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Summary: This challenges people to pick what they’re going to be committed to and to stop riding the fence of Christianity.

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Choose One Chair!

A few years ago psychologist Ruth W. Berenda and her associates carried out an interesting experiment with teenagers designed to show how a person handled group pressure. The plan was simple. They brought groups of ten adolescents into a room for a test. Subsequently, each group of ten was instructed to raise their hands when the teacher pointed to the longest line on three separate charts. What one person in the group did not know was that nine of the others in the room had been instructed ahead of time to vote for the second-longest line. Regardless of the instructions they heard, once they were all together in the group, the nine were not to vote for the longest line, but rather vote for the next to the longest line. The experiment began with nine teen-agers voting for the wrong line. The stooge would typically glance around, frown in confusion, and slip his hand up with the group. The instructions were repeated and the next card was raised. Time after time, the self-conscious stooge would sit there saying a short line is longer than a long line, simply because he lacked the courage to challenge the group. This remarkable conformity occurred in about 75% of the cases, and was true of small children and high-school students as well.

One of the most amazing things about us as people is that it seems that we want to be liked by the world around us no matter what the cost. Everyone else can be wrong and we know it, but it doesn’t matter. We want to fit it, we want to go with the crowd and not look like we show up too much. You say, “Well that’s not true. I’m an individual and I stand out.” I got into a conversation with my sister once about this. We were comparing the preppy kids to these gothic kids who run around in the all black stuff. My sister told me that the preppy kids were just conforming to each other and they all looked alike. So I told her that the gothic kids were conforming to each other and they all looked alike also. She said no they were all individuals and didn’t follow the crowd. They may not follow the norm, but that doesn’t mean they’re not following the crowd. Every Goth kid looks as much like the next Goth kid, just like all of the preppy kids look alike. We want to fit into a group somewhere. And in order to do that, sometimes we just go with the flow. We conform to what everyone around us is doing.

I remember back when I was in high school. And let me assure you, I couldn’t conform to any group because there was no group like me in high school. I was my own group by myself. It was a rough 4 years. But that’s another message all together. But I remember a time when I had a chance to conform, but didn’t. I was in a World History class and I was getting excited because my teacher had said we were going to be studying the history of the Israelite people in the upcoming weeks. Now being a preacher’s kid and growing up in the church I thought I knew a lot about the Israelite people. So I knew I would do well on that test. The rest of them, well that’s up for debate. Well the time rolled around and we were discussing the Israelite people for a couple weeks. We began discussing the kings of Israel and you guys know who they were. Saul, David, Solomon. Those guys. Well, my teacher told us that David was the first king of Israel. And I don’t know what it was or why it happened, but something in my brain said, “Wait a minute. That’s not right.” So I started thinking to myself, “Who was the first king of Israel?” But I need to come up with it fast so he doesn’t move on without me. And it hit me. Saul was the first king of Israel. So I raised my hand and before I could even stop myself I said, “That’s not right. Saul was the first king of Israel.” And I mean everyone turned to look at me as if I had 4 heads. My teacher was like, “Excuse me? David was the first king of Israel.” I said, “No he wasn’t. It was Saul.” And we went round and round, it was funny. Well, the test was coming up and I said, “So should I put down the right answer to that question or your answer?” I don’t know where those guts came from, but that is not my personality type at all to go up against authority like that. But it came from somewhere. Well, anyway, on the test I put, “David, so that I get the points, but Saul was still the first king of Israel.” That was definitely out of my character, I just did it. But it was definitely not the way to conform.


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