Nonconformity is all the rage these days.
Except that it isn’t, of course. It can’t be. If it becomes popular, it’s no longer nonconformy–it’s just conformity.
So I think it would be more accurate to say that the idea of subversion is very popular, while actual subversion never can be. This is a point that it would be nice to see impressed, somehow, upon certain populations, such as the literary industry. If all the cool kids are waving your flag, you might be in rebellion against God, truth, nature, and so on, but you’re not ‘speaking truth to power.’
Real nonconformity is never fashionable. But it can be righteous. In Romans 12, the apostle Paul exhorts Christians, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (v.2, NIV). There is a godly nonconformity, the transformed living that comes from the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work.
This nonconformity doesn’t parade its transgressiveness, but quietly displays its virtue. Its hallmark is virtue, not virtue-signaling. Its the nonconformity of the man who doesn’t swear and the woman who dresses modestly–the people who get mocked for their respectability, rather than lauded for their scandalousness. The pattern of this world urges greed, pride, lust, and anger; the Spirit-transformed life displays charity, humility, chastity, and peace.
Clothed in the right amount of virtue-signaling, the pattern of this world may get you headlining music festivals and photographed on magazine covers.
But the transformed life is usually happier now, and eternity awaits.