I appeal to you therefore, siblings, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds. – Romans 12:1-2 excerpt (NRSV)
The first words out of my daughter’s mouth that morning were, “I get to wear my witchy hat to school, Daddy!”
It was Spirit Week, and today was Hat Day. She had chosen one that was bright blue, covered in gold stars, and almost half as tall as she was.
It was adorable. It made her beam with unadulterated joy. And I knew I had to find some way to talk her out of it.
Because I knew that, when she arrived at school that day proudly cosplaying Disney’s Fantasia, she would find every other student wearing a baseball cap. It was going to be brutal.
As a Christian, I know I’m called to stand out. To be salt and light. But it’s no coincidence that just before Jesus sings, “Hide it under a bushel? No!” they say, “Blessed are you when people revile and persecute you.” And Paul’s instruction to not be conformed comes right on the heels of “present yourself as a living sacrifice.”
There’s always a cost to being weird. I didn’t want my daughter to have to pay it.
But then I thought of all the times I was too afraid to wear my witchy hat, to be salty, to let my little light shine. All the times I put on a baseball cap and pretended to be normal.
What was the cost of that?
And if we have to pay either way, why not pay to become the people God made us to be?
Strange One, give me the courage to wear my witchy hat.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.