love to read people who understand history and the development of language. A couple of years ago I was struck by a
paragraph within an article written by my Fulbright Scholar and Master of Fine Arts educated
“When I taught literature to high
school students on the Micronesian island of
Saipan, I began the year with the Anglo-Saxon text of Beowulf. (That juxtaposition was a bit weird all by itself.)
I explained to my seniors that the word
“weird” stems from an Anglo-Saxon verb meaning “to become.” As a noun: wyrd. Unlike our
contemporary version, which is slightly negative,
wyrd was positive. It was linked to one’s destiny and meant “supernatural.” Wyrd is an
ongoing, continual happening—“that which happens.” (Anna Elkins – from her article, “Toward”, at wordbody.blogspot.com)
My ministry affiliation is within a traditionally Pentecostal
denomination. God put me in this family and He has blessed me in so many ways because
of that relationship. I listen to
conversations within my own church family and outside in similar groups that
have journeyed through a hundred-plus years of history since the great Azusa
Street Revival. Some groups that started
off in that Azusa Street experience have, over the years, defined themselves
out of that stream because it seemed too weird and unwieldy.
most pastors, I have read through the Bible on numerous occasions. It is filled with lots of very “weird” and
unwieldy experiences. Bushes talked.
Rocks spouted water. People walked
across dry ocean bottoms through standing walls of water. People ate bread that
fell from heaven. Ax heads floated on water. Prophets were taken up. The sun
stood still. Donkeys spoke. Prayer hankies and shadows brought healing.
Spit in the eyes released the miracle of sight. Poisonous snakes were shaken
off. Today, similar things are taking place around the world where the Church is actually growing.
the last few years I have noticed some in the traditional Pentecostal camp are
now beginning to repeat a phrase – “We
don’t want to get weird.” I
understand why that phrase is being used. None of us want man-made or
man-produced anything. We want the
legitimate and real.
look across the traditional Pentecost landscape in the American Church, I am
actually seeing very little of the good God-weird stuff taking place. We have become a very manageable crowd. What we actually need to take place in our
midst has a hard time getting past our disclaimers and demands about our
concern for becoming weird.
can happen, and may have already taken place, is that we actually begin to shut
out the good God-weird experiences when they show up at our doorstep. Maybe, like the Anglo-Saxon definition of the word wyrd, we actually become the Spirit-infused people we were intended to be by
experiencing things for which we have no logical explanation. Maybe “weird” is not a destination like many
have come to believe, but a process that gets us to where we need to go.
Without some element of the wonderfully weird works of God in our midst we will
end up living with our own self-crafted image of life and ministry looking back at us in the mirror.
weird and unexplainable things God does are part of the supernatural journey
that actually leads us to our destiny. Like its earlier Anglo-Saxon usage,
“wyrd” was something that was supposed to continue to happen and not stop. When it stops happening in our midst is when
we actually become weird in a negative sense.
we construct a verbal fence with statements like, “We don’t want to get weird”, we are actually stumbling ourselves
as we walk forward into the fulfillment of our destiny. From my reading of the Bible, I find it
filled with wonderfully weird experiences. God used these experiences to
jump-start the hope of His people and remind them that He is still in the house.