Dealing with People on the Fringe - What Faith Demands Regarding Friendship with "Nerds"

When I was a youth Pastor there was always a kid in my youth ministry who just didn't fit in with anybody in his/her peer group.  Usually he wasn't athletic, or real smart, or very aware of social nuances and norms.  So, what would happen is the kid would end up attached to me for most of the night.  His peers would poke fun of him, or worse, totally ignore him.  Not the Youth Pastor.  I was paid to show equal care and concern for every kid in the ministry, even the ones who talk about Star Wars endlessly and answer the question what's up with, "the ceiling."

Now that I'm not in full time ministry any longer I don't have the same obligation to pay the fringe people any special attention.  But here's the weird thing, they still find me every where.  Maybe they don't find me, as much as my eyes are more open to their social fragility and I show them the compassion that others don't.  I don't know what it is, I just know that I can spot the kids/people who don't fit in, and they usually end up attached to me somehow.

I'm not complaining in this post.  I'm pretty sure Jesus would have hung around the fringe quite a bit.  In fact, it is in doing so that I stay closest to the heart of Jesus and I avoid being sucked into the insidious vacuum pull of popularity, social classism, and greed.  Jesus taught that the first would be last, that the meek shall inherit the earth, and that whatever is done to the least of people is done unto Him.  I want to live for Jesus first, above all else.  Therefore, I have to look past the inconvenience and the uncomfortableness of the fringe, and look into the face of Christ.
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