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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Peer Pressure (07/05/04)

TITLE: The Transformation of a Non-Conformist
By Glenn A. Hascall


A missed class reunion started a recent unplanned trip down recollection road. My mind wandered through the halls of the old high school that was my educational home for two years, past the mammoth length of wooden planks and muddy construction zones then a quick left into to the new high school that was built during my sophomore year on the parking lot of the old high school. Then my minds eye sheds a tear as the old character filled structure (condemned eight times) is dismantled and hauled away.

I recall photography and aviation classes - theater productions and work schedules - my first car and my first experience driving a bus (oops, please disregard that last experience).

These were the years of my strongest expressions of being a teenage non-conformist. I never seemed to be interested in the same things as my peers. Many things they liked to do I had no problems saying no to. They wore trendy clothes while I wore either overalls or a t-shirt with an unbuttoned and untucked flannel shirt over it with well used blue jeans.

While I was home reading, my peers were enjoying cruising main. While they drank themselves into a stupor, I was serving chicken parts at the local Chicken Hut. I didnít seem to lack friends though. In fact, I had one classmate say that I was part of the largest clique that he had ever seen. It was possible to see me talking with one of the most popular people in my class one minute and one of the Ďunknowní the next.

My peers had no trouble knowing where I stood on things (I was quite willing to share my views) and there came a sometimes grudging respect with that knowledge. There were the occasional verbal barb lofted in my direction from various individuals that didnít seem to like the ease of movement between societyís elite and outcasts.

I didnít see myself as either popular or despised. There was just this general acceptance of who I was and, for whatever reason, this seemed good enough to me. I own no sports pins, I won no royalty - it didnít really matter to me.

You know, come to think of it, I had a pretty significant example.

Jesus didnít do things the way everyone else did them - He didnít party like the publicans, He didnít steal like the tax collectors, He wasnít self-righteous like the Pharisees. Yet there were people in each group that were drawn to Him. They had no question about the fact that He was unique and there was something about that difference that drew humankind to Him.

He never sought popularity, He didnít sway with the opinion of others, He was comfortable with who He was - and it showed. He was real, honest and unperturbed by the verbal barbs lofted in His direction by those who didnít seem to like the ease of movement between the elite and outcasts of the society in which He found Himself. Yet instead of pettiness and hate, He responded in love.

One of the most incredible verses in Scripture is ďDo not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Godís will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.Ē (Romans 12:2 - NIV)

We are not to live according to the style or manner of the world we live in. When everyone is trying to keep up with a mental ideal of perfection, we may decide there are more important things to be concerned about. While others keep everything they earn, we might give in order to help someone who has a need. While some will resort to putting other people down we might reach out a hand in friendship.

ďA peculiar people.Ē Thatís what weíre called. Not non-conformists for the sake of simply being different, but non-conformists because we are willing to be identified with Christ above any other friendship, social standing or personal gain.

Being a non-conformist may seem like hard work, maybe it doesnít seem natural. When you renew your mind by reading and thinking about Godís Word you will begin to be transformed. Suddenly you will discover that you are out of step with everyone else because you have found a different drummer to march to. It might even amaze you when you see the places youíre marching to.

Member Comments
Member Date
L.M. Lee07/09/04
our pastor spoke on this Sunday. He said that they way to change your heart is to transform your mind. Once your mind is renew...your heart has to beat accordingly.
Gary Sims07/10/04
Glenn - very good article. You found the perfect scripture to support your statements...ďDo not conform any longer to the pattern of this world..." A very clear indictment and calling - Gary
Mary Elder-Criss07/12/04
My son has a T-shirt that has the words, "Strange, very strange" emblazoned across his chest and the Scripture about Peculiar people underneath. May we all be seen as "strange."

Great piece.
Dori Knight07/12/04
I loved this, Glenn! I'm going to share it with my daughter who is entering high school this year. Thanks so much for entering it!
Great story with a great message. I truly enjoyed it.
Great story with a great message. I truly enjoyed it.
Melanie Kerr 07/13/04
Thanks for being peculiar! A well written article that reminded me about Jesus and how we have been given his character.
Theresa Knight07/14/04
I am glad you brought out the fact that you don't have to conform to have friends. Well done!
Marcell Billinghurst07/14/04
A great testimony. It was good to see you were happy to relate to people of all walks of life as you were growing up,and to be able to accept them regardless of their social status or popularity, instead of giving in to the temptation to try to be a part of the in crowd. Something we should all strive to be, a great witness for God. In His eyes we are all equal and loved and accepted by Him.
Linda Germain 07/15/04
I pray for Godly MALE mentors for my son. I was hoping they would be moving in next door, but maybe they are right here on Faithwriters. This will be copied and shared with my offspring! THANK YOU for writing this. It is much appreciated and timely.
Lynne Gaunt07/15/04
I really enjoyed your article. There aren't many young people out there who are willing to cross the artificial barriers set up by their peers. I have always admired those who do it. Great job expounding on Jesus' example for us. Well done!
Lisa Beaman07/16/04
Your article reminded me of myself in school. The only difference would be that I did not appreciate the unique way that God created me. Even though I was a "non-conformist" I wanted very badly to conform. Now, I am thankful that I do not have to live with some of the consequences that conforming can bring about.

I try to stess to my kids that being friends with a lot of differnent types of people makes one more popular that being friends with an elite few.
Kay Brown07/18/04
Very nicely done, Glenn. I enjoyed the part about talking to everyone, and enjoying them. There are interesting things to learn from each person we meet; Jesus knew that, too. Kay