Standing Out

I would describe it as momentarily feeling out of sorts and out of place. Seated in an airport terminal, dressed in sport coat and tie, surrounded by other men in sport coats and ties, I admit that at first glance I did not appear to be out of place. I wore the same name brand clothes as the other businessmen scattered about the black vinyl chairs, although it was highly likely that we had assembled our wardrobe from very different sources. Johnston and Murphy saddle oxfords, Dockers cuffed and pleated khakis, Joseph A. Bank dress shirt, Tommy Hilfiger tie, and Haggar sport coat–the difference was that I had purchased every item at thrift stores. Our clothes were similar, but their cost dissimilar by a long-shot. The real difference between us became apparent when I retrieved my cell phone from my pocket. The gentleman seated across from me held a Samsung Galaxy with a screen as large as the flat front television on our bedroom wall. To my right another man viewed a movie on an iPhone 6. Androids and iPhones, with their users gliding fingers across touch-screens, taking care of business or simply entertaining themselves. Me? I pulled out of my pocket a flip phone to place a call to my wife. All eyes turned to glare as though I had violated some unwritten code of corporate ethics. They appeared stunned and discombobulated. I had introduced incongruence to their morning. Contemporary business dress. Flip phone from another era. What gives? What they did not know is that my antique cellular device was a temp phone I had purchased for use during transition in employment. the week before I was just like them placing high demands on my iPhone to organize and better my life. I would not use the flip phone for long, but for that instant I stood out from the crowd in an uncomfortable manner.

Am I willing and prepared to standout in ways that matter? Culture loathes nonconformity. Political correctness is the order of the day. While Christ-followers always exude light from within culture, our influence comes by remaining discernible from it. We behave differently, process information differently, view the world differently, and, more than anything else, love differently. Light ceases to be when indistinguishable from dark. Salt relinquishes its influence when it no longer alters flavor.

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