Transformed Nonconformist: Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Transforming Center is closed today in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his courageous leadership in championing racial justice and equality through the use of non-violent resistance. In particular, we celebrate the fact that he provided this leadership, not merely as a social activist, but as a minister of the Gospel, proclaiming the good news of radical equality for all God’s people.
Today we encourage you to take time to pray—alone and with others—that God will expose the sin of racism in our own hearts and systems, and show us what it looks like to be “transformed nonconformists” as we minister in Jesus’ name. During these tumultuous days, Dr. King’s challenge to us to become “transformed nonconformists” is as relevant as when he first preached this message so many years ago straight from Romans 12:2.
How grateful we are for this transformed nonconformist who never yielded to the passive sort of patience that is an excuse to do nothing. May God speak freshly to our souls this day as we reflect on his life, his deeply spiritual teachings, and the actions that flowed from them.
“We as Christians have a mandate to be nonconformists. The Apostle Paul, who knew the inner realities of the Christian faith, counseled, “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” We are called to be people of conviction, not conformity; of moral nobility, not social respectability. We are commanded to live differently and according to a higher loyalty.
Nonconformity itself, however, may not necessarily be good and may at times possess neither transforming or redemptive power. Only through an inner spiritual transformation do we gain the strength to fight vigorously the evils of the world in a humble and loving spirit. The transformed nonconformist, moreover, never yields to the passive sort of patience that is an excuse to do nothing. And this very transformation saves him from speaking irresponsible words that estrange without reconciling and from making hasty judgments that are blind to the necessity of social progress. He recognizes that social change will not come overnight, yet he works as though it is an imminent possibility.
This hour in history needs a dedicated circle of transformed nonconformists. Our planet teeters on the brink of atomic annihilation; dangerous passions of pride, hatred, and selfishness are enthroned in our lives; truth lies prostrate on the rugged hills of nameless calvaries; and men do reverence before false gods of nationalism and materialism. The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.”