MY SUNDAY JOURNAL
By Dalton Roberts
WE MUST BE NON-CONFORMISTS
It's taken me 12 years to write those words.
Way back in '90, I placed a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson in my
journal. He said, "Whosever would be a man must be a
I questioned those words in my own mind. Then Life took me under its
wing and started showing me. Every time situations would arise where I
needed to take a stand for right, or simple change or justice, I had to
leave the herd.
The herd put Hitler in power. He didn't have to hold a gun to their
heads to get them to follow him. They loved his promises and his
hatreds, too. I have observed that every power-hungry monster has to
create a class to hate.
Right now it's the Arabs. Because the terrorists were Arabs, we are
expected to let our venom spill over on all Arabs. Right now you must be
a non-conformist to stand for justice for an entire group of Americans.
Just because their parents were Arabs.
I have learned to glean from religions and denominations the parts that
feed my spirit but most of my faith was shaped on my own little soul
lathe. Face this reality: nobody and no organization can serve up your
own personal faith and spiritual value system on their silver platter.
The meat may taste good but you'll choke on the bones. Fork around in it
and you will find all kinds of things you cannot swallow.
Emerson also said, "Nothing is at least sacred but the integrity of
your own mind." How can you be true to someone else's mind? To
someone else's values? Who do you know who is so smart that you can just
turn your mind over to them? Fail to check in with your own integrity
and you may be going south for a Kool Aid Party with Jim Jones.
Listen to Emerson again: "The great man is he who in the midst of
the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of
Many kinds of greatness evade us. We may never be financial giants. We
may never make the cover of People Magazine. We may never write a best
seller. But none of these things have the slightest trace of value if we
are conforming to injustice and our way of life is a lie.
Imagine a magazine with the title "My Integrity." Then see
your picture on the cover. Imagine a movie marquee - a movie house with
the name Independence Theater. Then see your name on the dancing lights.
It's one place you can always be a star.
Can we be non-conformists and not be so abrasive and oppressive that
people run from us? Emerson says we can. Note he talks about keeping
"perfect sweetness" with our independence.
It's not noise that makes our non-conformity effective. It's a smile of
perfect sweetness, knowing we are only reaching for one goal: