Monday, January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King, Jr and Nonconformity

Martin Luther King, Jr's writings and life are inspiring.

From his book, Strength to Love, I have quoted below a section from one sermon.

"Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." - Romans 12:2

  "Do not conform is difficult advice in a generation when crowd pressures have unconsciously conditioned our minds and feet to move to the rhythmic drumbeat of the status quo.  Many voices and forces urge us to choose the path of least resistance, and bid us never to fight for an unpopular cause and never to be found in a pathetic minority of two or three.

    Even certain of our intellectual disciplines persuade us of the need to conform.  Some philosophical sociologists suggest that morality is merely group consensus and that the folkways are the right ways ways.  Some psychologists say that mental and emotional adjustment is the reward for thinking and acting like other people.

     Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority.
     In spite of this prevailing tendency to conform, we as Christians have a mandate to be nonconformists.

     When an affluent society would coax us to believe that happiness consists in the size of our automobiles, the impressiveness of our houses, and the expensiveness of our clothes, Jesus reminds us, "A man's life conisteth not in the abundance of the things he possesseth."
     In spite of this imperative demand to live differently, we have cultivated a  mass mind and have moved from the extreme of rugged individualism to the even greater extreme of rugged collectivism.  We are not makers of history; we are made by history.  Longfellow said, "In this world a man must be anvil or hammer," meaning that he is either a molder of society or is molded by society.  Who doubts that today most men are anvils and are shaped by the patterns of the majority?  

      The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists, who are dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood.  The trailblazers in human, academic, scientific, and religious freedom have always been nonconformists.  ...... In his essay "Self-Reliance" Emerson wrote, "Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist."  The Apostle Paul reminds us that whoso would be a Christian must also be a nonconformist.  Any Christian who blindly accepts the opinions of the majority and in fear and timidity follows a path of expediency and social approval is a mental and spiritual slave."


  1. This really is what I needed to hear today! Thanks!!

  2. Thank you for sharing this Tonya. I read it to Jason yesterday and we both enjoyed it very much, non-conformists that we are ;)