Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Do Not Conform

When does our conformity serve, enable and bring blessing to majority thinking, even when such thinking is oppressive, abusive and anti-Gospel?

Jesus calls out a people who will oppose the oppressors, shine the light of truth and expose the abusers and be guardians of a love ethic that reveals and crucifies hatred and fear.

Conformity can be a means through which we find ourselves on the side of hatred and fear, guardians of violence and greed, a willing yet ignorant cog in a system that turns and controls us.

Martin Luther King Jr spoke of the three evils, racism, poverty and war. He often spoke powerfully and boldly to the Church about how complicit it had become in promoting and promulgating these evils but that a time had come to no longer conform but to be transformed non-conformists. He called the Church to remember her roots and the 'gospel glow' of the early Christians who though 'quantitatively small' were 'qualitatively giants'. Such was their commitment to the non-violent Way of Jesus and his love ethic they revealed to a world the truest and most powerful sense of what it means and looks like to love God and neighbour. Orphanages and adoption, feeding the poor, caring for the sick, loving the loveless and refusing to bow to Caesar and the violent demands of the Roman Empire saw the Church flourish.

Martin Luther King Jr was a true nonconformist who recognised the evil in the world that needed to be preached against, a system that needed dismantling, brokenness that needed the healing touch of God.

He and many others called a nation to no longer segregate, enslave and push down a person based on the colour of their skin.

He demanded that the poor and marginalised were given dignity and respect and that the evil of poverty by addressed with integrity and desire to transform the plight of the poorest.

He spoke passionately about the destructiveness of war and that our violence towards one another will never bring peace. He implored the Church to once again see Love, exemplified in all its beauty by Jesus, as the most powerful, durable and transforming instrument available to humankind to bring peace.

To be a non-conformist is to call evil for what it is, evil, and to not simply follow the mundane and destructive patterns of the world.

Government lies and propaganda want us to segregate rich and poor, those in work and those out of work and to build a wall of hostility between one another.

Hate filled and self-serving media promote fear and self-interest leading to a decrease in compassion and increase in poverty.

Everywhere we are told that war is the way to peace even when the Prince of Peace commanded us to love our enemies, forgive all people, lay down our weapons, no longer retaliate and be a people of peace.

Non-conformity in of itself does not mean we are on the right path, only a non-conformity in light of the Way of Jesus, formed through his life and love ethic will bring transformation. Inevitably it will bring us into conflict with a world where evil is called good and good is called evil.

To be a non-conformist is to see each and every person as someone who carries the Divine spark, a person beautiful and created in the image of God, a person not to strike down but who needs to be raised up to feel the breath of God in their soul.

To be a non-conformist is to seek God to release us all from the systems that enslave us that we might see with eyes opened by the gentle touch of Christ.

How might you, how might I be a non-conformist people that is not silent to majority thinking? As Bonhoeffer said, to not speak is to speak, to not act is to act.  God helps us then to speak, God us help us to act. God help us all.

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