Even in church communities, many people feel like they just don't fit in. As author Marcia Ford says, "all believers are strangers in a strange land— some are just stranger than others. That would be my friends and me." But despite the quirkiness that may set us apart, Ford says we have a good model in Jesus who was much of a "misfit" himself. In fact, God often reaches out to misfits and reminds them that he cares.
Ford is a former religion editor for the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, associate editor of Charisma magazine, and editor of Christian Retailing. She has written seven books, including Memoir of a Misfit: Finding My Place in the Family of God (Jossey-Bass).
What's the moral of the story in Memoir of a Misfit?
The moral is that misfits have hope. They have the hope that they can live as productive people in society and in the church, and that they can see that God had such love for them when he made them exactly the way that they are. They can embrace and enjoy who they are, with all their eccentricities and quirkiness intact.
You say your own quirkiness began with your family. How so?
We would always walk down the street in single file so that other families could walk by us intact. We were very eccentric in a low-life sort of way, and people just always looked at us funny. So I always thought, "Well, it's my family's fault."
[When I was ten,] I went to Camp Malaga and there was a measles outbreak, forcing us to leave camp early. Being so eccentric, my family didn't have a phone. A stranger had to take me home. I burst through the door and I run into the living room. I stop dead in my tracks. I'm in a roomful of strangers and strange furniture.
It's my house, but it's not my people. Someone looks at me and says, "Well, ...1
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