Unorthodox [uhn-awr-thuh-doks] : not conforming to rules, traditions, or modes of conduct, as of a doctrine, religion, or philosophy
It means you are different – you aren’t like the rest of the world.
My whole life I’ve felt unorthodox. Sure growing up I might not have had the vocabulary to call myself Unorthodox – I would have called myself – freak, outsider, loner, criminal, thug, not like you. You ever felt like that?
For the longest time I thought it was wrong to not be like the crowd. I tried so hard to change the fact I was different. I tried to blend in, to act appropriately, and to be just like everyone else. But the more I tried to change to fit in the more I hated how I felt – fake and inauthentic. So I ended up fitting into a crowd I didn’t like and hating who I’d become.
Then it hit me, “Maybe I wasn’t the wrong one. Maybe the rest of the world was wrong.” So I made a choice to stand out and be proud of being different, ugly and angry.
But at 19 years old something happened that changed me forever – I met Jesus. At first I felt great, I felt new and accepted. But those feelings faded quickly and soon I felt like I didn’t fit in with the church crowd, I didn’t fit in the clean cut Christian crowd. So I figured I must not be cut out to be a follower of Jesus.
About this same time I came across one little verse that gave me freedom.
Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
This little verse helped me see that Jesus didn’t tell me to come to church, but come to him. He didn’t want me to look good, clean myself up and be presentable so I can fit into a church. No he said if you are tired, burdened, beat up, outcast and alone… come to me.
This spun my idea of Jesus. Before this I saw Jesus through the eyes of a church culture a culture that said I needed to be a certain way or do certain things and then come to Jesus. But this reminded me that Jesus wants me just as I am, no matter how messed up I was.
This got me thinking of who Jesus spent time with and who God used to get things done. And time and time again God used messed up, outcast, misfits that were Unorthodox. Guys like John the Baptist…
Matthew 3:1, “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”
John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
John is not your typical pastor. He wasn’t dressed up fancy, he wasn’t highly respected, he wore a dead camel and ate bugs. Today he would be considered the homeless guy with the “We are all going to die” sign walking the streets. Not the guy you think would be representing God. But even being a social outcast he was willing to speak about God and people listened – not because John was special but because he spoke the truth about God.
I don’t know about you but I still feel out of place in most church situations. Even at the church I work at, that I know and love the people there I still feel a little out of place. I’ve walked into churches and was met by security, not the greeters, but the guys with the badges. I know how I look and I know I don’t always fit in. But you know the greatest thing is I am not supposed to be like them. I am supposed to stick out, to be different, to be Unorthodox, but I am supposed to do it for God.
Another fun verse that gets me excited about being different is John 15:18:
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
Jesus is saying the world hated him, so why do you think they wont hate you and me? At least now I’ll be hated for doing the right thing for God instead of stupid selfish stuff I used to do for me.
The reason I am starting the Unorthodox Man podcast is because I know there are men just like me who are looking for others that feel the way they do. This is for the Christian who doesn’t feel like they fit in. This is for the man who knows he needs Jesus, but hasn’t had a good experience with church. This is for the man who might not believe in Jesus or God or have any faith, but you got questions. This is a place that no matter where you are from, what you’ve done or what’s been done to you – you can come and be part of the brotherhood of outsiders.
I am not sure where this goes but I want to start right here, and right now, as a call to the Unorthodox – stand out, stand proud, be Unorthodox.