The Freaks will inherit the earth…and the uniques…and even Grayson Perry

Not so many years ago when I were a lad (Lancashire twang kicking in their) if you didn’t fit in then you got pushed out, it, and generally made a misery of.

Alf Garnett was on the cathode ray tube which lurked in the corner, and no one flinched at what he said which today would have you arrested. Thank goodness.

These days Grayson Perryand Eddie Izzard both strut in public in various garbs of cross-dressing and people embrace it without a bat of an eyelid, and they both say some very deep and challenging things. These are the people who head the freak and unique brigade.

As a board gamer we are part of a tribe who are part of a geek revolution. There’s even a brilliant YouTube channel called Geek and Sundry. Big Bang Theory is a popular TV show. The geeks are taking over people…the sports personalities and big business people are being questioned. Like with the dinosaurs who ruled for millions of years, the mammals are coming. The shrews are rising up.

The geeks, the freaks…the uniques. They are on the way.

Nichers

What has spurred all this is as an artist I have come to the point of needing to really carve out for myself something of a niche. I’ve never been to art college, and do not intend to. I got put off it when I did a night course in A-level and the tutor said I was better than she was. I decided then to just go it alone. I am pretty busy with art these days, and I know that there are many young people out there who studied art who now stack shelves. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it’s not what they wanted.

Now, I have been given the chance to create a business. I have a little over 18 months to make it work, God willing. And it seems that God is certainly in it since I will not even have to draw down an income from the company because of God’s planning. But at the end of that the business will need to sustain us as a family. More than that, it will have to finance a growing business which will help me to achieve the number one aim of planting churches amongst kids especially in needy areas to transform society. There, said it.

Still here? Good. It’s part of my uniqueness. I am a freak.

I am there for those who don’t fit in. And there are kids out there who don’t fit in but are the people God has made them to be.

Freaky aspergers person…probably

I probably have aspergers. That’s high functioning autism. My dad certainly has signs and my eldest son has a formal diagnosis. Me? I am trying to get one. But the local authority hasn’t employed anyone yet…

Makes sense though, because I never fitted in. Even now to the extent that if I find someone else has the same idea as me I want to stop doing it and find something else.

not as bad as it sounds, to be unique

So this book I am reading at the moment is called ‘the Freaks will inherit the earth’ by Chris Brogan. A play on Jesus’ words, the meek will inherit the earth. Actually Chris, the meek are often the freak. Meek doesn’t mean weak, it means humble. But full of power. God’s in this case, but those with Unique-ness have some sort of power anyway. The trick is to embrace it.

This is what he says:

  • *You don’t fit in without some serious effort.

  • You are not a big fan of settling or compromising.

  • You’re looking for ways to allow your weirdness to be an asset, and not as the deficit that people have tried to convince you it is.*

It is this last bit that particularly for me is interesting…

Let your weirdness be an asset, not the deficit that people have tried to convince you it is

Izzard and Perry have done just that.

Yesterday Anne-Marie, my wife, and I remarked on the fact that as I have moved from being a on the edge minister who looks to set up congregations of church for people who don’t like doing the whole Sunday morning building thing (and in the process of which is having to go self funded because, lets face it, traditional church doesn’t want to finance something like that. They can’t get their heads around it); and blending that ministry with a traditional ministry (which was killing me slowly inside) to blending art and ministry something strange is happening.

I am becoming more aspergers. I am becoming more freaky. And I am loving it. As she points out, it is because I am no longer having to pretend to be someone else. And in 18 months I should be free of financially having to be concerned to make sure I fit in.

Now here is the irony: we talk of being a Christian as being the person who God created you to be. And yet as I have tried over and over in the past to be the person who I am meant to be I have faced criticism by the people who have been those who finance me. They want me to fit in. So I have complied because you have to keep a roof over your head. And yet I have *also discovered that those who are on the outside of church who I am called to…the one’s who don’t fit…the one’s who have no voice, like the kids, or the uniques…really get on with me.

Funnily enough for some reason people who are much younger than me see me as increasingly cool. Or sick. Or whatever the current word is for OK. But not because I try and fit in, but because I am on a mission. To be me. To not worry about those who say I shouldn’t be. Because God has made me to be me. And I want other people to discover that about themselves as well. And then through God’s grace and power to become the best that purpose.

It goes so far as trying not to worry whether people have been turned off from this because of my beliefs. Or worried that those who are Christians will stop wanting to support me. Because there are people out there who think the same as I do, but want to live their lives according to who they are.

Now for those Christians, and without getting preachy here, yes I know there is sin, and selfishness, and I am certainly not advocating a ‘fit me’ society where we are selfish. But if we can live our lives as we are called to live them AND in a selfless way, what would that achieve?

as an artist, I must be unique

It’s probably my main target subtext these next few weeks, to discover my unique voice. Letting who I am really take over and out. Part of my marketing knowledge is you make what other people want. Yes, in my illustration, that is what I have to do. Though I am hoping that at some point I will be able to drop the illustration for others and make art which will support the mission. But thats not art. It’s not bringing anything new to the party.

It’s not the dance music loving DJ sometimes black nail polish wearing magician crazy oddball artist minister Jesus freak I am out to play. Again, Chris Brogan, on a podcast I heard today (and hence found the book):

When you are at the gates with St Peter (or Buddha) he isn’t going to remark that you did very well getting through the to do list of taking out the trash. (actually St peter is more than likely to ask you what you did about faith matters and following Jesus and what you did about that faithfully…but gettin in , as it were, isn’t reliant on how well you did or didn’t do…but you get the point).

I want to be a nation transformer.

Thing is, in marketing you are encouraged to sell what is needed. So for the past couple of weeks I have dug around with what I know to work out what the market is, and here is the bottom line:

YOU CAN’T KNOW YOUR MARKET AS AN ARTIST THAT WAY

There is no assurance that art will sell. And people buy art for different reasons. The only way of being sure of what art will sell is make lots of art that you love to make, and tell people about it. Some people will align with you as a person, and with your art. And hopefully they will pay for it.

Some people might even give you money in return for just the love of seeing you create (If you are one of those people please consider supporting me on patreon.com
All you can be is uniquely you. And then not be embarrassed about it. But to do it. To be spiritual mindful physical human beings. To find the freak inside you and go with it.

Love you differences…because if you are to love others as you love yourself you must first be able to love yourself, all the warts and all.

Because God does.