How to Be a Biblical Nonconformist
What tends to happen among Christians is they say, ‘Well, we’re going to show the world that we’re different. And what we are going to do is we’re going to show how different we are from the world, by refusing to participate in the world’s worldliness.’ Which means, ‘we won’t dance, and we won’t wear makeup, and we won’t go to movies, and we won’t play cards.’ I remember my first job teaching at a Christian college. I was hired to teach the Bible, and before the school opened, they had a picnic on the beach. Some students pulled out a deck of cards and started playing Bridge. And the dean came over and confiscated the cards. And that was my initiation to discover, to my horror, that the only card game that this group of Christians was allowed to play was Rook, the Christian card game. I said, “Rook!” I said, “Rook! I quit playing Rook when I was eight.” I said, “What are they going to do when they find out that their Bible professor plays in duplicate Bridge tournaments?”
It never occurred to me that there’s anything spiritual or unspiritual about contract Bridge. Imagine it. It’s absolutely incredible that that kind of thing emerges in a subculture. But what happens is we look around, and we see things that people in the secular world do, and we want to make sure that we don’t appear in any way like secular people. So we set up these artificial forms of non-conformity. Ladies and gentlemen, the kingdom of God, has nothing to do with Rook. Those are superficial types of nonconformity. If you want to be a nonconformist, in the biblical sense, be somebody who’s word can be trusted; be somebody who will do what’s right even if it costs them money. That’s different. It’s not that if everybody in the world is wearing white hats, we start to wear red ones. That’s not the nonconformity that the New Testament is talking about.