reb•e•lu•tion (reb’el lu shen) n. a teenage rebellion against the low expectations of an ungodly culture.

8/31/2006

An All-New Rebelution Website

For all of our readers who keep up with The Rebelution via RSS, we are excited to announce an all-new and improved website and redesigned blog. Please change your RSS feed to continue to keep up on the latest posts: http://feeds.feedburner.com/rebelution

8/25/2006

The Modern Day Gentleman

The following article was originally delivered as a speech back in 2004 during my time competing in high school speech and debate.
Noblesse Oblige – with nobility comes obligation – a French term intended to convey that those who posses strength, intelligence or wealth are responsible to use such privileges to serve the common good.

It was out of this term that the concept of a gentleman sprang forth. A gentleman was a man who took care to serve and protect those weaker than him – either physically, mentally, or financially – a man who showed respect and consideration for others both by courteous manners and good grooming. It is for this man, or should I say, his modern day equivalent, that I am an advocate today. The gentleman has all but disappeared in our day, and it is high time we brought him back.

In my studies I have found the most neglected aspect of gentlemanly behavior is that of male interaction with the fair gender – in modern English: what it means to be a gentleman toward a lady. Narrowing my subject to this aspect I will also focus, though to a lesser extent, on the responsibility of the ladies to respond to and encourage the proper behavior of the gentleman in their lives, and finally, on both the gentleman and the lady in their responsibility towards God in this area.

Is Chivalry Dead?
For decades gentlemanly behavior has experienced decline. Not only are men becoming less apt to offer service, but ladies are much more likely to refuse it. A man gives up when his assistance is consistently shunned and so does the poor lady left sitting in the car waiting for a gentleman to open the door.

In an attempt to remedy this sad situation I could, as many do, lay out the rules of basic etiquette, encompassing the obvious doors, chairs, boxes, bags, and other such practices. Yet while all of these now uncommon courtesies are admirable they are merely signs that one is a gentleman or lady, not the means of becoming one. And as such a mere review of the appropriate actions is unlikely to cause lasting change.

You see, gentlemanly behavior is an attitude of heart, not a set of rules. Once the proper mindset is attained opening doors, offering chairs, carrying baggage, and the like become merely the predictable consequences of the changed attitude, and become voluntary rather than compulsory.

The New Attitude
To begin, the change in attitude is this – and I am speaking now to the gentlemen – the change in attitude is simply a decision to put the ladies first; their needs and their comfort comes before yours. That is all there is to it.

Now the reason that this change in attitude causes such a huge revolution in someone’s actions is because this mindset is the motivation behind every gentlemanly action. When you offer your chair to a standing lady you are putting her comfort before your own. It is exactly the same with carrying baggage. Opening doors is putting them first by letting them go first.

Name any gentlemanly behavior and I guarantee you will find this mindset there in some shape or form. When a man puts the needs and comfort of women ahead of his own he is well on his way to becoming a gentleman. In fact, he has already arrived and has only to allow consistency to establish his reputation.

Our Greatest Enemy
So, you might be asking, if it’s all so simple why don’t we all experience this wonderful transformation? If this is all it takes why don’t we see gentleman popping up like daisies all around us?

The answer, unfortunately, is that we all contain within ourselves a deeply entrenched root of self-centeredness. Self-centeredness is the antithesis of what makes a man a gentleman. And until it is overcome, consistency in gentlemanly behavior is impossible.

While self-centeredness might not cause you to consciously choose not to open a door, it will instead keep you from even noticing that the door needs to be opened! Self-centeredness blinds you to the standing female and the woman burdened with her heavy boxes because if your mind is absorbed with how to make yourself more comfortable, how to satisfy your own needs, it cannot at the same time be focused on serving others.

So, while self-centeredness looks to serve yourself, a gentleman looks for opportunities to be helpful to others. While self-centeredness attempts to avoid inconvenience, a gentleman is quick to deny himself and accept interruption of his own plans and interests. He is willing to be “put out” and inconvenienced in order to serve others.

Our Primary Battleground
For many of us young men this attitude will mainly be seen in our interaction with our sisters and mothers. They are not guinea pigs or practice dummies! They are the real deal, the main event. Instead of viewing your mother and sisters as some vague exception to the status of ladies, consider them the primary battleground on which you conquer your self-centeredness and lay hold of the calling of a gentleman. Nowhere else do your true colors wave so brightly, and nowhere else is your gentlemanly behavior more deserved or more commendable.

Brothers, serve your sisters. Sons, serve your mothers. Be quick to come to their aid, to offer them your chair, to open the door for them. Ask how you can help them and do it. Think sisters and mothers, then others.

My father once told me that the way I treat my sister and my mother now is the way I’ll treat my wife some day when I’m married. Once the honeymoon is over and the glamour has worn off, the relationships my marriage will most closely resemble will be the ones I have now towards my sister and my mother.

If I really think that I can treat my mother and sister terribly now and then suddenly turn self-centeredness off and turn kindness on — and keep it on — once I get married, then I’m only fooling myself. And if you think that you can do the same your hope is equally false.

An Appeal To The Ladies
Now, I appeal to the ladies, and especially to my sisters in Christ. If you don’t embrace your role as the recipient of our consideration we cannot act effectively as the gentlemen. You can show your care and serve your brothers by making it possible for us to become the kind of men God wants us to be.

Give us opportunities to do the right thing. We may need subtle hints such as, “Will you open the door for me please?” You know we need to be reminded sometimes. And when you can see us trying, please encourage us and allow us to serve you. If our actions are made from a servants-heart don’t take it as implying that we don’t think you can open the door or carry the box. You may not need our help, but we need to help. Please don’t take your side of this process lightly, your response is just as important, as our initiative.

Unique and Critical Roles
Men and women have unique responsibilities. Both are necessary and both are sorely lacking in our society today. We live in a society where chivalry has all but died, where the common man has become the common person, and any differences in gender roles are downplayed. Yet among God’s people I will say that gentlemanly behavior should not be dead, that differences in roles are not discriminatory but complementary; conveying value and purpose for both man and woman.

Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Eastern Seminary, in a message presented at the New Attitude Conference 2004, said:
“Among God’s people we understand that a man is to protect a women; to protect a women’s honor; to protect a woman’s heart; to protect a woman’s reputation; sometimes even to protect a woman’s health, her safety. Guys, that’s our job, God gave it to us. Woe unto the man who fails in that responsibility.”
Among God’s people we must understand that the woman is called to be supportive of godly manhood and her role is integral to the process by which men fulfill their responsibilities as men. Gentlemanly behavior is a training ground of Christian character for both men and women.

Depending on each other’s actions we will either going to succeed or fail in fulfilling our responsibilities. We must refuse to treat this issue just like another lifestyle option! In reality it is a requirement made for us by God – and by God’s grace we can succeed.

Closing Thoughts
Just as with anything else worthwhile the fulfillment of our responsibility to be gentlemen comes at a price. Girls, you may be inconvenienced at first as you allow the guys to get on their feet. Guys, the price that you will have to pay will be your self-centeredness, your convenience, your comfort – in a thousand little ways – in order to put the ladies first, to ensure their convenience, their comfort, and God’s favor.

We are either part of the problem or part of the solution. By holding faithfully God’s plan for men and women, let us make this transformation.

8/22/2006

Tuesday Compendium: Odds & Ends

Update: Elena Belle Harris
Thank you all for your continued prayers for Joel, Kimmy and Elena Belle. This morning Kimmy was taken off of the magnesium medication that had stopped her labor. The good news is that she made it to this point. That means that the steroids have had time to stimulate the development of Elena's lungs.

The prayer is now that Kimmy would not to back into labor anytime soon. The magnesium medication will take a maximum of 12 hours to be completely out of Elena's system. So we don't want her to be born until that happens, because it can slow down her heart rate and her breathing. But more than that, the hope is for Kimmy to stay in bed and wait for several weeks before Elena arrives.

Thank you all so much for your comments and prayers. You can also visit Kimmy's blog and leave her a note directly.

The Blackberry Addiction
A new study out of Rutger's University has warned that mobile email devices can be so addictive that they require treatment similar to those given to drug users and are seriously damaging to mental health. The Daily Mail (UK) reports:

The study... claims the Blackberry is fuelling a rise in email and internet addiction, with sufferers able to survive only a few minutes without checking for new mail.

One key sign of a user being addicted is if they focus on their Blackberry ignoring those around them.

Sounds like this study could apply equally well to teens and text messaging. The symptoms sound identical.

The Booklist: New Books, More Descriptions
Our booklist has been periodically updated since it was first published, but last weekend it was thoroughly revamped. Every book has a description, including many new titles from our summer reading.
Go browse the booklist.
Prayer Need: Kristin and Heidi
Two of our sisters in Christ are also in need of your prayers. Kristin Braun, formerly of Spunky Jr. and now at Beauty from the Heart, has been experiencing a variety of health problems for several weeks, including joint pain, fatigue, and headaches. So far doctors have been unable to pinpoint the problem. Please pray for that the correct diagnosis would be made quickly and that God would bring healing.

Please also pray for Heidi of A Blessed Servant. This dear sister is also battling serious illness, even while persevering to read through the entire Bible in 30 days. She documents her progress and thoughts (and provides health updates) on her blog. We encourage all of you to read through her posts. God's grace is profoundly evident.

Heidi's blog remains the first and only Xanga blog on The Rebelution sidebar. In fact, she has inspired us to read through the entire Bible ourselves (we decided on 50 days). Be sure to visit her blog and leave a comment to let her know that you are praying.
UPDATE: If you don't have a Xanga account (required to comment), please leave a note for Heidi in the comments section of this post or by email: thelordismystrength [at] gmail [dot] com
Works of the Heart: A New Look
Erin's blog, Works of the Heart, has a brand new design. Be sure to check it out and keep visiting. Erin has done a great job getting her blog up and running and has posted some great thoughts and articles on the issues of biblical womanhood. Her theme verse is 1 Samuel 16:7, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
Anything we missed? Let us know. Click here.

8/20/2006

Prayer Request: Elena Bell Harris

Some of you may know about Brett's and my niece, Faith Felicity, who passed away last October while awaiting a heart transplant in Southern California. She was two months old.

Her parents, our older brother Joel and his wife Kimberly are now expecting their second child, Elena (pronounced eh-LAIN-uh) Belle.

Her due date is October 3rd, but last night Kimmy began to go into labor. Six weeks early.

If Elena Belle were born right now, she would be in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at the hospital for quite a while. A particular concern for babies at this stage is their underdeveloped lungs.

Doctors have temporarily stopped labor through medication and are giving Kimmy steroids to speed up the development of Elena's lungs, but our prayer is that she would stay where she is for several more weeks.

The next week will be a challenging one for our family. Please keep all of us, especially Joel, Kimmy and Elena, in your prayers. May God be glorified and His will be done. Thank you, friends!

8/19/2006

Sexual Purity: What You Need To Know

Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries and author of best-selling novels such as Deadline, Dominion, Edge of Eternity, Lord Foulgrin's Letters, The Ishbane Conspiracy and Safely Home. His non-fiction books include Heaven, The Purity Principle, Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments, and Money, Possessions and Eternity. He and his wife, Nanci, are old friends of our parents and reside in our hometown of Gresham, Oregon.
By Randy Alcorn
Eternal Perspective Ministries
When it comes to sexual purity, we don't have to wonder what God's will is. Scripture tells us straight out. His expectations of his children are much higher than for those who don't know him . . . [Continue Reading]

8/18/2006

The Rebelution in the Philippines

Alyssa Chua (left), a 17-year-old rebelutionary from the Philippines, co-authors the blog Godly Ladies in Training with her good friend Christin Alvarez. She has given us permission to post the following essay she wrote entitled 'Finding the Rebelution'.
"Changes ain't totally pleasant but they're excellent things," says Mr. James Harrison in the book Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery.

Less than a year ago, I would have disagreed with Mr. Harrison. I didn't like change. In fact, I didn't like anything that would make my life - or even me - different. I wanted things to remain just the way they were. But God had other plans.

This past February, I came across something that changed my life.

A Turning Point
I was browsing through one of the forums where I am a member, when I came across a strange name in a topic title that immediately caught my attention. I opened the topic thread and read its contents. There was a link to another webpage. Out of curiosity, I decided to click on it and found myself at The Rebelution.

Simply clicking on that link changed my life. I learned to look within myself, and I saw the person I really was. I had never done that before. I had never looked at my life and my actions or ever wondered about myself before.

I saw the things that needed to change. I saw the selfish desires that had kept me from serving God fully. I saw the faults that had hindered me from serving others. I saw the pride that had kept me from admitting that I was wrong and the impatience that had kept me from trusting God about my future. Within myself, I saw the "weight" that was keeping me from running my race freely. I saw that I had to change.

The change was not immediate. It took long hours - days of thinking, and meditating on God's word. I had to go through the fire of purging and refining where my past thoughts, actions, and judgments were rebuked. There, I confessed to God of my wrong ways and asked Him to change my heart and my life. Like Mr. Harrison said, the change wasn't totally pleasant, but it was an excellent thing.

A Personal Challenge
Until I came across The Rebelution, I had never ventured out of my "comfort zone" where I had grown used to serving God. I had never accepted the challenges that looked too difficult. I enjoyed things just the way they were. Until then, I had never fully surrendered my life to God.

My comfort zone was a place where everything was just the way I wanted it to be; a condition where I never had to make extra effort or do something difficult; a state where I would sit back, relax, and enjoy myself.

Before, I did not want to step out because I was afraid of failing the challenge and failing in my service to God. It was some time before I realized that no matter how many times I fail the people around me, God will never consider me a failure, and I can always trust Him to give me the strength and courage to get up and go on.

Coming across The Rebelution brought about a challenge to look deep within myself and see the person I really am in Christ. It also brought about the challenge of stepping outside of my comfort zone. It wasn't easy, but looking to God for help, I stepped forward, away from the easy, relaxed life that I was used to living.

Outside my comfort zone, I found that I could serve God more fully and use all my talents unreservedly for Him. Outside my comfort zone, I learned to lean on God for strength, instead of leaning on the small pleasures of this world for comfort. Outside of my comfort zone, I learned to "do hard things."

"Why bother to do hard things?" people always ask. "Why can't you just do the things that you enjoy the most?"

For me, doing hard things meant doing the things I had never done before, the things I considered too difficult, such as serving with a glad heart, looking for a way to learn from my mistakes, obeying whole-heartedly the voice of God. For me, it meant taking action and living more like Jesus.

Without doing hard things, there would be nothing to challenge us to become better people. Without doing hard things, there would be nothing on which to exert ourselves and to mold our character for the better.

A Life-Changing Call
After visiting The Rebelution, I thought, "Now what?" I felt that I couldn't just sit still after that. I felt as if God was calling me to do something.

My friend, Christin, and I created the blog Godly Ladies in Training as an answer to that call. Ablaze with the fire of the Rebelution, we decided to create a joint blog where we could write all about our spiritual journey and the lessons God taught us as we went through life, such as modesty concerning dress.

Why do I want to be a rebelutionary? It is because I want to take a stand in what I believe is right in the sight of God.

A Defining Purpose
I had wandered unintentionally into The Rebelution, and the next thing I knew it had changed my life. It was an experience that I never regretted because it made me a better person. It was a stepping stone that helped me see the things I never saw before. It was a journey that taught me an important lesson that I shall never forget.

I've learned a lot, and I'm still learning, through God's grace.

I don't believe that it was "by chance" that I came upon the thread and decided to click on the link out of boredom. No, I believe that God led me there for a purpose.

I've made a commitment to spread the Rebelution in the East, starting with my country, the Philippines. It's not that easy - teenagers these days would rather "go with the flow" than go against it. That way, they would blend with the crowd and not be labeled as "odd" or "weird." Teenagers aren't that open to changes that would make them different.

Progress is slow. Culture is demanding. Many teenagers don't seem to care. But I won't give up. I'll stand firm. With God's help, we'll start a Rebelution.
Be sure to visit Alyssa and Christin's blog and thank Alyssa for this guest post.

Girls, we greatly appreciate your share committment to spread the Rebelution among our generation around the world. May God bless you and your efforts.

8/17/2006

Theory of Quarks is Vlogging

Emily Ask of Theory of Quarks has started videoblogging (or vlogging) and has uploaded a video of several moviegoers reactions to the recent World Trade Center film. Vlogging is an exciting new development in the Christian teen blogosphere and Emily is leading the way. Bravo, Emily!

Go watch the video. Click here.