Saturday, August 25, 2012

A non-conformist?

How many of us do things just because we would like to be seen as a part of the crowd and not different? Conforming for the sake of social acceptance is something natural since we live in our own social circles. To do things out of the social norm will be perceived not only as different but as weird. We sometimes do a lot of things just because we need to feel accepted in our social circles. These things which we do can be religious/spiritual beliefs, cultural traits, family habits, etc.

Being a non-conformist is a difficult task and to be one without hurting somebody's feelings is all the more challenging. Over the years I have met people who would prefer to be a conformist and doesn't want to raise a voice, because they are afraid to be devoid of social acceptance. As a Tamil Christian writer my dad gains much attention and appreciation for the good writing pieces he gives through his self-publishing magazine. His intention of writing the magazine is to clarify some of the interpretations people give to the Bible scriptures and Christian living. He often says people choose to interpret Bible scriptures for their own selfish benefit. They do not wish to shape or align their lives to Biblical teaching, but just want to take those scriptures and interpret them which will suit or benefit them. Once two pastors and a brother had come to meet him after having read his magazine. A discussion began on how some preachers live their  private lives lavishly with Church offerings and not a simple life like Christ did. My dad's only argument was that though men and women of God can live their lives on tithes and offerings, they cannot live in luxury but be good stewards of the Church's money. One pastor agreed to my dad's statement and affirmed  that there are preachers who live lavishly though they should not be doing so and said that we can do nothing about it meaning we cannot oppose them or criticize them. I was totally taken back by such statement.

This was not one such incident. We once met a good man of God who did his profession as a painter so sincerely, that being surprised by his dedication at work we rewarded him with gifts and an award. However, even this person who showed so much simplicity, humility, dedication and good faith in Christ did not want to   comment against ministers of God who lived a life opposing the gospel. The question that lingers in my heart is..."Why should people of good faith be a conformist?" Is being a non-conformist such a difficult task? Or do people think why should I be bothered about how others are? As long as I am on the right side that is fine..? Or do people choose to be a conformist fearing that they will be looked upon as weird or different or even a opposer of faith and be devoid of their social circle? I don't know the reason. But I don't want to be a conformist.

The perplexing thought that often comes to my mind is...so should we just ignore such things happening in Christian circles saying this is the common trend and we better not talk about it but rather ignore it? If this is what a majority of opinion would be... My next thought is had Raja Ram Mohan Roy been a conformist during his time, Sati would not have been abolished in India. Had Gandhiji been a conformist, the British rule would have continued this day in India. So if I am suggested that I should just go along with my social group and not be bothered about who is wrong and who is right is it fine? No, but I don't want to be a conformist and I am not afraid to be a non-conformist...