Friday, October 16, 2009

A Late developer

Good morning God,
We humans really are the oddest creatures aren't we. Without thinking about it, we take the very best of what you have given us, our individuality, creativity, curiosity and spirituality and do our utmost to force it into some measurable form of 'normality'.

By age such and such, if we are a 'normal' human being - we ought to be able to do this and that. We become quite obsessed by this measurable normality - height, weight, hand-eye coordination, spelling, grammar, arithmetic, logic, spatial manipulation etc etc etc. At every age in our 'formative' years we measure and grade against a plumb-line of perfection - which is nothing more than a cultural average. There is a new report out today that says formal learning shouldn't start until 6 years of age - but who is to say that formal learning teaches us what we need to know to be human anyway? Surely all formal learning does is try to ensure that we all have the same average ability to process information, engage in social interaction and be more or less as able as everyone else is?

What odd creatures we are -
For you delight in making us above average - every single one of us. There is no such thing as an average human being, for everyone of us belongs to you, and you just don't seem to 'do' either 'normal' or 'average'. You do spectacular, unique, mysterious, wondrous, miraculous. Which makes me wonder whether or not the greatest threat to humanity is not our deviation from a government standard, but our socially constructed fear of difference from the norm.
We are trained from an early age to avoid drawing attention to ourselves. Nobody really wants to stand out from the crowd - unless of course, its in one of the acceptable ways, sport, creative talent, beauty.. etc.
And so we make a sin of the spectacular, a misery of what is majestic and a shame of our acts of gleeful spontaneity. We covet conformity, and strive for standardization. Meaning that millions of women starve and force themselves into predefined acceptable figures, and men suck chests in and pay for hair-implants - not because we actually need to, but because we are worth it! (and because we have been taught to be afraid of being different!)

Not so with you. In your company I can be me because wherever the gospel is preached everyone is free to be who they fully are before you. Like many, I was a late developer, but I finally realised that there is nothing average about a single Child of God, every human is different, special and gifted by your grace. There is no average sin, nor is there an average salvation. I am not a typical Methodist, or a typical minister ( God forbid!) I am not 'normal' - thank you God - I am me. Thank you for making me too small, not quite clever enough, a loud mouth with a BIG heart and a passion for truth and justice that scares me sometimes.

So vive la difference - not just in formal learning, but in ministry, preaching, living and being.

And now comes the hardest task - resisting the temptation to persuade everyone else to be 'just as abnormal as me!' Because, that, of course, would be just another way of trying to make us all the same again!


  1. Thank you for your posts, Angela. I am happy to read your honest thoughts about uneasy questions. Go on in this direction! Greetings!

  2. It's kinda hard to comment on someone's prayers, but I have to say that when I came to the UK I was horrified that 4-year old children were expected to sit in a classroom and learn to read.

    Not trying to hot-house all children doesn't prevent the bright and precocious children being taught.