“And here is an odd idea: Were any of us to close ourselves off so our social nourishment came exclusively from these performers, if any of us were to travel with them, it is inevitable that we would become jealous of the more freakish characters. It seems that when a group of people come together, they will develop a kind of hierarchy of importance, and the determining factors of a person’s value are not only unfair but arbitrary. Where you and I might become upset at God over having too great a nose or two hairy a back, these few feel dejection about the normality of their bodies.”
Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller (Page 174)
Donald Miller is writing here about the social dynamics of a group of circus performers who all have unusual deformities. A bearded lady, a man with crab hands. a guy with a third leg. Within that group jealousies developed because of perceived “advantages” that one person had over another. When the man with three legs began to get more notice – and, as a result, was paid more - the other performers were upset. “Not everybody is lucky enough to get born with three legs,” the bearded woman said. “It’s not like he did anything to deserve that kind of blessing.” All because the crowd gave more notice to one of them over another.
Donald Miller goes on to apply this idea to the real world . . .
“The circus, and I am talking about life now, really sucks. It feels like we all have these little acts, these stupid things we do that we all hang our hats on. The Fall has made monkeys of us, for crying out loud. Some of us are athletes and others of us are physicists, and some of us are good-looking and some of us are rich, and we all are running around, in a way, trying to get a bunch of people to clap for us, trying to get a bunch of people to say we are normal, we are healthy, we are good. And there is nothing wrong with being beautiful or being athletic or being smart, but those are some of the pleasures of life, not life’s redemption.”
Our audience should be Jesus, not the world. It shouldn’t matter whether we are seen as freakish or beautiful, rich or poor, smart or dumb as a brick. Jesus will still clap for us no matter what.