Monday, May 30, 2011

Flypaper for Freaks

Yes, it actually says
"Jesus is my Homeboy"

Maid Elizabeth used to work at our local grocery store as a cashier.  She got up every morning, braided or put up her hair, washed her face, took her vitamins and had a cup of tea.  She carefully selected her clothes so that she always looked tidy and pleasant.  She made sure she brushed her teeth and rubbed lovely smelling lotion into her hands.  She took care of her appearance.  Although not showy, she always looked nice, well rested and happy.

One day, after a particularly trying day on the job she came home, plopped in a chair and said "Mom, I am flypaper for freaks!"  "What on earth are you talking about?" I said, somewhat amused by her assessment.  "All of the freaks go through my line", she said.  "If they smell bad, are drunk, are obviously high or any combination of those things - if they are Gothic, tattooed or pierced, they wait to go through my line.  The other checkers could be doing nothing at all, and they will wait anyway - just to go through my line!  What is wrong with me!?!"  I looked at my sweet girl for a moment and then it struck me - they went through her line because she offered them something that they didn't have.  She offered them hope.  She was different.  By being set apart, she drew people in.

It is an interesting study in Christianity to see our churches in action.  The more worldly the world becomes, the more worldly the church becomes.  The Church has become a product of the world instead of the world being transformed by the Church.  Rather than following the biblical mandate of fathers and mothers teaching their children and ministering to their families, the church now encourages families to be separated by Sunday School, Children's Church and Youth Group.  No longer are Christians "in the world but not of the world", they are "relevant" by becoming active participants in the culture of the world.  We now have "Christian" youth covered in tattoos, pierced in every conceivable location and wearing clothing that leaves nothing to the imagination.  And then we wonder why we are losing the battle for the lost souls in our neighborhoods, our counties and our nation.  What are we offering those lost souls?  We are offering them nothing.  Nothing but what the world has already offered them. We are letting them die in their sin because we are too weak to be set apart.  We want so badly to be relevant that we are impotent.

The truth of the matter is that you wouldn't seek mechanical advice from a mechanic whose yard is littered with dead cars.  You wouldn't ask an overweight friend how to be victorious in weight loss.  You wouldn't ask the parents of a juvenile delinquent how to raise your children to be honorable, productive members of society.  And you wouldn't ask the "christian" sitting next to you, with all of the "markers" of a lost world, the way to eternal life.

I know that you can't judge a book by the cover, however, the cover is what really draws us in.  When we litter our bodies with anti-social messages, how can we expect people to just ignore that and get to know our "inner-self"?  We can't.  When people are hurting and lost, they look for a ray of hope. They look for something different than what they already have.  It used to be that they would look to Christians, because Christians had something to offer.  Now, in our quest to be relevant and accepted, we have lost our light.  No longer can people see our Christianity because we have covered it in the cloak of the world.

God called for us to a peculiar people, set apart.  Peculiar has nothing to do with looking like the world.  Peculiar means just what it implies.  Peculiar.  Different.  Not normal.  Set apart.  Godly.  Being peculiar doesn't push people away, it draws them in a way that nothing else can.  Being peculiar means that you will become flypaper for freaks.

Maid Elizabeth, armed with a new understanding of her role, embraced her freaks.  Every day, she would show the love of Jesus to a hurting people.  She would carefully dress and prepare to be peculiar.  She would be ready with an answer when people would ask if she was Amish or something.  She would grin and say, "Yes, I am" when people would refer to her as "church girl".  She would look each person in they eye, smile at them and tell them to have a wonderful day.  She is now a very sought after personage to all of the local drunks.  They light up when they see her!  They consider her theirs and brag about her to anyone who will listen.  And guess what?  Right before she left for her trip to the Philippines, one of her "special people" took her aside and said "You're never going to believe this, but I am going to church for the first time in 24 years!"

People sought Maid Elizabeth out because she was different.  As Christians we really do need to be Flypaper for Freaks!


  1. That is so awesome!! What a great analogy of what it means to be in the world but not of the world.

  2. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing that and helping me to keep a proper perspective.

  3. I enjoyed this post very much. Well I enjoy all of your posts. And my motherly instinct tells me your missing your girl. ;)

  4. My wife just stared at me as I read your post to her, as I'm now accustomed to doing since discovering your wonderful blog last week. She said "are you sure you didn't have a part in writing this?" I've been preaching this for years ever since essentially getting fed up with what you just described in Bible College where they taught us to assimilate-for Jesus (and how to run the different functions for the different age groups). To the Contrary, I've found just as you've found- when I'm loving my wife and raising happy kids people ask questions. Good for your girl to discover this early. Good for her mom for getting her to wear her "weirdness" like a badge.

  5. You absolutely nailed it! Thank you for raising up your kids to "get it"...I love your blog, check it daily for new posts, and now the Scarlet thread as well...But this post, my friend...was great.
    Too many, I am afraid wear their "christianity" as a badge and forget they are supposed to BE something, to DO something, to simply Love...

    It is amazing how hard it is for some to be unjudgemental and kind and loving to the freaks. Wonderful analogy..bring on the flypaper...

  6. What a wonderful post!!! Thanks for sharing! :D--S

  7. What a wonderfully insightful post. Thank you.

  8. I hope Maid Elizabeth doesn't mind if I borrow her phrase "flypaper for freaks" (giving her full credit for it, of course) when I speak to my family. They always wonder why so many "odd" people who talk to me when we're out and about. Maybe I wear my flypaper on my sleeve? That must be it.

    Enola, that was a great post. You truly are a wise woman. Maid Elizabeth has a wonderful role model in you.

    NoCal Gal

  9. Thank you for the wonderful post. I was crying when done with it. Your daughter is not the only fly paper..and I dont consider my self a freak. Just a lost sheep afraid to come home without my husband. Thank you for being a light.

  10. Such a great post! More people need to just BE a light onto this world (as opposed to throwing out sayings, images etc) My mum often taught me 'you attract more flies with honey' Why be rude, or stand-offish to those you disagree with? Why would they ever change or see your point if they don't like you or what you represent? If they're attracted to your calm pleasant, peaceful nature, they'll be curious to find out how to duplicate that in themselves!

    Love your posts! Wish I was around for a tea one day (i'd have to bring coffee :-) ) but I'll have to settle for cyber-tea

  11. What a wonderful testimony you and your family are!!

    “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” -St. Francis of Assisi

    Cindy in TX

  12. The Lord has blessed you and your family in many ways. Thank you for an inspiring post!

  13. great commentary. people are dying In the World, Looking for Jesus to save them from it. we have to shine Jesus, not Me or World to make the difference.

  14. Love this. Truly.
    For about 8 years now, I've been purposefully looking at people as we shop. Looking at their faces (and always sharing a smile). And I stand amazed at what I see.
    Of course, there are flustered moms to share a smile of understanding with.
    There are also folks who are obviously hurting. Lonely. Turned off from any interaction.
    Amid all this, there are people who shine like stars. It's amazing. And when you talk to them, you quickly find where their light originates.
    It's amazing.