Living Free in the Spirit of Christ

Free The Church


The Pressure of Conformity

Posted on April 05, 2009 by Alexander
Multiple Personalities.

It is impossible to be like everyone.

Ecclesiastes and the Dark Side of the Moon

Previous posts in the series:

Chapter 1/Speak to Me-Breathe

Chapter 2/On the Run

Chapter 3/Time

Chapter 5-7/The Great Gig in the Sky

Chapter 5-6/Money

Chapter 4-9/Us and Them

An instrumental called, “Any Color You Like,”  follows the song, “Us and Them” on the Pink Floyd album called, “The Dark Side of the Moon.”  There is no explanation as to the reason for the title of the song, so my interpretation here is only my guess.  Since the song that follows is called, “Brain Damage,” and is the song about the main character going insane, I believe that he slips into Multiple Personality Disorder at this time before he has realized that he went insane.

The pressure to conform is upon all of us.  It is a pressure that is fueled by the judgments, opinions, and gossip of other people.  It has its power because it is our natural tendency to look to other people for guidance in our lives.  This tendency is amplified as we try to please other people to get along.  Strife, war and politics between people is experienced by everyone, and no one likes getting shot at, neither physically nor verbally.  So we all try to go  with the flow of others just to get along.

The problem with this approach is the vast variety of opinions and views that we all come up against.  The reality is that we can not agree with everyone all the time. It is impossible since there are so many opposing points of view.  To do so will cause a nervous breakdown, or, as I believe what happens to the character in this album, fracture into multiple personalities.

It is a rule of thumb that copies of copies tend to degenerate in quality and integrity.   Movie makers keep their master film in a vault to protect  the pristine clarity of the original.   They make copies of the master as sub masters by which they make the copies for film distribution.  When those sub masters deteriorate with wear and tear through time, they pull out the original again to make new sub masters.

This deterioration happens through the generations as people copy people in an effort to find guidance in their lives.   Societies fracture as cultures and sub cultures develop as a result.   We can not live as people pleasers because the standard is constantly shifting with each new generation. When what the original was like is forgotten,  changes continue without recognition so that eventually, good is considered evil, and evil is considered good.

God is the original blueprint for man.  We were made in His image.  However, we lost contact with the original in the Garden of Eden when the sub-master of God (Adam and Eve) degenerated with sin.  God had to make a new sub-master for all of us to model our lives upon, so He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to be our new model.  Jesus, however, can not deteriorate as the sub master films do, so there is no need for a new version of Him, for He is also integrated with the master, God Himself.  Furthermore, when the Church is glorified with Christ, God will be fully integrated into the body of Christ, so neither will there be any loss due to  degeneration in the Church, too.

Solomon predates Christ, so the focus of his writings are more on the human condition in our generations.  This is what he has to say.

Ecclesiastes Chapter 1

4    One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever.

5    The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, And hastens to the place where it arose.

6    The wind goes toward the south, And turns around to the north;  The wind whirls about continually, And comes again on its circuit.

7    All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full;  To the place from which the rivers come, There they return again.

9    That which has been is what will be,  That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.

10    Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us.

11    There is no remembrance of former things, Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come By those who will come after.

Chapter 7

5    It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise Than for a man to hear the song of fools.

6    For like the crackling of thorns under a pot, So is the laughter of the fool. This also is vanity.

21    Also do not take to heart everything people say Lest you hear your servant cursing you.

22    For many times, also, your own heart has known  That even you have cursed others.

29    Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes.”

Chapter 10

20    Do not curse the king, even in your thought;   Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom;    For a bird of the air may carry your voice,  And a bird in flight may tell the matter.

9.  Any Colour You Like
(Gilmour, Mason, Wright) 3:25

(Instrumental)

We are told by Paul in the book of Romans:

Rom 12:1-2
1    I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2    And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.   (KJV)

Even though we in the Church have the Master to model our lives  upon, the natural tendency remains for us to conform our selves to other believers, just to get along.

Spiritual abuse has occurred in the body of Christ when some believers try to make out that they are the examples of Christ and should be followed if you want to abide in the will of God.  This is especially a problem for new believers who do not know what Jesus is like yet which makes them easily taken advantage of.

Jesus had made it clear that pleasing people is contrary to walking with God.  He said:

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26-27 KJV)

We can not be His disciple if we esteem the opinion of men higher than the opinion of God.  We have to learn to look at the original in Jesus Christ and base our lives upon His example, not the example of other people.  Yes we are told in Hebrews 13, and in other places, to follow the example of others, but they all have the same condition: we are to consider the outcome of their lives (13:7) which should be like Jesus (v. 8).  How can you know if they are like Jesus unless you know already what Jesus is like?  You can not.  You must look to Jesus always, then you will be able tell who those are who are like Him, too.

So the Church at large is in the same danger as the character in Pink Floyd’s rock opera of suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder.  Instead of being transformed by the renewing of our minds, we become conformed to the Church, which is like the world, instead of  Christ.  Factions arise as congregations defend their version of the Gospel, hindering the unity of the Spirit.  Unity of the Spirit can only found in following the Spirit of Christ.

2 to “The Pressure of Conformity”

  1. Kat says:

    I liked this. What caught my eye was that sentence about pressure to conform. I do feel that, we all do. Come to think of it, you’re right. We do look for patterns to conform ourselves to. Instead of looking to God, we look to one another, because we lost the ability in the Garden to look through the lens of our spirits at God. We developed a crutch that is hard to shake. We want to judge by sight, so we look to the faces of people for approval and other information about how to live.

  2. Editor says:

    What caught my eye after I wrote it was the realization that the factions of the church is a type of multiple personality disorder in the body of Christ.



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