Eccentricity, Mathematics, and Peculiar People

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I am eccentric. Quite so. In fact, almost invariably so. And I quite like it.

Now, when most people notice my eccentricity (and they do), they generally comment on how weird it is, and then make some comment about fitting in or having to still be able to communicate with people or something along those lines.

They miss it.


Why? Because they have a messed up perception of eccentricity and weirdness in general.

What does eccentric mean? What does it really mean?

Well if you go back to the roots, you find that it is founded in mathematics. An eccentric circle is a circle with a different center from another circle.

Not having the same center; — said of circles, ellipses, spheres, etc., which, though coinciding, either in whole or in part, as to area or volume, have not the same center; — opposed to concentric.

This is still a valid definition in use, and it directly affects the other definitions.

Not terminating in the same point, nor directed by the same principle.

So someone who is eccentric isn’t random, arbitrary, or capricious at all. Being eccentric means living with a different set of life principles than those you share company with (either by being in the same circles, or by working on the same things, whatever). You share some things in common with them, but you don’t share a common starting point or worldview.

The modern definitions of eccentric have become synonymous with unpredictable heterodoxes. The whole concept is one of any deviations from the societal norm being wrong by default.

So… which is good? To be eccentric, or not eccentric?

To be eccentric of course! We’re commanded to!

Or are we?

1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

What does peculiar mean?

Appropriate; belonging to a person and to him only. Almost every writer has a peculiar style. Most men have manners peculiar to themselves.

It means you have something unique and special about how you do things… another way to say you have a different set of principles. You have a different center and goal.

So now we know we’re supposed to be eccentric, peculiar, and odd, at least as far as the world goes. Our goal is to have Christ and His Word as the center of our lives, wherever that leads us. Even if it means we disagree with other Christians… if God’s Word is our reason for it, then it isn’t a sin to disagree: the Bible is our center, and that’s what matters. Listen, test your center, always, but don’t be afraid for it to be different from other centers.

So what about communication then? If you’re so off-the-wall that no one can relate with you… what then? How do you impact them?

Good question. 🙂 I’ll write about that later, but for now, you can get started with your ideas in the comments. Go!


16 Responses

  1. This made me smile. 🙂 I have to say that although sometimes I feel really out of place, in the long run I absolutely love being peculiar and eccentric.
    … though I have used eccentric in the wrong way sometimes. So thanks for the correction. 😉

  2. I’ve been using the term “eccentric genius” to describe myself for some time, and vaguely understood the meaning. After reading this, I have a much clearer picture of its definition, and it’s made me really appreciate the meaning of the word and love the fact I’m like it more and more. Thumbs up for Godly eccentricity! 😀

  3. I love your perspective, Sir Emeth. Thank you for “Friending” me on goodreads, and since you say you review books, I hope you’ll consider reviewing one of mine/my husband’s.

  4. […] Eccentricity, Mathematics, and Peculiar People ( […]

  5. Mmmm… I quite enjoyed this. Who knew they were right when they called me an eccentric? ;o)

    “So what about communication then? If you’re so off-the-wall that no one can relate with you… what then? How do you impact them?”

    I’ve asked myself this question for some time. As a protected, “stay-at-home”, homeschool graduate, I have difficulties relating to many of my friends. It seems, even, praising the Lord for His blessings in my life is like “rubbing it in my friends’ faces” for most of them don’t have protective fathers, or cheerful stay-at-home mothers, or peaceful homes, or saved siblings. I want to encourage them to impact their homes for good – to remind them of a time when my home looked similar to theirs (before we were theonomist, when I was a passionate feminist, when pride ruled the home, when we all lived as was “right in our own eyes”) but, alas, they think I’m boasting.

    I know we are to “speak the truth in love”, that we should be as David who said, “with my lips have I declared ALL the judgement of Thy mouth”, and yet do so after the example of the virtuous woman who “openeth her mouth in wisdom; the law of kindness is on her tongue”. Yet, it seems not matter how kindly or wisely one relays Scriptural Truth, someone is highly offended. I understand that. I know we will be persecuted. However, I want to convince my friends, make them think, not automatically ruffle their feathers – and still proclaim the Word in its entirety, even if “out of season”. That balance is extremely difficult.

    In short, I look forward to your post on the matter.

    In Christ,
    Shelby L’Rae

    • The accusation of being higher-than-thou or of boasting really is very common, and detrimental to people’s learning. They use it as an excuse to keep from having to go through the sacrifice and toil to improve and become like what they want to be. They envy you, but then they don’t want to go through all it entails to get what you have.

      It’s a huge task to speak the truth without needlessly alienating people and making them defensive. It’s an art and a science honed by practice. And lots of prayer and Bible reading. 🙂

    • Well said!

      “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” I Peter 4:11

      Amen! 😀

  6. […] Eccentricity, Mathematics, and Peculiar People ( Spread the word!MoreLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  7. […] Eccentricity, Mathematics, and Peculiar People ( […]

  8. […] (By the way, in case you were wondering why some of this series might have sounded a tad bit familiar to you, congratulate yourself on a brilliant memory. This is indeed a refashioning of an old post I made on my old blog back in 2011. If you are curious to see the differences and what I added or changed, feel free to check it out. It’s still there: Eccentricity, Mathematics, and Peculiar People) […]

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