creator's touch. He would say I'm one oval. She would say I'm 3 ovals. And they would both be completely right and completely wrong. Whereas they know my touch and the information I've given them, they cannot fathom how much more to me there is than just an oval or three. Their perception is totally based on how I have chosen to interact with them in their dimension.

So, back to DFC and me. Flat Stanley and Flat Robin have taught me that I cannot define who God is merely by the way that He has chosen to interact with me. Let me be clear here and say, that I am NOT talking about all religions being acceptable ways to find God. I believe in absolutes. God's word says there is only one way to him, belief in Jesus Christ his son. I hold to the Word of God, the Bible as the absolute Truth. I firmly believe in the precepts found in the Apostle's Creed. Within that context, God reveals himself to each person as He sees fit, and reveals Himself more throughout the course of His relationship to each person.

DFC is a church with certain beliefs, and those beliefs closely match (though not totally) my own, hence the reason I choose to worship there. But my church is not the only church. The congregation is not the only congregation. And God reveals Himself there in our corporate worship, but this is not the only place He reveals Himself. Beyond the building, beyond the people that attend here, there is God. He's so much more than I can comprehend. I can't put Him in a DFC shaped box. He's a miracle-working, mountain-moving, awe-inspiring, life-changing, star-breathing, gasp-giving God. (that phrase borrowed [italics mine] from Linny at A Place Called Simplicity)

Honestly, I don't know what makes the DFCers be DFCers. But I know that pastors, youth leaders, staff, members, classes, programs, music, decor, potholes in the parking lot, they all come and go. Change happens. But one thing is constant. God. I'll let Him be God and I'll continue to be me, square peg, round hole.