God intends for His body to be one. All the redeemed on earth compose the family of God. Since we are redeemed, saved by God to live for Him, we are able to live according to our Creator's expectations. God desires that we live out what we are: a holy people who are empowered by the Holy Spirit to live holy lives.
Because of what God has done, we the saved are different. In fact, we are peculiar. Not only should we live differently from the world, but the world ought not to fully understand us. The world is dead in sin, with eyes blinded by Satan. This causes much of our behavior, both what we do and don't do, to seem like nonsense to them. This makes the church peculiar.
The word "peculiar" generally carries a somewhat negative connotation. However, I'm not using it in that way. Rather, I'm just suggesting that the church both does live and ought to live in a dramatically different way from how the world does. Christ's church is a peculiar people.
The title of this post is "A Peculiar People Within A Peculiar People." What am I talking about? I'm referring to those within the church who view church life through a biblical lens. I'm talking about those of us who want the body of Christ to function like we see modeled for us in scripture. I'm writing about us weirdos who keep looking back to the bible to find out what the church ought to be. We reject tradition in the face of God's word (or at least do our best to do so).
We simple church folks are a peculiar people within a peculiar people. We are part of the larger group of peculiars (since we are part of the larger body of Christ). We are also part of a small group of peculiars. The reason for this is that we often seem odd to many of our brothers and sisters in Christ. For example, as many of you know our family meets simply at home. We do not do the worship service-expensive building-salaried pastor thing that so many Christians do. This makes us peculiar even to other believers.
The above diagram illustrates what we simple church folks often face. The large circle represents the church as a whole (the colors have no significance). The smaller circle represents those who have left the institution behind. Please let me be clear: I'm not trying to create any sort of artificial division within the body. I'm certainly not advocating it. Rather, I'm pointing out a reality that exists.
When you desire to live church life according to what God has provided in scripture, you will seem peculiar not only to the world, but also to many other followers of Christ. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be a lonely road. We are a peculiar people within a peculiar people.