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

9/30/2005

Is "Homeschool Blogger" Redundant?

Well, Alex King, one of our faithful readers and author of the blog SmartHomeschool seems to think so. Our conservative, homeschooled readers will appreciate his current series that draws a parallel between the current blog movement and the homeschool movement of the 80's and 90's.

They're not too long, so be sure to read Part One and Part Two, and feel free to leave a comment if you enjoy the read.

A Guest Post: Great Expectations?

While perusing the blog Waiting To Go Home, by our reader, Sarah, I came across the following excellent entry about the low expectations of her college professors. A sophomore at Olympic College in Washington, Sarah has given Brett and I permission to share her post with the rest of our readers. Her insight is one that, sadly, very few young men and women come to understand before it's too late. We would encourage all of our readers to carefully consider what Sarah has written, and to take it to heart.

I’m being cheated out of my college education. I made this appalling discovery when I received my worst ever grade on an English paper. Plentiful teacher scribbling covered the pages, and a note at the end included this sentence, “There is much room for improvement should you choose to revise.” I was shocked. Since I started college, I had not received such a devastating comment on any of my papers.

My most challenging English professor, Pearl Klein, saw right through my attempts to skim the material, and she didn’t give me a ‘one size fits all’ evaluation on my paper. She didn’t write, “Needs work, grade B.” She said ‘much room for improvement’, added lengthy comments, and I could tell she had read and seen potential in my pathetic paper.

I had to revise, but I doubted my ability to write any better. However, two hours of extensive reworking produced a much different draft, and a revelation. If I wanted to be truly prepared for adult life, I would have to take more responsibility for my own education. I could see now how much potential my other teachers had failed to elicit.

One might think that doing the assignment and fulfilling the professor’s expectations would produce a quality learning experience, but not when the said professor has created a class that should be titled, ‘Credit for Dummies.’ After a year at Olympic College and ten different professors, I’ve realized that five of those ten professors didn’t expect enough out of me.

At first I felt relieved by the low expectations; I could hold down my job, do the minimum amount of homework and still make the grade. However, when I revised one of my mediocre papers and saw how much better I could do if challenged, the light went on. The ‘Oh! I’m not actually learning anything’ light.

My own experiences, coupled with the realization that many of my classmates still didn’t have a grip on basic punctuation, make me wonder if college professors don’t demand enough out of their students.

Student supervisor Ralph Givens said, “Both high school and college classes are ‘dumbed down’ when they try to make one size fit all.” On a college campus where diversity and uniqueness are emphasized, the last thing one would expect is the ‘one size fits all’ attitude, which fails to provide an exemplary education.

I’ve written papers that I knew lacked originality, understanding, and professionalism, and yet I still made the grade. From past classes, I’ve realized that I can’t rely entirely on teachers to provide me with the necessary challenge and incentive to produce quality work. If I desire to turn into an educated adult, I will have to set my own bar, and exceed that bar.

A good grade may be easier to come by if you take the ‘easy’ teachers, but you’re only cheating yourself. Did you come to college to hide in your comfort zone or to prepare yourself for a career in the adult world?

FAQ #23: How Old Are You Guys?

Updated on June 29, 2006
Alex and I were born very young for our age on October 28, 1988. If you do the math that means we are 17 years, 8 months, and 2 days old.

What many people do not know is that twins measure their real age cumulatively, not separately. Measured that way we are actually 35 years, 4 months, and 4 days old! Just kidding. We're really 17.

Historically speaking we are 5 years older than David Farrugut, the U.S. Navy's first admiral, when he was given command of his first ship. We are a year older than George Washington, our nation's first president, when he was named official surveyor for Culpepper County, Virginia, and started earning $100,000 per year (in modern purchasing power).

Though Alex and I have done neither of those things, our faithful readership should expect that we are striving to glorify God in our own lives and would love for others to join in the fight.

In Christ, Alex & Brett Harris

9/29/2005

Quiet Excellence: Check It Out

Alex and I love so many things about the World Wide Web—the fact that it puts the collective knowledge of mankind at our fingertips, for instance. However, this abundance of information has its downsides; one of which is that extremely excellent material can go unnoticed and unrecognized simply because no one ever finds it.

Today The Rebelution would like to recognize some excellent material. And perhaps, more specifically, an excellent individual: Karen Kovaka, a seventeen-year-old from Corydon, Indiana, has gone largely unnoticed while authoring one of the best-written and intelligent blogs Alex and I have had the privilege of reading.

Her blog, Rhetorical Response, is an analytical exploration of literature and worldview, and though I could attempt to describe this treasure trove I will simply borrow from Karen’s vision statement, which I cannot improve upon:

I revel in the beauty of a well-written story. I delight in analyzing the meanings behind man’s greatest literary achievements. I relish opportunities to show the superiority of the Christian worldview in relation to all others. I trust and pray that God will use this blog to further all these activities. In view of my passions and their practical applications, I am committed to writing about two primary things: the techniques that make literature great and the worldviews presented in said great literature.

This blog is representative of my commitment to strengthening the existing network of like-minded Christians so we can ‘encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today’ (Heb 3:13a). Rhetorical Response is a link in the relational chain of Christian rebelutionaries.

I want to be a world-changer. I want to inspire others to be the same. I want to form relationships with other visionaries and influencers. May Rhetorical Response, through literature and worldview study, urge us all to move, in the words of CS Lewis, ‘further up and further in.’
The Rebelution’s favorite posts from Rhetorical Response:

This Blog Is Different, In A Special Way

The Rebelution is not your average blog. We don’t mean to say it’s “better” than most, but merely that it’s “different” than most. We don’t focus much on current events (with the exception of "Teens in the News"), we don’t sell anything, and we don’t randomly muse.

One could argue that The Rebelution isn’t really a weblog at all, at least, not in the traditional sense of the word. Rather, it’s a message of reform, communicated through the blog medium. It’s a self-help book, written quickly and sometimes sloppily, but in clear sections and with a common theme. It’s an online teen magazine, with comic strips, guest commentary, lively discussion and a sense of community. It’s a challenge, a vision, and a mission.

Now I don’t mean to indulge in vain or idle speculation. To the contrary, I have reached the conclusion that clarifying the nature of The Rebelution is critical to YOU getting the most out of your time here.

Though some of you may visit for no other reason than to read Jiffy N’ Lou, we hope that the vast majority of you find something exciting about our message of teenage responsibility.

The Rebelution represents a radical overthrow of basically every assumption our culture has about teenagers. For that reason Alex and I have purposefully spent these first few months laying down many foundational principles that flow counter to the lies of our culture. Including, the Myth of Adolescence series, the World Is Flat series, and our posts regarding the power of companionship, heroes vs. celebrities, our culture’s preoccupation with fun, and the rise of adultescence. (These are just a few of the many topics we’ve addressed.)

These series and independent posts represent the core message of The Rebelution. Fortunately, for those readers eager for fresh content, Alex and I plan to move on to address new topics, specifically, how these foundational principles affect different areas of life, including how we speak, what we wear, where we go, etc. etc. etc.

However, because of the unique nature of The Rebelution, even those readers who just recently started reading our blog should not skip these core principles. You see, because The Rebelution is written much like a book you will get the most out of it by reading it from beginning to end, rather than from middle to end (or something to that extent).

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to go back and read every post we’ve ever written. And it also doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to understand or relate to our new topics if you haven’t read the old ones. However, I would encourage you to take the time every so often to explore the past series and "popular independent posts" listed on the sidebar to the right. Because The Rebelution is a cohesive message this will serve to compliment your future reading and give you a better understanding of what we’re all about.

Thanks for your time.

Jiffy N' Lou: Installment #103

It's time once again for America's favorite comic strip: The Adventures of Jiffy N' Lou! Brought to you courtesy of the late New Attitude Magazine, Joshua Harris, and The Rebelution. Click on image to enlarge.

Comment Section Starter Questions: What is your position when it comes to relationships? Out of curiosity, how many of you have read our older brother's books, "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" and "Boy Meets Girl?"

Continue to Jiffy N' Lou: Installment #104

Exposing The Mass Media Sham, Again

Jack Kelly: No shame

The federal response to Katrina was not as portrayed

Sunday, September 11, 2005

It is settled wisdom among journalists that the federal response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina was unconscionably slow.

"Mr. Bush's performance last week will rank as one of the worst ever during a dire national emergency," wrote New York Times columnist Bob Herbert in a somewhat more strident expression of the conventional wisdom.

But the conventional wisdom is the opposite of the truth.

Read the rest of the article here.

9/28/2005

Visual Onslaught: A Diversion of Focus

Four weeks ago, fellow blogger Agent Tim and I teamed up to interview American expatriate and rebelutionary, Hans Guenther, regarding the persecution of homeschoolers in Germany (to read the interview click here). Thrilled with the quality of content in Hans's answers, Brett and I invited him to write a guest post for The Rebelution. Please pay heed to the following, excellent, critique of modern man's obsession with the superficial.

About the Author: Hans Guenther is a 19-year-old Christian homeschool graduate from southern Oregon. He has been living with his parents and four siblings in Germany for the past ten years. Now studying online at Troy University, Hans is also an assistant to his father, Richard Guenther, who manages German homeschool legal defense organization Schulunterricht zu Hause e.V.
Living in secular Europe for the past ten years has given me a great amount of insight into what lies behind the rapid secularization that is taking place in all of western culture. With immoralities on the rise, most conservatives would agree that, generally speaking, the western world has been heading down the wrong path. But few realize the complexity of our problem. Let us now examine an issue I believe deserves more attention.

Being confronted on all sides with television, movies, and photographs, we are constantly being forced to focus on everything and everyone’s surface appearance. Pop stars, movie stars, and models are screaming out at us: “Focus on outward things, desire outward beauty and acceptance!”

This contributes to a strong negative trend we have been experiencing throughout the past few decades: The focus on the surface rather than what is underneath – for Christians, the focus on the physical realm rather than on the spiritual.

These are not new problems. However, the inventions of the photograph and television have caused problems like these to escalate like never before in recorded history. By focusing on the surface, our eyes become dimmed to the inner realities that lie beneath it. People begin to
forget inward beauty and the spiritual realm. Love has become a physical infatuation rather than love in the biblical sense: selflessness with a focus on one another’s needs. As a result, relationships have become increasingly shallow. Selfishness has increased. Under these circumstances, high divorce rates come as no surprise.

While this diversion of focus is not the only factor in the high number of today’s failed relationships and marriages, it is undoubtedly one of the most underrated causes, as well as a leading factor in countless other of today’s problems.

Obsessed with outward beauty, women terminate pregnancies. Men commit adultery. Wisdom and knowledge, which used to be highly regarded by society, are now replaced by physical or outward appearances. Why should youth strive for wisdom and knowledge when it is propagated everywhere that hip appearance is all you need to be acceptable in today's society? Subconsciously, we follow society's lead – judging everyone by their outward appearance. This also plays a dominant role in today's society's worship of adolescence.

Voters are beginning to choose candidates based on their looks rather than their political agenda. This has been a growing trend in Germany, and is a logical outcome of our society. Politicians put a lot of time and effort into their physical appearance. Changes of eye color, make up, and hairdo are becoming increasingly popular among today’s politicians. Prior to the 2004 Vice Presidential debate, I laughed when the news showed John Edwards looking into a mirror adjusting his hair for over a minute. But is this really funny? It shows the importance our society is placing on outward appearance.

I admit that I myself am too often caught up in judging based on outward appearances. Of course, the outward realm is not to be altogether neglected, and photography is by no means wrong. However, the technological advances in photography pose a danger to the unsuspecting eye.

Unless Americans wake up to subtle, seemingly harmless assaults on our senses such as this one, our nation will likely continue on the same course that has all but ruined Germany and many other western nations.
Please take the time to consider the following questions and to share your thoughts with the rest of our readers:

1.) Nearly everyone would recognize that American culture, as a whole, is too caught up in the superficial. What about the Christians? How do you think this way of thinking has effected the church?

2.) Many people like to think that they are invincible to outside influences. How susceptible do you think the human mind is to the subtle effects of media and culture?

Ms. President Twinkle

Tom Shales, style columnist of the Washington Post, demonstrates the very concern I raised in my recent post, "Commander in... Chieftess?" In yesterday's column, Shales lauds actress Geena Davis, star of ABC's new primetime drama, "Commander in Chief," saying:

Geena Davis can veto my legislation anytime. Starring as the first woman to hold the highest office in the land, Davis reminds us what we have missed in most of our past, real-life presidents: cuteness. She's got a twinkle in her eye, a twinkle in her smile, a twinkle everywhere. She's President Twinkle -- just what we need to tame the extreme, charm the militant, inspire the troops.
My initial reaction to this statement was that of alarm. Such an approach reduces the presidency to nothing more than a beauty pageant. And yet, the indubitable Mr. Shales was miles ahead of me, saying:
Davis is [a] tantalizer all sublime. Maybe the presidency should be a beauty pageant; it's hard to imagine that the results would really be that much worse than we get already.
This is exactly what we do not need. In a time that requires increasingly careful thought and cautious action, too many Americans, much of whom are already fed up with the Iraq war and President Bush, will consider a female Hillary to be a great improvement. While I do not see this moving the most loyal of the party faithful, it will have a profound effect on the ever-growing category of the independent and moderate conservative.

Clinton for 2008. Vote peace. Vote cute.

9/27/2005

The Civil Discussion Ruler Of The World!

I am pleased to announce that the people have spoken and Jamie Kiley [that's her on the right] is the Civil Discussion Ruler Of The World. I won't even mention that it's ironic for this to occur right after Alex posted about female presidents.

The real purpose of this post is to alert those who were following the excellent discussion in the comment section of my recent apologetics post "God Is Dead, Science Has Killed Him," that my long awaited response has finally been posted.

You may read it here. Keep in mind that due to its length, my response had to be posted in four parts. For that reason you won't be able to just read the latest comment in the thread.

[Note: I though I should clarify that the picture of a nuclear explosion is intended to relate to the nature of the discussion (i.e. whether the Bible is referring to nuclear fission in 2 Peter 3:12) and is not meant to communicate any sense of foreboding regarding Jamie's new position of power . . . In case you made that connection.]

Commander in... Chieftess?

Tonight marks the premiere of ABC's new primetime drama, "Commander in Chief."

Geena Davis is Mackenzie Allen, vice-president of the United States, until President Bridges unexpectedly dies. Pressured to resign in order to make way for the speaker of the house to assume the presidency, Allen makes a last-second decision to take the oath of office and become the first female president of the United States.

While the first episode has received mixed reviews from critics, many expect the show to be popular with the American public. Earlier this year, a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll found that over 70 percent of Americans would be likely to vote for a female presidential candidate in 2008. According to a Fox News Poll in January, 56 percent of Americans believe that America is ready to elect a female president, up from 51 percent in 1998.

With oft-mentioned presidential prospect, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, likely to make a run for the White House in 2008, and with speculation swirling around Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice as well, ABC's new show may well serve to further soften the political ground for a real life female president.

In an echo of a common theme on The Rebelution, Marie Wilson, president and founder of The White House Project, is quoted as saying, "Culture is a powerful tool for moving us to where I think we have to go." Likewise, Martha Burk, chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations, hailed the primetime drama as an important political step "because things in the popular culture often do become legitimized in real life." In other words, as Chicago Sun-Times columnist, Lynn Sweet, writes, "[T]he abnormal becomes the normal."

The primary agent for this change? As always: Mainstream Media.

It is only a matter of time before a woman presidential candidate becomes a reality. I will be voting in 2008, and so will many of you. Regardless of the outcome, it will undoubtedly be marked as a historic landmark in America's political history. Unfortunately, a show like "Commander and Chief" only serves to foster a media-saturated culture that will cast their ballot, not for a candidate, but for what they perceive to be the most interesting real "reality TV show."

Kidults (Part 5): I Won't Grow Up & You Can't Make Me!

In response to my recent post, “I’m Pro-Choice: Choosing To Grow Up,” Lauren, one of our faithful readers, posted the following request:

“Today one of my friends and I were talking after school… At one point he said, “What if I don’t want to grow up? What if I want to stay a kid for the rest of my life? I just want to have fun.” Immediately this made me think of what you wrote on this post. I wasn’t quite sure what to say. What is a simple argument for a comment like that?”
This isn’t the first time I’ve been asked this question. A few weeks ago another one of my readers asked me, “Since the people who read your blog probably already agree with you, how are you going to get the message out to people who really need to hear it? How will you convince those who disagree with you?”

In essence, my readers want to know how to respond to someone who has grown up believing the the old Pepsi commercial, "You're young! Have fun! Drink Pepsi!" How should you respond to someone who just wants to have fun? How do you encourage someone to pursue adult responsibilities when they don’t want to grow up?

Here’s what I'd do if I were confronted with a statement like the one Lauren’s friend made (i.e. “What if I don’t want to grow up? What if I want to stay a kid for the rest of my life? I just want to have fun.”). I’d be thinking: This guy doesn’t share my views about what’s important.

This is a simple observation but a critical one: this guy values "just having fun." I value responsibility, maturity, and accomplishment. Polar opposites. This means that for me to say “But responsibility is grand!” will have little to no impact on him because his Gameboy is grander.

He’s like a greedy little caterpillar who “just wants to eat,” and doesn’t want to become a butterfly because he wouldn’t be able eat grass and leaves anymore. If he was a customer and I was a salesman, he wouldn’t want my product because he believes that what he has is better. That is the dilemma.

Alex and I will soon be embarking on a new series that will answer the questions: “How did he get this value system?” and “How do we change it?” We’ll talk about how our peers need the opportunity and the social pressure to change, and about how we can provide that opportunity and pressure.

However, in this post I’d like to share with you a simple strategy for getting his attention: 1) convince him that growing up is inevitable, and 2) get him to think about the consequences of not being ready.

You see, at this point he doesn’t think he needs to grow up. He thinks he could happily spend the rest of his life just the way he is. And you won’t convince him to “grow up” until you convince him that he can’t avoid it. This argument is crucial because once he admits that growing up is inevitable he will be forced to ask himself the question, “Will I be ready?”

Well, it sounds good. How do you do it? It’s actually pretty easy. No one can argue with the fact that every 365 days we’re older by a year. Neither can they argue with the fact that someday they will have to support themselves financially (for some people this won’t happen until Mom and Dad are gone, but it will still happen), and that the cost of living is getting higher and higher.

They most likely hope to get married “someday” and will probably agree that a committed relationship requires greater levels of sacrifice and deeper communication than they’re capable of. And, if you push them, they will probably admit that their future bosses and supervisors won’t care how gorgeous they are or what “cool dudes” they’ve become or what great ballplayers they were in high school.

The point you’re trying to make is that even if they feel like little Peter Pans they don’t live in Neverland! They’re going to grow up. Adult responsibilities are going to come. Therefore, the only question is, “Are they going to be ready?”

The reason I share this approach with you is because too often we put the cart before the horse, so to speak. Allow me to use an analogy to explain this:

Imagine that you’ve gone to see the doctor. You get in the office and he sits you down and says, “You need to start taking these large pills twelve times a day in order to avoid getting smallpox.” [Note: For those who don’t know, smallpox is virtually non-existent today.]

You’d probably think he was crazy! Why would you go to all the trouble to swallow those huge pills when there was barely any possibility that you would contract smallpox and when you’d already had your smallpox vaccination? You might politely take the bottle of pills with you when you left, but you definitely wouldn’t take any.

Now, imagine that instead of just telling you to take the pills the doctor told you that smallpox was spreading rapidly all over the world, that even people who were vaccinated were contracting it, and that unless you took these pills twelve times a day it was almost inevitable that you would contract the disease and die.

Guess what you’d do? You’d take the pills! You’d hug the doctor! You’d probably ask him for a Dixie cup and take one that very minute! You’d make sure you received an adequate supply of the pills and you’d faithfully take them every day.

Do you see the difference that occurred once you knew 1) that the disease was coming, and 2) that your vaccination wouldn’t save you?

The same is true when it comes to your friends. Until you can convince them that growing up is inevitable and that what they’re doing now won’t prepare them for it, they won’t see the need to change anything.
In the comment section, please answer one or more of the following questions:

1.) Do you think young people in general have an unrealistic view of how long they can avoid adult responsibility?

2.) Have you ever had a friend talk about "staying young" and "just having fun?" Did you say anything to them about it? If so, what did you say?

3.) Whether its speaking to your friends about the rebelution, evangelizing, etc. have you fallen into the trap of telling people all about the "pills" and failing to adequately explain the nature and danger of the "disease?"
Continue Series with Part Six: Pursuing the Inevitable

9/26/2005

Here's to hoping...

Here's to hoping your Monday started out better than this:

The Beginnings Of A Bad Day

I was trying to upload another of The Rebelution's famous comics. Unfortunately, I am being unable to load it. Ironically, the title of the comic was "The Beginnings Of A Bad Day."

We'll be posting later today. We're at science class right now.

9/24/2005

If Boys Would Be Men, Would Girls Be Ladies?

Fellow-blogger, Agent Tim, posts an interesting opinion piece published in Thursday's edition of USA Today, regarding the severe lack of men on college campuses today. The article reads:

Currently, 135 women receive bachelor's degrees for every 100 men. That gender imbalance will widen in the coming years, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Education...
The piece cites employment rates, annual income, incarceration statistics, and even, adultescents, to support its argument that the male sex is facing great inequity in the world today. It concludes:
[T]he inequity has yet to provoke the kind of response that finally opened opportunities for women a generation ago. In fact, virtually no one is exploring the obvious questions: What has gone wrong?... Surely, a problem that creates crime, increases unemployment and leads to hopelessness deserves attention. Where are the boys? Too often, going nowhere.
As would be expected, such a piece sparked protest among feminists. Nancy Gandy, the president of NOW (National Organization for Women), was quick to dismiss the editorial as nothing but a "panicky article" that misrepresented the true facts. She writes:
[D]ominant groups find ways to protect their members. Much as they might deny it, people get special privileges for belonging to dominant groups (whites, men, heterosexuals).
In fact, in seemingly ironic deviation from the historical feminist view, Ms. Gandy is not even happy about women holding such a large edge in post-high school education. Rather she forecasts that women attaining greater education will only serve to decrease the emphasis that businesses place on education and capability, instead leading them to focus on the number of hours employees can work. This, she argues, will greatly discriminate against women, because of their housekeeping and child-raising responsibilities:
Women do more than 80% of unpaid family work, even though two-thirds of us work outside the home. Let's face it — women can't "have it all" if we're expected to do it all! Women's greater education will be a moot point until our society provides better policies for working parents.
Ms. Gandy then points out that while men and women have had equal post-high school education for the past 30 years, little has changed. To prove this, she lists statistics of women as percentages of Congress, law firms, mayors, judges, and Fortune 500 CEOs, before finally concluding:
Bottom line? I don't see a few more degrees signaling the fall of patriarchy. We already know women are smart. But no matter how smart you are, it's tough to win when the rules keep changing and you have to choose between work and family... [O]ur movement for genuine equality is still needed, NOW more than ever.
There are several obvious errors in Ms. Gandy's arguments, as well as a few alarming and revealing statements regarding NOW's true social objectives. Among them: Her call for better (read "more") government childcare policies to free parents from the home, and the statement that true equality cannot exist while women must continue to choose between work and family.

However, the primary fallacy in her argument was her failure to address the main focus of the article she was refuting. In a word, men. The heart of USA Today’s editorial was the failure of modern boys, not the success of modern girls. Its focus was, “Where are the boys?” And not, “Look at the girls!” To highlight equal education opportunity and current statistics of women in high positions of state and business, is to effectively miss the entire point. The disappearance of young men on our college campuses is a relatively recent phenomena. Consequently, the concern must not be for the NOW (pun intended) but for the future generations of our nation, generations full of boys, girls, and women, but entirely devoid of men.

I believe the editorial was right on target when it theorized that, "a smart-isn't-cool bias has seeped into boys of all racial and ethnic groups." What is this "bias" but yet another demonstration of the effects of social conditioning and the myth of adolescence? While our culture's media is full of feminist empowerment rhetoric, there is little social pressure or encouragment for young boys to aspire to anything greater than a future spot on a professional sports team; a statistical rarity of high degree. The problem is not that women have risen, that's not even an issue here. The problem is that men have fallen.

Historically low social expectations are only beginning to show their long-term fruit, and they affect both sexes. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that it is our young men who are suffering most dramatically. In fact, a recent New York Times article, mentioned by Dr. Al Mohler earlier this week, reports a surprising new trend of young women in elite colleges planning on motherhood over career, despite the social pressures for them to do the opposite.

While several feminists quoted by the article attempt to argue that such decisions are the result of nothing more than a society still steeped in the strictures of archaic gender roles, there is no correlating trend among our nation's young men to verify that argument. If such was the case, we should have expected a very different editorial in USA Today. The truth is that young men today possess little incentive, whether archaic or otherwise, to pursue excellence in career, marriage or family. True men are not only disapearing from our universities, they're disapearing from society's most fundamental institution, the family. Unless men, as the heads of their families, return to the historic call of biblical manhood, the family will continue to decay. This is a battle our generation must fight.

The USA Today editorial uncovers a disturbing, but not surprising trend. However, its focus remains too limited. A college degree is not absolutely necessary, but character, competence, and a true understanding of what it means to be a man are. The question presented to our generation is not: "Where are the boys?" But rather: "Where are the men?"

Mommy! Brett & Jamie Are Having A Perfectly Civil Disagreement In The Comment Section!

For those of who you have long sense despaired of finding polite and civil discourse, despite disagreement, look no further than the comment section of my recent post, "God Is Dead, Science Has Killed Him."

Our reader "J", who authors the beautiful blog Jamie Kiley, has engaged me in an incredibly intelligent discussion regarding the use of certain Scripture passages to make the point that the Bible was/is scientifically accurate before its time.

Needless to say, keeping up with Jamie has eaten up the time I would usually spend writing blog posts. For that reason I am pleased to announce that September 24th is now National Civil Discussion Appreciation Day!

Here's what NCDAD (National Civil Discussion Appreciation Day) involves:

1) I don't write new blog posts. I just write civil dicussion posts for the comment section.

2) You don't get to read new blog posts. You just get to read civil discussions in the comment section. AND, if you haven't already, you get to read The Rebelution's commenting guidelines which have been adopted by blogs across the blogosphere.

3) ALSO, you all get to vote for the Civil Discussion Ruler Of The World. Anyone is eligible. Include at least one reason for your vote. The comment section of this post is reserved as a ballot box.

UPDATE: It isn't that I don't want Jamie to win. But our voter turnout percentage is somewhere around 2%. For your own sakes, be responsible citizens and vote for dictator (I mean ruler).

9/23/2005

Requesting Assistance: Blog Viewing Problems

It has come to our attention that certain people's browsers are doing "funny things" to The Rebelution's sidebar. If everything is working correctly, you should see a bonafide sidebar to your right. It will include a photograph of Brett and myself, a quote from Dawn Eden's New York Daily News column featuring our blog, links to our current series, recommendations from our readership, and links to popular posts, fellow rebelutionaries, etc... And it should not be at the very, very bottom of the page.

If you would be willing to assist us, please take the time to leave a comment notifying us as to the status of the sidebar in your browser. Be sure to include what browser you are using. Thank you!

UPDATE: It appears that a majority of our readers, those using MSIE 6.0, do not see our sidebar. This greatly detracts from your visit and we hope to remedy the situation as soon as possible. Until then, the sidebar is available... At the bottom of the page. Or, of course, you could always just switch to a Mac.

God Is Dead, Science Has Killed Him . . . Or Has It?

NOTE: This post is hopefully the beginning of another permanent, weekly feature on The Rebelution: Christian Apologetics. While we will do our best to avoid making blatant assumptions, our non-believing readers must be considerate of the fact that many aspects of our faith, while nearly always supported by what we can observe, must still be accepted with a measure of faith. For that reason we are not attempting to convince you beyond a shadow of a doubt that what we say is true. That standard is unreachable by any position.

Our positions and the discussions they spark are intended to encourage those who share our belief and provoke thought in all of our readers. The comment section will be strictly monitored in accordance with our clearly stated commenting guidelines.

NO FINAL CONFLICT: SCIENCE VS. SCRIPTURE

1 INTRODUCTION & THESIS
What would you think if I told you that God is eventually going to die? That slowly perhaps but surely the knowledge of His existence will erase itself from your mind? Depending on your belief system you would most likely respond in a number of ways: “God IS dead!” you might say. Or perhaps, “That’s ridiculous!”

As a Christian my response would be more consistent with the latter statement. And for that reason (and many more) I must disagree with the following statement by the atheist Chapman Cohen. He says: “Gods are fragile things. They may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense.”

It will be my position that though this statement may be considered true about any false gods (i.e. gods that were “created” in ancient times to explain natural phenomenon and were consequently “killed” as science began explaining such phenomenon) it is not true and never will be proved true about the God of the Bible.

2 POINTS TO BE COVERED
In the short time we have together I will attempt to prove Chapman Cohen’s statement to be false by showing that 1) the Bible and science do not conflict, 2) that what is true about God’s Word is also true about Him, and 3) science has proven the Bible to be true.

I. THE BIBLE & SCIENCE DO NOT CONFLICT
Francis Schaeffer, famous Christian apologist and writer, wrote in his book, "No Final Conflict," that "we should not fear to investigate scientifically the facts of the created world but should do so eagerly and with complete honesty, confident that when facts are rightly understood, they will always turn out to be consistent with God's inerrant words in Scripture. Similarly, we should approach the study of Scripture eagerly and with confidence that, when rightly understood, Scripture will never contradict facts in the natural world."

In understanding Schaeffer’s point it is necessary to realize that in order to enjoy this “lack of conflict” we must possess a right understanding of scientific facts and a proper interpretation of Holy Scripture. Schaeffer contends that any conflict between science and Scripture is due to error in our scientific conclusions, a misinterpretation of Scripture, or both.

This lack of conflict between the Bible and science is significant because of my second point…

II. WHAT IS TRUE ABOUT GOD’S WORD IS ALSO TRUE ABOUT HIM
God is accurately represented through His word. Therefore for the Bible to be invincible to science is for God to be invincible to science. This invincibility to science is His knowledge of science, through his creation of the universe and His oneness with His Word the Bible.

It is men who should be laid low, not their creator, by the discoveries that are made as they explore God's wonderful creation. And men do make discoveries. But these discoveries have not killed God as Chapman Cohen might like to think. On the contrary they have instead strengthened God's existence. This is because…

III. SCIENCE IS CATCHING UP WITH THE BIBLE
In essence my point is that science is confirming truths that the Bible has claimed for centuries. For my non-believing readers, if you have stuck with me this far, I would like to admit that I haven’t adequately supported my previous points with anything that resembles empirical proof. Allow the following to compensate:

A. THE ATOMIC BOMB:
2 Peter 3:11-12, gives us a great example in the realm of Physical Science when it says: "Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!"

Here’s the important point: until just the last century scientists believed that elements could not melt. It was a matter of scientific consensus! And so the Bible was assumed to be wrong.

It was the scientists that were wrong. On December 2, 1942, scientists working on the Manhattan Bomb Project at the University of Chicago succeeded in producing the first artificially-created chain reaction by means of nuclear fission. A development which led to the first atomic bomb; a bomb capable of producing temperatures of millions of degrees, in contrast to your average TNT blast which reaches only a few thousand degrees. In other words the elements do in fact melt with intense heat.

B. VENESECTION:
Leviticus 17:11 gives us another example, this time in the realm of Medicine, when it says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.” Now for centuries scientists believed that virtually all disease could be treated by means of venesection, more commonly known as bloodletting. However, this treatment actually weakened its patients and caused many unnecessary deaths.

It was only in the 20th century that science has caught up with the Bible and now the World Book Encyclopedia begins under the heading of Blood: “Blood is the lifestream of the human body. This red fluid performs many tasks, and no part of the body can live without it.”

Remember: God's invincibility to science is His knowledge of science, through his creation of the universe and His oneness with His word, the Bible. These examples are exactly that: examples. They merely represent the support that exists for my position. They are not “all I could find.”

3 SUMMARY & CONCLUSION
I started this post by asking you what you would think if someone told you that your God was eventually going to die. I end hoping that those who postulate that God is “already dead” would reconsider that belief in light of the evidence I’ve presented. And for those of you who argue, as I do, that the God of Scripture is not dead, I hope that you have much more to back up your answer to that question after what we've looked at today.

In summary we’ve seen that 1) that a right understanding of scientific fact and the meaning of Scripture allows for “no final conflict” between science and the Bible, 2) that for God’s Word to be invincible to science is for God to be invincible to science, and 3) that science has proved the Bible to be true.

The statement by Chapman Cohen has not and never will be proved true about the God of the Bible. My God is not fragile. He is alive and well.

Science is God's creation. Not His murderer.
About The Authors: Alex & Brett Harris have been heavily involved in Apologetics competition on the national level. While competing in the NCFCA during the past two years they have ranked nationally in the top eight four times, in the top four twice, and garnered one national title.
Note: Whether they show up or not, there are many, many comments on this post. Please click on the comments link below to view.

9/22/2005

Jiffy N' Lou: Installment #102

It is time once again for America's favorite comic strip: The Adventues Of Jiffy N' Lou! With special permission from the artist, The Rebelution is proud to present what many herald as the first and only homeschool comic strip! Jiffy N' Lou debuted in Joshua Harris' New Attitude Magazine back in 1994 and retired with the magazine in 1997. Then, for almost eight years, these homeschool cultural icons have vanished from the public eye.

Here on The Rebelution they are making their comeback, proving once again to the world that homeschool comic strips do indeed fill a gap that needs to be filled. Click on image to enlarge:

COMMENTARY: We appease our consciences much too easily.
Continue to Jiffy N' Lou: Installment #103

9/21/2005

Guest Commentary On Cindy Sheehan

Regardless of your political leanings the following article is intended to make this point:

Ordinary people can write guest commentaries, whether it be for the Ridgecrest Daily Independent, or for The Rebelution. You might even make it on Google News like this guy did: click here for the article.

Agent Tim Interviewed By Dr. Al Mohler

A hearty congratulations to fellow blogger Agent Tim for his recent interview on The Albert Mohler Program regarding Christian teens in the blogosphere. We are thrilled that Tim is receiving the greater attention that his consistently high quality work deserves.

Agent Tim was also generous enough to mention the blogs of several other rebelutionaries, including Spunky Jr., Mission 3:6teen, and The Boyscout Blogger, which have now been linked to from Dr. Mohler's blog. The Rebelution was also mentioned on the show, with reference to the messages of The Myth of Adolescence (Part 1, Part 2), "Rebelize" Your Youth Group, Runing Our Lives With Fun, and Tim's and my interview with Hans Guenther regarding the persecution of homeschoolers in Germany.

Congratulations, Tim. Thanks for drawing attention to the work of your fellow rebelutionaries. Keep up the fantastic work.

9/20/2005

What They Don't Tell You About Hurricane Katrina

I don't know about you, but when Hurricane Katrina occured I was hoping that we'd see our nation unite the way it did after 9/11. Do you remember the way politics were put aside and everyone just wanted to do whatever they could to help?

Well, I was disappointed. Everything was politics and looters and death. Then today I found the following article by Mary Laney, a writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, entitled, "Hurricane brings out the best of America," and I am encouraged. Here's what she has to say:

HURRICANE BRINGS OUT THE BEST OF AMERICA

September 19, 2005

BY MARY LANEY

Let me tell you the good news. Not much time is being spent on it these days but there is plenty of it in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In recent days, this country has mobilized like no other to care for its own . . . .

Read the rest of the article here.

9/19/2005

The Rebelution, According To Dad

To be a rebelutionary, we must constantly strive to reduce the focus on ourselves as individuals, and to place the focus on the community of the Church. The only way to truly combat cultural expectations is to create a culture that results in an entire community of mature and responsible young people. To effect widespread change, we must produce such a communities in churches across the nation. Sadly, the average youth group in the U.S. today is falling incredibly short of this calling.

~ From the post, "Rebelize" Your Youth Group ~
In response to the above post, our father, Gregg Harris, posted the following comment. We want to make sure all of you read it:

As I follow this discussion, I thought I might jump in and comment on the issue of how an individual can rebelutionize his or her youth group, church or any other social context. This question goes to the heart of why the Apostles went about preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and not merely the Gospel of individual salvation. The Gospel of God's grace purchased for us by Christ on the cross brings regeneration or new birth to each individual who believes in his or her heart that Jesus is Lord (i.e. Sovereign over all that is) and that God the Father raised this Jesus from the dead. This believing sets off a chain reaction in one's soul that literally recreates and reorganizes all of reality. It is more than a paradigm shift, but it does include a new way of looking at everything. If Jesus is Lord then nobody else is Lord. Not your self, not your parents, not your spouse, not your boss, not your pastor, not the government, not money, not sex, nothing. Jesus is Lord. His will is now more than your law, it is your delight. Doing His will is the only sane thing to do in light of who He is and what He has accomplished. Anything else would be crazy.

Now just because Jesus is Lord, and all of these other people and things are no longer Lord, does not mean that they have no more place in your life. They are all very important in their proper places because they comprise the context in which you are to walk in the obedience of your faith in Christ. This is where the Gospel of the Kingdom comes into play. God's kingdom comes where God's will is done on earth. That is what we pray in the Lord's prayer and it is happening now as born again people trust Jesus enough to actually obey Him in a situation. As Paul wrote in Ephesians, having been saved by faith alone without works, "You are now Christ's workmanship, prepared for good works that you should walk in them." God has prepared you for the good works and He has prepared the good works for you.

The good works God has prepared for you to do are all in the contexts of relationships you have with others in your family, your church and your community. You are a rebelutionary. You have been transferred out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of God's dear Son. Now, Jesus commands you, through Paul, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." So, as a Christian young adult, you are to honor and obey your parents for the Lord. Even if they are not Christians, or if they are not yet mature Christians, God wants you to "obey" them in ways they may not even have thought of yet. Be an example of a believer. A believer in what? A believer in the person, Jesus Christ, who is Lord. and a believer in the objective historical fact that God raised Jesus from the dead and so will raise you from the dead too. As one free from the fear of death and the fear of lack, go love others from a pure heart, fervently. In the Old Testament circumcision was the sign of the covenant, but in the New Testament "neither circumcision nor uncircumcision are anything, but faith working though love" is now everything! By this love all will know that you are Christ's students, because you love one another. By this you yourself can know that you have passed out of death and into life, because you love your brothers and sisters in Christ. Love is now the sign of the covenant. Love is the keeping of the entire law of God. We are to build one another up in love. We are to spur one another on to love and good deeds. God's kingdom on earth comes in power whenever and wherever redeemed human beings trust God enough to actually obey Him by loving one another in practical ways. In fact, God asks us to show our love for Him by the way we love one another.

So how do you "rebel against the darkness and the lies of this world." Seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness in relation to that kingdom. Get into relationships of love and respect and watch what your King can do with a little leaven hidden in three measures of flour. It will ultimately permeate all things as God reconciles all things in heaven and on earth to Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. That, my young friends is "rebelutionary."

9/18/2005

Kidults (Part 4): Choosing To Grow Up

In the late 90’s hit single, “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen),” Baz Luhrmann offers sage advice in a unique and catchy graduation-ceremony-put-to-music format. He begins by telling his listeners to wear sunscreen, because the benefits are “well-documented by scientists.” The rest of the advice, he tells us, “has no source more reliable” than his own “meandering experience.” (If you didn’t notice this guy has a sense of humor.)

I must admit that I love this song. It’s like a 5-minute version of Self-Improvement 101, and it’s catchy! Unfortunately, sandwiched in between his reminders to stretch and get plenty of calcium, Mr. Luhrmann throws in this piece of advice:

“Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at twenty-two what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.”

My initial reaction to that would be: Ouch! This is exactly what we don’t need! We do not need to be encouraged to lack direction and purpose. That’s what we’re already doing! Rather, our generation needs a kick in the pants that says, “Wake up! The stakes are high! The time is now! Get going!”

But then I realized that while Mr. Luhrmann advice was bad, he was also responding to one of the other reasons that our generation is having trouble growing up: We are overwhelmed with the responsibility of figuring out what in the world we’re going to do with our lives.

After all, we already live in a world of overwhelming choice: there are 40 kinds of coffee beans at Whole Foods Market, 205 channels on DirecTV, and 15 million personal ads on Match.com. And guess what? Unless you expect to find your life’s mate online those are all relatively insignificant choices!

What seems to trip many young people up are the 800,000+ career choices on Monster.com. It was all so much easier back when you were simply “destined” to be a blacksmith just like your father, and his father, and his father’s father, and his father’s father’s father, and his fath . . . you get the point.

But seriously, the question of life purpose weighs heavily on many young people and some of us just don’t want to deal with it. Marshall Herskovits, producer of the television show Thirtysomething, explains, “When you talk about this period of transition being extended, it’s not what people intended to do. But it’s a result of the world not being particularly welcoming when they come into it. Lots of people have a difficult time dealing with it, and they try to stay kids as long as they can because they don’t know how to make sense of all this.”

What is Mr. Herskovits referring to when he says “all this?” He talking about those questions: What are you going to do? How are you going to do it? Where are you going to go? How are you going to get there? Those questions that seem to jump you out of the blue and then plague your subconscious with their persistent nagging.

But don’t worry. I’ve been there too. I know the paralysis that comes with big decisions. However, I’ve also learned that the only way to avoid being overwhelmed with the big choices (and everybody has to make them) is to start moving. Just start putting one foot down after another.

Here’s why I say that: I think that the reason these 20+ year-olds are paralyzed by questions of direction and purpose is because they failed to start moving on these decisions when they were teenagers.

So here’s the practical application: Start planning now! Starting thinking about what you’re going to do after high school and after college. Start thinking about career paths and what you want in a marriage partner. Better yet, start praying about these things. You can’t cram on this test. The consequences are long-term.

Feel free to change your mind 200 times or even 200,000 times. But having a foggy idea of what the future holds does not bode well for you.

In closing, I know that we all get tired of people asking us, “So what are you doing after high school?” But the truth is, “There’s few better questions for them to ask!” The reason we are often unprepared for our future is that we haven’t spent enough time thinking about and planning our future.

Sorry, Mr. Luhrmann. We don't want to be "interesting" 40-year-olds or even "interesting" 22-year-olds for that matter. We are called to a higher standard.

In the comment section I want each of you to answer to one or more of the following prompts, but please don’t limit yourselves to what I have provided:

1.) At this point in time I plan to attend the following college . . .

If you are not planning on attending college don’t feel badly. College is not always necessary, advisable, or affordable.

2.) At this point in time I plan to pursue the following career . . .

Ladies, “wife” and “mother” are both suitable and admirable answers.

3.) At this point in time I desire the following characteristics in a spouse . . .

Please specify (if it is not already clear) whether you are describing a husband or wife.
Remember, the idea is simply to get you thinking about these things. Expect these answers to change over time, but if you don’t have an answer to one of the question it is likely that you lack direction in that area.

Also, you must realize that this is far from a complete list. Believe it or not, before you can start figuring out answers to purpose-related questions you must first figure out what all of those questions are! I would advise that you start developing a list of questions you want to have answers to.

Continue Series with Part 5: "I Won't Grow Up & You Can't Make Me!"

9/16/2005

Pursuing The Inevitable

In response to Brett’s recent post, Guess What? Adolescence Is Permanent, one of our readers, Allegra, made the following comment:

I find what you guys said scary. I myself am still a younger teenager, but I dread growing up. For some reason, I have it in my head that growing up is one of the worst things that can happen to someone. This idea
probably comes from observing kids my age or just a little older who are maturing, but don't have time to play with the smaller kids and less grown-up teens. Doesn't growing up involve keeping your sense of humor, playing with little kids, but just getting more responsibility and learning how to deal with it effectively?
First of all, thank you for your comment, Allegra. We greatly appreciate all of our readers’ input. You have correctly identified a common negative tendency among adults. That is, their seeming inability to reach out to others, especially those younger than they are. However, this is not a result of growing up, but rather, a result of growing up the wrong way.

The reason that growing up can be so scary is because it’s inevitable. Every 365 days, we’re older by a year. However, what we need to remember is that growing up is also completely natural and good. It does require preparation, but that’s exactly what the childhood and teen years are for. The habits, personality, and character we choose to develop during this phase of our life, decide what kind of adults we become. We can’t keep from growing up, but we can choose what kind of grown up we will be.

Therefore, the solution is not to avoid responsibility and maturity (just look at the adultescents), but to start developing it now. You don’t learn to effectively deal with added responsibility by avoiding it, but by becoming accustomed to it, bit by bit. It’s like working out. When you first go to the gym, you never go straight to the heaviest weights you can find. You wouldn’t be able to lift them, let alone control them. Instead, you start small and work your way up.

In the same way, if you want to be able to deal with responsibility when you grow up, you must start building up your “muscles” right now. One reason many grown ups lose their sense of humor and their ability to spend time interacting with young people, is because they’re overwhelmed when responsibility comes. They failed to adequately prepare themselves when they were younger, and now all their attention is focused on trying to manage this “weight” that is far too heavy for their untrained arms. The problem is not that they grew up, but that they weren’t ready for it. And when they aren’t ready, important things are inevitably neglected.

So what are ways that we can work up to the responsibilities of adulthood?

1.) Learn to manage your current responsibilities. Do you let stress in one area of life spill over into your interaction with younger siblings and family members? If you can’t keep your sense of humor and interest in others during the stresses of homework, don’t expect to be able to when the stresses of college, marriage, career, and family weigh on your shoulders. He who would be faithful in much, must first prove himself faithful in little. Learn and practice good time management skills to allow time for the truly important things. Cut back on activities and pastimes that isolate you and absorb large amounts of time but accomplish little. Things like TV, surfing the web, reading magazines, watching movies, etc… Remember that God does not give us conflicting responsibilities.

2.) Choose your companions wisely. Spend time with the type of grown ups you would like to become. Surround yourselves with friends who understand the importance of learning responsibility at an early age and encourage one another in your pursuit of maturity. Remember that your companions are not limited to people.

3.) Pursue progressively greater responsibilities. In a society where responsibility is not expected, young people are rarely given the opportunity to develop the maturity necessary to become a responsible adult. Discipline yourself to pursue and accept progressively greater responsibility. This is the way we grow.

Growing up spoils childhood, only if childhood is misunderstood. If childhood is about having everything you could possibly want, with no responsibility, the result is adultescents, who avoid “growing up” at all costs. But if childhood is about preparation, as it has historically been defined, the result is great men and women who define adulthood as it should be defined: As the fulfillment of childhood. With such an understanding, growing up is not to be avoided, but pursued.

Laughing At Ourselves, Again.

Here's to those wonderful women who only have our best interest in mind: our dear mothers. Click on image to enlarge.


DISCLAIMER: Though my mother hasn't done any of "these" things, she has done her utmost to serve her family by feeding us healthy food (and vitamins). By posting this comic The Rebelution does not intend to make fun of responsible mothers, but rather we recognize the importance of being able to laugh at ourselves and at the common misconceptions others have about us.

9/15/2005

Doug Casey Defines Our Generation: Power Rangers

In response to my post “Ruining Our Lives With Fun,” Stephen, one of our readers, posted a Doug Casey quotation for our consideration:

The kids born between 1982 and perhaps 2002 should be another Hero archetype. My own experience with them is that they're shaping up that way. Represented by clean-cut, straight arrow Power Rangers. Quite a reaction to the sewer-dwelling Mutant Ninja Turtles that were analogs for the previous generation. They're "'can do" kids, programmed to do the right thing in a smoke-free, drug-free, eco-sensitive, politically correct world. Like all Hero types, they respect their elders, do what they're told without much questioning authority.

~ ”Foundations of Crisis” by Doug Casey ~
Stephen followed up this quotation (which is much longer than what I've included here) by asking if any of this resonated with us. Our response would be that though Mr. Casey has evidently put much thought into his writings we find it both difficult to identify and hard to covet the generation he is referencing in the above quotation.

For those who are unaware, an "archetype" is a typical, ideal, or classic example of something. Though the characteristics of "smoke-free: and "drug-free" is arguably typical of my generation (depending on who you ask) it is also arguably atypical. Likewise, the respectfulness and prompt, unquestioning obedience Mr. Casey references is hardly typical of American youth.

To the question of whether or not Mr. Casey's description is "ideal," we would have to say, no. While we encourage a "can-do" attitude among our peers there remains the big question of what they "can-do" and more importantly, what they want to do.

We find it hardly ideal that we ourselves or our peers be “programmed” to do what is “right” within the confines of our “politically correct world.” Ideally, doing right will spring from a changed heart and life, will be defined by God rather than culture and will therefore be voluntary rather than compulsory.

Furthermore, we are of the opinion that rebelution cannot occur within the confines of political-correctness. No one ever initiated widespread reform by agreeing with everybody.

Thank you, Stephen, for your question and for bringing Mr. Casey’s writings to our attention. If we misinterpreted his meaning please correct us. We are eager to learn from his knowledge and experience.
The comment section is open for present and past generations to discuss Mr. Casey's description and/or anything else related. Feel free to answer one or both of the following questions:

1) Which parts of Mr. Casey's description appeal to you? Which parts do not?

2) To what extent should we attempt to be politically-correct? Are there any policically-correct views that you feel especially comfortable or uncomfortable embracing?

9/14/2005

The Rebelution, According To Joel

We must not be satisfied with simply being better than the average teenager. Such a classification reinforces, rather than combats, the myth of adolescence. As the old saying goes, "The exception only proves the rule."

~ From the recent post, "Rebelize Your Youth Group" ~
Joel, of www.chezjoel.com posted the following excellent response to my above statement. I post it here in it's entirety because he develops our thoughts in a wonderfully articulate way:

You have really hit the nail on the head. When I was a youth a great deal was often made about how well behaved I was, and how I never rebelled against my parents. It always disturbed me. One of the reasons for this is just what you've pointed out: by lifting me up as exceptional, the grown-ups were giving implicit acknowledgement of the "rule" my exception supposedly proved. The truth is that the question "will you or will you not rebel against your parents" is a remedial question to begin with. If you decide "I won't get my eyebrows pierced and sell crack," you're then left with a bigger and better question: "what will you do then?"

The real danger for youths intent on rebelution is that these smarter-than-the-average-bear kudos can become the new (and easy) standard. Unfortunately we often get praise for things which weren't particularly difficult to achieve. If we focus on the props and encouragement of those who have low expectations for us, we become mediocre.

It can be challenging to set our sights on excellence, particularly when we're hearing that we're already there. One of life's greatest lessons, which we all must learn could be expressed in the phrase, "That was nothing. Watch this."

Now on to the application: I think it is appropriate for excellence-focused rebelutionaries to call their youth leaders, pastors, teachers and parents on their faint praise for standing out. Challenge yourselves and others to call the normal things "normal", and save that word "excellence" for things which really are.

[Continue to The Rebelution, According to Dad.]

9/12/2005

Kidults (Part 3): Ruining Our Lives With Fun

Moe is a stereotypical American teenager who enjoys multi-annual vacations, has a computer and television in his room, and spends 32+ hours per week playing video games and watching television. Not only that, but nearly all of his income is discretionary, with Dad and Mom underwriting most of his expenses. He shoulders the burden of a job only in order to pay for expensive activities he enjoys and all the while his culture blares the message of a retired Pepsi commercial: “You’re young! Have fun! Drink Pepsi.” He is irresponsible, carefree, and has all the toys he needs to be happy. Life is grand when you’re a stereotypical American teenager.

Fast-forward ten years. Moe is now 27-years-old. He spent over five years to complete college and still owes the institution $15,000. He graduated with a brand-spanking-new degree in cognitive science but is working as a waiter in a local restaurant and says he’s just getting started on finding the career he wants. He’s had three addresses in the past five years and though he’s two years away from the average age for first marriage he sees marriage as a decidedly post-30 milestone. He spends more than the average person on clothes, going to/renting movies, computers and software (including games), and eating out. A perceptive observer might conclude that Moe is either having trouble or just plain doesn’t want to grow up.

Why? Well, let’s ask Matt Swann, a real person, and another 27-year-old. Matt is very similar to Moe, he spent 6 1/2 years to complete college, received a degree in cognitive science, works as a waiter in Atlanta, Georgia, and is just getting started finding the career he wants. When interviewed for a TIME Magazine article entitled, “Meet The Twixter’s” and asked if he was looking forward to marriage, family, and owning a home, Matt replied: “I don’t ever want a lawn. I do not want to be a parent. I mean, hell, why would I? There’s so much fun to be had while you’re young.”

The reason for Matt’s predicament is found in that last sentence: There’s so much fun to be had while you’re young. It seems as if that old Pepsi Commercial had a great effect on Matt’s pubescent mind. Whatever other feelings he has towards adult responsibility we at least know this: he doesn’t think it’s very fun.

My questions are these: Who said life was about having fun? Who said adolescence was about having fun? Who said adultescence was about having fun? Does the truth of the Bible teach it or does the lying tongue of our culture spread it? Did spending his teen years having fun prepare Matt for the rest of his life? And since the answer is obviously “no,” could it be that "just having fun” is a distraction from what’s supposed to be going on? Could it be that "just having fun” is a hindrance to the character and competence that should be developing while we’re still young?

At the root of many of our culture’s problems, including our generation’s problem with growing up is this idea of fun. You can’t get away from it. It’s hammered into our heads through by every kind of media; it’s even enforced by “understanding” and respectable adults who have also bought into the lies of our culture. We live like the Nike slogan: Just Do It. We have tons of fun while we’re young.

Granted, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself, but if it detracts from your development and preparation for the future it’s gone too far. Dr. Mel Levine, author of “Ready or Not, Here Life Comes,” advises parents: “Don’t overindulge kids with spectacular vacations, opulent material possessions and relentless tides of programmed activities after school and during the summers. Avoid creating hyper inflated egos living within protected spheres that will burst in early stages of a career when supervisors won’t care how gorgeous your kids are or what “cool dudes” they’ve become or what great ballplayers they were in high school.”

Dr. Levine’s message is clear: overindulgence in "just having fun” will not prepare you for life. You will reap no benefit from making childhood an impossible act to follow. Rather, you will find adult responsibility dull and unappealing. But guess what? Adult responsibility was originally intended to make up 70% of your life! What a waste to ruin the largest portion of your existence on earth by buzzing yourself numb during childhood!

If only we knew how our culture was shortchanging us by telling us to spend our teenage years just having fun! If only we knew the joys of committed marriage, of fatherhood & motherhood, of faithful stewardship and eventual leadership that are being gutted by the miscellaneous notion that life is about fun.

Here are a few practical steps to “save” the joys of adulthood:

1) Stop viewing your teenage years as a time to goof off before you have to settle down and be responsible. Putting off responsibility does not prepare you for responsibility. The teen years offer the best time of preparation you’ll every have. No other time in your life will allow you such undistracted preparation. No other time in your life is as pivotal to what you will become as these years.

2) Don’t separate what you are now from what you will become. If you hope to be a stay-at-home mom someday but at age sixteen can’t stand sitting around at home for two days straight then there’s a problem! If you won’t be able to play 20+ hours of video games per week after you’re married, don’t play that much now. Don’t expect extreme transitions to be made smoothly. Your best chance is to become now what you want to be then.

3) Begin establishing deadlines for yourself, assigning yourself responsibilities, and setting priorities. Anything that helps you develop self-discipline and responsibility. These characteristics are markers of maturity.

4) Limit your time spent playing video games, watching television, randomly surfing the web, and listening to music with headphones. All of these activities tend to isolate you and prevent you from the developing the kind of personality and character that makes living with you enjoyable. Work at simply interacting with people more, better yet, organize an activity (besides watching a movie, playing video games, etc.).

For example, my eleven-year-old brother Isaac just organized a 50+ player airsoft war on our property. He got all of these people to show up at the right place and at the right time. He made tons of phone calls to ensure that everyone had a working gun and safety goggles. He divided them all up into to even teams and we had blast last Sunday.

This story tells you that we are not against having fun, but we do believe that our fun should occur in such a way that it prepares us for the rest of life, rather than ruining us for it. Isaac developed organization and leadership skills as well as an ability to work with people that will serve him all his life. And he’s just eleven-years-old! You can do this too.

Continue Series with Part Four: I'm Pro-Choice: Choosing To Grow Up

9/11/2005

Introducing: Jiffy N' Lou (Installment #101)

This post will go down in rebelutionary history as the first installment of the homeschool-cult-classic-comic: Jiffy N' Lou! With special permission from the artist, The Rebelution is proud to present what many herald as the first and only homeschool comic strip! Jiffy N' Lou debuted in Joshua Harris' New Attitude Magazine back in 1994 and retired with the magazine in 1997. Then, for almost eight years, these homeschool cultural icons have vanished from the public eye.

Here on The Rebelution they are about to make their comeback, proving once again to the world that homeschool comic strips do indeed fill a gap that needs to be filled. Click on image to enlarge:

Continue to Jiffy N' Lou: Installment #102
Note: There are comments on this post, whether they show up below or not. Click on the "0 Comments" link to view.

9/10/2005

"Rebelize" Your Youth Group

I have pondered the “specifics” over the past week, and I finally came to the following conclusion: Brett and I can’t tell specific individuals exactly what they’re supposed to do. That’s between you, your family, and God. We can, however, give you specific “generalities” for all types of roles.

In two previous entries, My iPod Is My Best Friend and A Shining Salty City On A Stand, I laid several foundational, but general, principles upon which to base a rebelution. The first was to recognize the importance of carefully choosing our companions, both human and non-human (books, magazines, television, blogs, etc…). The second was to accurately understand Christ’s commandment to be salt and light. In the comment section of the second post, an interesting discussion arose regarding the nature of a rebelution. Several comments stood out, beginning when Karen said:

My parents started homsechooling over a decade ago with the goal of being world-changers. They have had to come to terms with the fact that they probably won't see a total reformation of American culture in their lifetimes. They have played a part in what God is doing, but it has not been a very glamorous part. Their battle has been one of being disciplined and keeping the faith.

I believe the time is right for a reformation, and I want to take part in it more than I want just about anything else. But I have to have enough faith to remain disciplined and steady no matter what God has for me.
Later on David added:
Too many people have lost the zeal for God's House that once marked the Church.
While this was not the extent of the discussion, I would like to focus, in this post, on the need for a specific type of reformation. The big focus of A Shining Salty City On Stand was the necessity of both individuals and community. While I did not directly mention this in that post, what we were talking about was a perfect description of the Body of Christ, the Church. A body has many different parts, all of which have different strengths and weakness, different functions and responsibilities, but who work together to accomplish the purpose of the Head, Jesus Christ. This is also true of a rebelution, which is why our first step must be to awaken the church.

It’s flattering when the world admires your maturity and vision. It’s incredibly gratifying when people jokingly say, “Wow! Whoever’s taking the democratic presidential nomination in 2040, watch out!” The problem with this is that it places you into the category of a “statistical anomaly.” We must not be satisfied with simply being better than the average teenager. Such a classification reinforces, rather than combats, the myth of adolescence. As the old saying goes, “The exception only proves the rule.”

When we’re an individual exception, we stand out as an individual. The tendency is to get comfortable with being “one-of-a-kind.” We then fail to encourage others to reach their full potential, because we don’t want them to steal our limelight. Such an attitude goes directly against the heart of a rebelution and is detrimental to its cause.

We cannot be elitist. We must fight for humility. Even while we decry the state of our fellow youth, we must not condemn or separate ourselves from them. The heart of a rebelution is the truth that all young people have the ability to accomplish much greater things than our culture would have them to think. Because of that, we must be constant encouragers. As Jesus said, “Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.”

To be a rebelutionary, we must constantly strive to reduce the focus on ourselves as individuals, and to place the focus on the community of the Church. The only way to truly combat cultural expectations is to create a culture that results in an entire community of mature and responsible young people. To effect widespread change, we must produce such a communities in churches across the nation. Sadly, the average youth group in the U.S. today is falling incredibly short of this calling.

I challenge each of you to become a reformer among your church’s youth. Change the cultural expectations of young people in your local church. Create a local community that defies our culture’s expectations. The homeschool movement started with a vision to change the culture by reforming the home. The next step is to reform the church.
I want the comment section to be brainstorm central. Start by thinking about, and then pooling your answers, to the following preliminary questions:

1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?

2.) Who do you need collaborate with within your church in order to bring about change?
Please do not limit yourself to the above questions. Further questions and thoughts on the posts are encouraged. Soli Deo Gloria!

[Continue to The Rebelution, According to Joel.]