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

6/30/2006

Brothers and Sisters: Introduction

Brett and I are very excited to announce a new series of posts by Sarah, Stephen, and Grace Mally, sibling co-authors of the book Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends, who kindly took some time out of their busy schedule to write several posts specifically for our readers here on The Rebelution. We are so glad they did.
“Sarah, I am trying to apply God’s ways to my life,” a young lady told me recently, a bright smile on her face. We talked for several minutes as she enthusiastically shared what the Lord was doing in her life.

Yet suddenly her smile faded into a look of distress, and with frustration she explained, “But Sarah, the hardest thing for me, the very hardest thing, is getting along with my younger sister.” As I tried to give her a few ideas about how she might be able to improve this relationship, she repeated emphatically that it was just so hard.

It is hard. In fact, many young people say that getting along with their siblings is one of the hardest things for them to do. But as rebelutionaries, our goal cannot simply be to “get along” or “survive” with our brothers and sisters, but rather to make them our closest friends.

It doesn’t take long to realize, however, that this isn’t going to be easy. The only way to succeed in these relationships, is by being willing to do hard things. Below are three of the most important—yet very hardest—things to do.
  • Part 1: Saying "I Was Wrong" by Sarah
  • Part 2: Respond Correctly to Irritations by Grace
  • Part 3: Let Someone Else Win by Stephen
Over the course of this three-part series, my siblings and I will be taking a closer look at each of these "hard things." We hope you'll join us.
Be sure to check back on Monday for the first installment of the the new series, Brothers and Sisters. While you wait check out Sarah, Stephen, and Grace's ministry website: www.brothersandsisters.net

6/28/2006

Busy Signal(s): Cell-ing Our Souls

"In case you were, I don't know, too busy text-messaging to notice, Americans today are looking to use their cell phones for a lot more than just phoning people."

— Dave Wischnowsky, Enter The Mind of a Teen, June 21, 2006
Cell Phone, Help Me Cheat On My Test
According to recent Siemens Communications Inc. survey many Americans want their cell phones to not only serve as their phone, but also as their MP3 & video player, gaming console, digital camera, and email service.

Not only that, but phone companies are quickly learning that one of their largest markets -- teenagers -- want even more than that.

"Especially among younger people, it appears that customers are ahead of cell phone companies in devising new applications," says an unnamed Siemens Communications spokesman.

But what kind of new features are teenagers across the country clamoring for? That was the question MediaPost.com intended to answer by conducting interviews with dozens of teens across the country.

"We decided a little man-on-the-street follow-up was necessary to confirm that teens want new cell phone features," said MediaPost.com columnist, George Simpson.

The answers offered not only a surprising array of farfetched features, but also a disheartening window into the mind of the American teen -- full of obvious intent to use technology to aid and abet irresponsibility, rebellion against parental authority, and in several instances, crime itself (see below).

Seventeen-year-old, Rye, New York: "I want an auto-redial feature that leaves a voice mail that says, 'I am so NOT talking to you right now.' That would be a real time-saver."

Eighteen-year-old from Garden City, New York: "I wish I could put my cell on the dashboard and have it give me a ringtone like 'I Shot the Sheriff' when I hit a radar zone."

Fifteen-year-old from Calabasas, California: "I'd like to be able to scan in exam questions so I can text them to my friends in the library. My thumbs get really tired having to manually enter them now."

Fifteen-year-old from Hartford, Conneticut: "I want a cell phone that will tell me if surveillance cameras in the mall are fixed on me. That'd be a big help."

Nineteen-year-old, Park City, Utah: "I want a countdown bar, like the battery indicator, that tells me when I am running out of 'anytime' minutes and I'll have to pay back my Dad for the calls that go over the plan."

Fourteen-year-old, Lexington, Virginia: "I want built-in text copy that I can insert into messages with real phrases like "Oh, my god!"; "So totally"; "She is SUCH a [bleep]"; and "Promise me you won't tell anyone else, but..."

Fifteen-year-old, Chicago: "I want a phone that has different background noises, like crowds at a football game or class period change bells that you can switch on, so my parents won't know where I really am when they call."

Eighteen-year-old, Miami: "I want a wire extension that projects my cell screen on my glasses so I can play 'Bejeweled' without looking down during Earth Science. Man, that class really sucks. And I know that fascist teacher totally hates me."

Fifteen-year-old from New Canaan, Conneticut: "I want a voice filter that makes it sound like I'm sober when I call my parents."

Sixteen-year-old from Houston: "I need to be able to block my ex-boyfriend's text and voice calls. He is driving me crazy. You know I tol' him it was O-Vah, but he don't listen."
At School: The New "Mosquito" Ring ToneEven without these crazy features cell phone use is becoming a big problem in government schools for both high school and middle school age-groups -- so much so that schools are having to impose strict policies regarding cell phone use on school property.

"Most public schools have strict policies regarding cell phones at school," says Greg Taillon in his article, "Cell Phones For Kids?" on Preteenagers Today, "I found out that some instructors will deduct up to 5 percent of a child’s grade for a ringing cell phone in the classroom."

Regardless of school policies, Mr. Taillon estimates that up to 75 percent of middle school children have their own cell phone, with this percentage rising in the high school years.

Not only that, but many teens are finding ways around rules against cell phone use in the classroom -- most notably by utilizing a high-pitched ring tone that teens can hear but most adults can't due to the natural loss of hearing sensitivity as a person ages.

"When I heard about it I didn't believe it at first," said Donna Lewis, a technology teacher at the Trinity School in Manhattan in an article in the New York Times. "But one of the kids gave me a copy, and I sent it to a colleague. She played it for her first graders. All of them could hear it, and neither she nor I could."

The high-pitched buzz was originally created to annoy teenagers that tried to congregate in malls while not disturbing adult shoppers. The plan has backfired due to an ingenious coup by modern teenagers, but it is highly unfortunate we can't find something better to do.

Nevertheless, Alex and I encourage you to make the ring tone a family science lesson and compare the ability of different family-members to hear the sound. You can download an MP3 by clicking here. After your done, study this pitch chart, made available by NYtimes.com.

Text-Messaging: U Could B Dumber 4 It
Teenage America's obsession with their cell phones, especially with popular text-messaging, could be damaging our IQ's, according to a recent study conducted by King's College London.

The study of 1,100 adults found their intelligence declined as tasks were interrupted by incoming e-mails and text messages. The average reduction of 10 IQ points, though temporary, is more than double the four-point loss associated with smoking marijuana.

"Doziness, lethargy and an increasing inability to focus reached 'startling' levels in the trials by 1,100 people," writes Martin Wainwright with Guardian Unlimited. It seems that constant interruptions not only damages productivity, but also wears the mind down with constant questions and challenges on often unrelated topics.

According to the JSonline.com, the effect on those who tried to juggle new messages with existing work was the equivalent, over a day, to the loss of a entire night's sleep.

Mike Salman, chief executive officer of All Star Wireless Communications said that he couldn't address the issue of falling smarts. But he did say that most of his young clientele come to his shop seeking cell phones for texting, not talking.

"It's the first question they ask," Salman said, "whether or not a certain phone is good for text messaging or e-mail. And honestly, I'd say more than half of the people who come to me don't even ask about phones for talking on them."

Email Is, Like, So Yesterday

As yet another indication that our desire for instant gratification has reached a crisis-stage, email is being neglected in favor of the more "instant" alternative: text-messaging.

"It's too complicated to send e-mail," explains 14-year-old Jennica Paho of San Jose, "I have to go in and type it, and send it, then wait for a reply."

Ironically, many arguments that were once made in favor of email are now being used against it. In his interview with MercuryNews.com, Alex Stikeleather, 17, of Palo Alto, argues that "e-mail is more like snail mail."

With text-messaging and instant messaging on the rise many employers are becoming concerned because their younger employees are instant-messaging while at work.

"It's an issue lots of employers are having to deal with," says Michael Wood, vice-president of Teen Research Unlimited in Chicago, "The concept of always staying connected with their friends -- they're going to take that with them" as they grow older.

Many teenagers spend hours each day "texting" and "IMing" their many friends. Haggai Dziesietnik, a senior at a California high school says he sends and receives about 280 text messages a day, but in one three-day weekend at Tahoe he logged about 4,000.

"The more friends you have, the more cool you are," says Aston Carney, 11, from San Jose, and most students it seems believe that technology is the best way to make and keep those friends.

What Do You Think?
As always, our goal is not just to provide information but also to encourage thoughtful discussion. Here's a few questions to get us started:
  • How do we guard ourselves from using technology as a way to get away with sin, instead of as a tool to glorify God?
  • What are your thoughts on our generation's obsession with text-messaging and IMing?
  • How much have you noticed "texting" among your own group of friends and acquaintances? How much do you do it?
  • Where do you think the balance is between using technology to be more effective for God and wasting time, and possibly, energy and brain cells?
  • How do you think technology is changing the definition of "friendship" among young people today?

6/25/2006

"Thank You" from Brittany McComb

Earlier this evening, Brittany posted a "thank you" message on her Myspace to all of her friends and to others supporting her stand. Praise God for her Christ-honoring attitude. And please, remember to keep Brittany in your prayers.
Saturday, June 24, 2006 - (9:03 PM)

I am writing tonight to give everyone one big, huge, heartfelt thank you. All of the support and encouragement I have received lifts my spirits and urges me to continue to focus on Christ and His love and His plan. And this is where I get my energy and drive to continue forward with all of this. Because the truth is, I wasn't angry that my freedom of speech was denied. I was determined to follow the convictions of my heart, the urging of the Holy Spirit to share God's amazing, all encompassing, forgiving in all circumstances, love.

All of your encouragment has led me to want to encourage you. The stand I took was one small step, one small yes to God's call. After I took this step you all joined in this fight. It amazes me, it astounds me what God is doing, how He took an event where man denied Him and turned it around for His own glory. He truly is all powerful.

When we realize we are nothing, God makes us something. David tells us "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise" in Psalm 51:17. Just know that all those who have told me they respect and admire me, the one who you respect and admire is truly Christ in me. I am nothing without Him. But, it rouses every sense in my soul to think that I am EVERYTHING with Him. I have everything I will ever need, every bit of strength, every word that needs uttering, every thought, every smile, every tear, every bit of compassion. And all that I need to do is tap into His source of power- his Word. Reading his word, sitting silent in His presence, worshiping His name with His people...He will give you all you need for this fight and for this life.

Continue to pray that Christians will be victorious in this fight, that we will be able to proclaim His name, by law, anywhere and everywhere we feel compelled to do so. He says to us, "Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession." -Psalm 2:8...Ask and I will. Not ask and I might. Not Ask and I will put it ahead of you to run after and catch. Ask and I will.

In Christ alone, always and forever,

Brit
For full coverage of Brittany's valedictorian speech, click here.

Video: Brittany McComb on the Today Show

Watch Brittany McComb on the Today Show. Clicking on the snapshot will take you to the MSNBC.com media center. To download the Quicktime version (.mov) click here.
(HT: Counting Stones of Faith)
For full coverage of Brittany McComb's valedictorian speech, click here.

Video: Brittany McComb Speech and Crowd Reaction

UPDATE: Watch the extended video of the speech:

-- Click Here --
NBC5i.com has footage from Brittany McComb's speech (read our full coverage). To launch the streaming Windows Media file (.asx) click on the snapshot above or use this link.*
The video itself is slightly confusing, jumping between several clips and cutting the audio several times, seemingly for no reason. A few things remain very clear, however:
  • The cheers and applause that greeted Brittany's last audible line: "God's love is so great that he gave His only son up..."
  • The crowd's response to Brittany's mic being cut. Many in the audience began to boo, including a woman who is clearly heard yelling, "Turn the mic back on!"
The end of the video shows Brittany with her parents outside, being interviewed, and holding her speech, handwritten on index cards.

NOTE: If any of our more tech-savvy or Windows-using readers (we're not very familiar with Windows) have a better way of making this video (or other videos) viewable/downloadable, let us know.

Brittany never got to Card #10, which reads "... life to the fullest. I now desire not my own will but the will of God for my life - however crazy or extravagant or seemingly mundane and uneventful that may prove..." (read the full speech)
*If you are a Mac user and don't have Window Media Player, download Flip4Mac from the Microsoft website to view the WMV/WMA files in Quicktime. For Flip4Mac users, you can download the video by clicking here.

For full coverage of Brittany McComb's valedictorian speech, click here.

6/24/2006

Full Text of Brittany McComb's Speech

On June 15, 2006 the Clark County School District halted the graduation speech of Foothill High School valedictorian Brittany McComb. District officials said Brittany's references to Christianity amounted to proselytizing. Below is the full-text of Ms. McComb's speech. (HT: Review-Journal)
Do you remember those blocks? The ones that fit into cut-outs and teach you all the different shapes? The ones you played with before kindergarten, during the good old, no-grades, no-pressure preschool days? I find it funny how easily amused we are as children. Many of us would have sat on the story rug for hours with those blocks, trying to fit the circle into the square cut-out. Thank the Lord for patient teachers.

As one of the valedictorians for our senior class, many might assume I caught on to which blocks fit into which cut-outs quickly. But, to be honest, it took me awhile. Up until my freshman year in high school, I continually filled certain voids with shapes that proved often peculiar and always too small.

The main shape I wrestled with over the years remains my accomplishments. They defined my self-worth at a young age. I swam competitively throughout junior high and high school. If I took third in a competition rather than first, I found I missed the mark; I failed.

But strangely enough, if I took first, I belittled my success, and even first place left me feeling empty. Either way, the shape entitled "accomplishments" proved too small to fill the void, constantly reminding me living means something more. Something more than me and what I do with my life, something more than my friends and what they do with their own lives.

The summer after my freshman year, I quit swimming. I quit trying to fill the huge void in my soul with the meager accomplishments I obtained there. After quitting, this amazing sense of peace rushed over me and I noticed, after 15 years of sitting on the story-time rug, this teacher standing above me, trying to help me: God. I disregarded His guidance for years, and all the while, He sought to show me what shape fits into the cut-out in my soul.

This hole gapes as a wide-open trench when filled with swimming, with friends, with family, with dating, with shopping, with partying, with drinking, with anything but God. But His love fits. His love is "that something more" we all desire. It's unprejudiced, it's merciful, it's free, it's real, it's huge and it's everlasting [audience cheering and applause]. God's love is so great that he gave His only son up . . . [Microphone goes dead here.]
Interestingly enough, the school officials knew what was coming next when they cut Brittany's mike -- they had read her speech beforehand and edited out references to God, to Christ, and the Bible. Brittany determined to deliver her speech unedited as an expression of her freedom of speech, but was prevented from doing so.

Below is the rest of the speech Brittany planned to give. School officials called it proselytizing. Brittany says she was just attributing her success in school to Christ and introducing her classmates to the Person who had made the biggest difference in her life.
[His only son up . . .] to an excruciating death on a cross so His blood would cover all our shortcomings and provide for us a way to heaven in accepting this grace.

This is why Christ died. John 10:10 says He died so we no longer have to reach in vain for the magnificence of the stars and find we always fall short, so we can have life -- and life to the fullest. I now desire not my own will, but the will of God for my life -- however crazy and extravagant, or seemingly mundane and uneventful that might be. Strangely enough, surrendering my own will for the will of God, giving up control, gave me peace, gave me a calm I can't even begin to express with words.

Four years ago, recognition as one of the valedictorians for our senior class would have been just another attempt to fit the circle into the square cut-out. But because my heart is so full of God's love, the honor of speaking today is just that: an honor. Without it, I would feel just as full and purposeful as I do at this moment.

And I can guarantee, 100 percent, no doubt in my mind, that as I choose to fill myself with God's love rather than with the things society tells me will satisfy me, I will find success, I will always retain a sense of self-worth. I will thrive whether I attend a prestigious university next fall and become a successful career man or woman or begin a life-long manager position at McDonald's.

Because the fact of the matter remains, man possesses an innate desire to take part in something greater than himself. That something is God's plan. And God's plan for each of our lives may not leave us with an impressive and extensive resume, but if we pursue His plan, He promises to fill us. Jeremiah 29:11 says, " 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.' "

Trust me, this block fits.
For our full coverage of Brittany McComb's story, click here.

Video: Brittany McComb on Hannity & Colmes

You can watch Brittany McComb on Hannity and Colmes, hosted by YouTube (click the screenshot or click here).

UPDATE: If you prefer, download the Windows Media (.wmv) version by clicking here (HT: exposingtheleft.com).

An excerpt from the interview:

Sean Hannity: They want to silence you! What does that tell about our society right now? That you can talk about anything but that.

Brittany: I agree, it's just... You know, I've succeeded in school, I've succeeded in a lot of areas, and I attribute it all to Christ and all to that foundation in my life. A lot of my knowledge is based on Biblical truths, and that's how I feel I did well in school. And I just wanted to tell my fellow classmates that.

Hannity: So in the middle of the speech, you mention God and Jesus Christ and your mic goes dead, they just cut it off. So what was the reaction of the crowd?

Brittany: Well, when I started talking about God's love and how unprejudiced and merciful and free and huge and just amazing it is, the crowd started cheering and they got excited and that was really encouraging. And when I started to talk about Christ, which is how God's love is manifested, in my opinion, they got angry and they cut off the mic.
For full coverage of Brittany McComb's valedictorian speech, click here.

6/23/2006

Looking For Something?

We are closing out a "crusade" to make it easier for people to find old Rebelution series and posts they want to re-read or share with a friend. Below are highlights and summaries of some of the changes being made to the sidebar.
The Essentials has been updated to include two very old series, "The Importance of Character" and "The World Is Flat," and we've added seven new posts under Do Hard Things and The Rebelution Defined.
The Other Stuff section of our sidebar now includes links to Rebelutionary Meetings and several posts related to our Alabama Trip -- as seen in the picture to the right. Multiple other posts have been added too.
The Rebelution Blogroll has been cleaned up and restocked with exciting new teen bloggers and excellent non-blog sites.
  • Hans Zeiger, newfound friend, rebelutionary college student, and prolific author (we're currently reading his latest book, Reagan's Children) has been added to the blogroll with his team-authored blog, Reagan's Children.
  • HomeschoolAlumni.org exists to help homeschool graduates "meet, share ideas, and find community with other alumni." It's been added under Good Non-Blog Sites as a helpful resource to our many homeschool readers.
  • Keepers of the Heart and Home is a new online, quarterly publication seeking to edify, enrich, and encourage Christian homeschooled daughters in their calling. You'll find it in the Good Non-Blog Sites section.
UPDATE: Not only do we have a new sidebar button for our booklist, but we've also updated the booklist with some of the new books we're reading, have read, or plan to read this summer.
Check it out: Click Here
Are there any great blogs, websites, or books we've missed? Let us know! Also, if you have suggestions for additional measures we can take to make The Rebelution more user-friendly, please feel free to use email, or the comment section to share your ideas.

Email us at: therebelution [at] gmail [dot] com

6/22/2006

Brittany McComb: Silenced At Graduation

This post serves as coverage central for Brittany McComb's story. Updates will be added directly below in reverse chronological order. For first time vistors, the original post is below the updates.
UPDATE #10: Read an interview with Brittany McComb conducted by Richard Abowitz of the latimes.com blog.

UPDATE #9: Read the legal brief submitted by The Rutherford Institute in the First Amendment lawsuit they have filed in Brittany's defense. It includes a detailed account of the events leading up to the graduation.

UPDATE #8: Watch an extended video of Brittany's graduation speech. (Source: The Rutherford Institute)

UPDATE #7: Read the Christ-honoring letter Brittany wrote to thank her friends and supporters, posted on her Myspace blog.

UPDATE #6: Watch Brittany McComb on the Today Show with her parents. (HT: Counting Stones of Faith)

UPDATE #5: Watch a video with clips of Brittany McComb's speech and hear the audience's response when her mic is turned off. (Courtesy of NBC5i.com)

UPDATE #4: Read the full text of Brittany's McComb graduation speech. (HT: Review-Journal)


UPDATE #3:
You can watch Brittany McComb on Hannity and Colmes or just read the excerpt.

UPDATE #2:
Reverend Jerry Falwell's column, published June 24th on WorldNetDaily, covers Brittany McComb's story in the context of what he calls "a national effort to eradicate our religious freedoms."

UPDATE #1:
LifeSite.net just published an article that contains excerpts from Brittany's appearance on "Jay Sekulow Live!" and AgapePress announces that Foothill High School will be sued as early as next week for silencing her.

"She knew her speech as valedictorian of Foothill High School would be cut short, but Brittany McComb was determined to tell her fellow graduates what was on her mind and in her heart.

But before she could get to the word in her speech that meant the most to her -- Christ -- her microphone went dead."
(cont'd article @ reviewjournal.com)
In "Noah Rineresque" fashion, 18-year-old valedictorian Brittany McComb of Foothill High School in Henderson, NV, delivered her original graduation speech -- complete with two references to the Lord, nine mentions of God and one mention of Christ -- instead of the politically-correct version approved by school administrators. Brittany credits her faith in Christ as the primary reason for her success in school, and said she couldn't give her valediction without thanking and acknowledging Him. But before she was half-way through, the school cut her microphone.

Now Brittany is using the unasked-for, but unavoidable national platform the controversy has thrust upon her to campaign for religious freedom and to testify for her Lord and Savior before thousands upon thousands of watching eyes.

Brittany, The Rebelution applauds you for your stand and for your committment to our Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank you for your example. Our prayers are with you.

For more information, go read the Associated Press article, Ben Shapiro's column over at WorldNetDaily, and the Rutherford Institute's press release announcing its decision to legally-represent Brittany in filing a lawsuit against the school district.
REACHING A VERDICT
Read the following interaction from the post Brittany McComb: Legal Brief Available, where we address the argument that Brittany lied and the question of whether we would be just as supportive if she had been Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu.

Ian Timothy: The only reason I am not just overwhelmingly supportive of this whole McComb ordeal because after all she did LIE. No matter how valiant it might appear to mention the things of Christ that she did you can't get around the fact that she did what she said she would not do. As much as I want to support her my conscience can't let that one small, yet pivital fact be ignored.

The Rebelution: Ian, I really appreciate your comments on this issue, because I know that a lot of people (myself included) have had similar thoughts.

From what I have read, watched, and listened to (i.e. almost everything), I would not say that Brittany lied. To be more precise, I don't believe that she said she would present the edited version of her speech while still planning to give the non-edited version. I think the final decision to go with the original speech came much closer to the actual ceremony.

I think it's also important to note that, at the time, the McCombs and their attorney were in the midst of their attempts to contact and/or meet with the school district attorney to discuss the speech. According to the legal brief, none of their calls were ever returned.

After giving this a lot of thought, the conclusion I believe best explains the facts is that, when Brittany said that she would give the edited version of her speech, she was still hoping that her parents would be able to settle the matter with the school district attorney, whether favorably or unfavorably, prior to the graduation ceremony. It wasn't intended to deceive. Instead, it was intended to appease them until her parents could resolve the issue. Of course, when the school district attorney repeatedly failed to return their calls requesting to meet with him, Brittany was faced with a last-minute decision. She could 1) go along and give the edited speech or 2) give the speech that God had placed on her heart. From the little I have seen of Brittany's heart for Christ, I don't believe she could have stood before her classmates and their families and given a speech with only a generic reference to a "divine being."

However, from an admittedly limited perspective on the last several days and hours before her graduation, I believe that it probably would have been better for Brittany to communicate her decision to the school officials prior to the ceremony. It would likely have resulted in a similar censorship and violation of her freedom of speech/religion, but would have given the school district no basis to say that she was trying to be deceptive.

Hindsight is always 20-20 (or at least, closer to it). But what I can say with confidence is that Brittany's motivation was and is to do whatever God has called her to do (see the full text of her speech). From what I can tell, Brittany has honored her parents in this situation from the beginning. She was certainly not trying to draw national attention. She was simply seeking to share the message God had placed on her heart. Because of that, she has our support.

Suzannah: May I ask if you would have been similarly supportive if it had been a Jew, Muslim, or Hindu who had done the same thing as Brittany?

The Rebelution: Suzannah, I do not expect secular school district officials to act in accordance with my Christian presuppositions. Because of that, my opposition to their actions stems from what I see as a violation of Brittany's constitutional rights of free speech and freedom of religion, as well as violating Clark County school district regulations, which state:
Where students or other private graduation speakers are selected on the basis of genuinely neutral, evenhanded criteria and retain primary control over the content of their expression... that expression is not attributable to the school and, therefore, may not be restricted because of its religious (or anti-religious) content. To avoid any mistaken perception that a school endorses student or other private speech that is not in fact attributable to the school, school officials may make appropriate neutral disclaimers to clarify that such speech is not school sponsored.
In answer to your question: I would be similarly opposed to the school district, even if Brittany was a member of another religion. However, my support of Brittany goes beyond the district regulations or the text of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. In that sense, my support would differ. Does that make sense?

For more discussion, click here.
For legal purposes it should be noted that the first picture of Brittany McComb is property of K.M. Cannon and Review Journal. It has been edited for use in this post.

6/21/2006

Technical Difficulties: Commenting "Malfunction"

Imagine for a moment a dark-haired, brown-eyed young man, about 17 years old, sitting in front of a white iBook laptop in an apartment in Alabama and experimenting with the commenting features for his blog.

Imagine this young man innocently clicking on "Beta Features" and, being full of curiosity, enabling the first feature he sees: comment moderation.

Further, imagine this young man exiting his browser and -- in the hustle and bustle of the work he is doing -- promptly forgetting all about enabling comment moderation and its consequences.

Finally, imagine the feeling in this young man's stomach when he remembers what he had done (two and a half weeks later) and realizes that there are over 30 comments that neither he nor his brother had seen or responded to -- all pending his "moderation" before they would appear on the blog.

You can stop imagining.

Sadly, the above story is all too real. You see, I (Alex) am that dark-haired, brown-eyed young man and I did, in fact, enable comment moderation two and a half weeks ago and promptly forget all about it.

My deep apologies to everyone who has commented over the past several weeks and not received a response.

As of this evening, at 11:30 PM (PST), all comments have been restored and comment moderation has been disabled. Commenting will now work as it did before and questions will be answered shortly.

Thank you all for your forbearance. God bless you!

6/20/2006

Alabama Recap: The Rebelution Works

Not Posting Is A Hard Thing
Few things are more difficult for Alex and me than not posting. We love to share what we've been thinking about and get input, feedback, and constructive criticism. We love the way that blogging, and reading good blogs, helps us to constantly come up with ways to use this season of our lives to prepare ourselves for an entire life of doing hard, counter-cultural things for the glory of God.

Nevertheless, blogging isn't enough. At some point words become empty unless they are matched with appropriate action. The public proclamation of the ideas behind the Rebelution is meaningless unless it is met with faithful, personal practice of doing hard things in our culture of low expectations.

That is why Alex and I are always thrilled to hear your stories, because your stories prove that the Rebelution works. Blog posts are great, but they can't compare with even one story of how a commitment to "do hard things" changed a fellow young person's life, making him more effective for Christ at home, at school, at church, and in the workplace.

Today we get to share many stories -- stories from our time in Alabama -- that beautifully illustrate what can happen when young people break the shackles of cultural expectations and begin doing what God's Word and history prove they're capable of.

The Rebelution Works
In Alabama
Our time in Alabama as Grassroots Directors for four statewide campaigns for the Supreme Court was an intense 90 days of the hardest things we have ever done -- in the muggiest climate we've ever endured. But after three months of 60-80 hour work weeks, working with rebelutionaries across the country to pull off large-scale projects in short periods of time, we can proudly report that the Rebelution not only works, it thrives.

National organizations like Vision Forum and Focus On The Family have said that the Alabama Supreme Court races may have been the most important races in the nation. They were, of course, referring to the candidates and the issues involved. However, rebelutionaries should have an additional reason to view these races as significant, irregardless of the election returns; and that is the unprecedented level of teenage involvement in this historic election.

Whether it was event planning or Get-Out-The-Vote operations, graphic and web design or campaign photography and videography, there were teenagers taking on adult levels of responsibility and performing with high levels of competence. In the end, their efforts were not enough to overcome a nearly 10 to 1 spending deficit. But although they didn't meet with electoral success, what they accomplished, as teenagers, should lose none of its glory.

Today Alex and I would like to introduce to you just a few of the teenage mavericks who accomplished ground-breaking, expectation-shattering things over the past few months.

Colton Davie (Age 17): Photo & Video

Our longtime readers will recognize the name and face of Colton Davie, the young independent filmmaker who, at 16 years of age, was awarded Best Young Filmmaker at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival for his film, Bluestate - Tolerance for All.

Colton put his abilities to work on the Supreme Court races, serving as official campaign photographer & videographer. In addition to traveling with Alex and me to events across the state of Alabama, including our week-long Join the Rebelution Tour, Colton took part in video and photo shoots for television ads and conducted photo shoots for the Governor's race and all four State Supreme Court races.

Many of his photographs can be seen on Justice Tom Parker's campaign website, designed by Alex King and Jake Smith (see below).

Colton at the Alabama Supreme Court building for a field test in preparation for Justice Tom Parker's campaign announcement.
Noah (17) & Jonathan (17): Newspaper Distribution
Political blogs and newspapers around Alabama commented on a small newspaper called, The Alabama Conservative Review, which was "generously circulated" around the state in late April, seemingly overnight. They recognized that it strongly supported Justice Tom Parker and his allies and was printed by a third-party organization, Republicans for Conservative Judges. However, they never did, and never would guess that teenagers were behind the distribution blitz that blanketed most of North and Central Alabama.

Noah Sanders (pictured on left) and Jonathan Monplaisir, two fellow Christian homeschoolers and rebelutionaries, joined forces with me in orchestrating the one the largest, if not the largest, concentrated grassroots operations of Alabama's election season.

With less than two weeks to plan, we lined up food, housing, and transportation for 55 college students from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, charted eight, 9-hour newspaper distribution routes for the students to drive, and designed a detailed strategy for hitting the biggest, loudest event in Alabama: the Talladega Superspeedway NASCAR races.

By the time the dust had settled we had distributed nearly 200,000 newspapers in less than 36 hours -- at gas stations, restaurants, hotels, convenience stores, auto shops, and on the ground at Talledega -- a grassroots record not soon to be matched.

Talladega Superspeedway property covers 3,000 acres and hosts up to 750,000 NASCAR fans, twice annually.
Two out of thirty-two Route Books assembled by Noah and myself. In order keep our out-of-state college students from getting lost, these books included a route overview, directions with accompanying maps, directions with turn-by-turn maps, detailed maps for high-density drop locations, and a list of drop locations arranged in order according to distance from start.
Alex King (17) & Jake Smith (17): Web Designers
If you haven't had the privilege to witness the work of the design team over at StillThinking, you're missing out. Alex King and Jake Smith are Christian homeschool teens, fellow rebelutionary bloggers, and co-founders of the popular Regenerate Our Culture Online Magazine (ROC).

When Alex and I were asked to recommend a web design team we didn't have to think twice. StillThinking got the recommendation and the contract. The result was one of the most professional-looking campaign sites we've ever seen.

Working with us despite the hectic schedule of the campaign and the time difference (Alex King lives in Maine), the website was produced quickly, but also with a high level of quality.

www.parkerforchiefjustice.com
Heidi Bentley (17): Mobile County Coordinator
Our campaign staff often voiced the wish that we had 67 Bentley Families -- one for each county in Alabama. As County Coordinators for one of the largest counties in the state, their enthusiasm and competence was unmatched -- and heading up their efforts was 17-year-old daughter, Heidi Bentley.

Now when I first started working with Heidi, I thought she was the 24-year-old Bentley daughter, not the 17-year-old. Nevertheless, even with this misconception I was continually impressed by the competence of this young lady I had never met, but had only interacted with by phone and through email. I quickly gained the impression that she was very competent, but I didn't realize that I had misjudged her age by seven years.

By the time I discovered her real age, it was too late. Not only had she already completed many large projects, but she was serving as host for our Join the Rebelution Tour stop in Mobile County. She was reserving a facility, handling publicity, and her family was providing food and housing for our whole team -- including our driver, Nicholas Beckham, and videographer, Colton Davie. (cont'd below)

At a tour stop in south Alabama, with Emily Moore.
(cont'd) My initial response was to feel bad for demanding so much from her -- then it hit me: Not only had Heidi done everything I asked, but she did it all very well. I had expected her to possess the responsibility and competence of someone far older, and she, in turn, had exceeded my expecations.

Isn't that exactly what the Rebelution is all about? When you stop measuring ability by age and you have a young person who is motivated to do hard things, to stretch and to grow -- there is really no noticeable difference between a 17-year-old and a 24-year-old.

However, even as these thoughts went through my head, I still didn't know the whole story. Although my misconception about her age had been corrected, I still assumed that making dozens of phone calls, handing out literature and talking with people about candidates, finding and reserving facilities, etc., fell within the range of her normal extracurricular activities.

Little did I know that every assignment I threw at Heidi was a new challenge. For example, it wasn't until the end of the campaign that I learned that she was not a "phone person." In fact, her family told me that she normally avoided talking on the phone if at all possible. Nevertheless, she had been on the phone constantly for the campaign.

In an email written shortly after the campaigns ended, Heidi shared an even bigger picture of the work God had been doing in her life:
During this whole campaign God has been doing amazing things. I think I have grown more in these past few months than the whole year before!

I laughed when I first read your tour flyer. "Doing hard things" is exactly what God had begun teach me with the beginning of the campaign, and it hasn't stopped with the primaries. He has taken the perspective I had of my own capabilities and stretched it three times around a new and bigger perspective.

I think I have thoroughly shocked my family by doing things that they (and I) never imagined I would be doing. It is amazing what we can do if we will trust God enough to step out of our comfort zones!
Heidi's story is a perfect example of the ideas behind the Rebelution in action. She hadn't read the articles on our blog or come to a Rebelution conference or visited Regenerate Our Culture Online. Instead, she lived it.

Heidi's 13-year-old brother, Michael -- campaign warrior and sign-stacker extraordinaire.
The Rebelution: A Unique Movement
That's what makes the Rebelution so unique. It doesn't require a blog or a conference or a magazine. All it needs are ordinary young people who trust God enough to buck the trends of culture, step out of their comfort zone, and do hard things.

Colton Davie, Alex King, Jake Smith, Noah Sanders, Jonathan Monplaisir, and Heidi Bentley are just few examples out of hundreds of teens who joined the fight in Alabama, in big and small ways. They modeled what ordinary Christian young people are capable of when they commit to doing hard things with excellence -- whatever those "hard things" happen to be. We trust and pray that God will continue to honor them for that committment and we look forward to seeing what God will do with a generation eager to serve Him.

6/15/2006

Alabama Recap Coming Soon

For those of you eagerly anticipating a recap of our experiences in Alabama, rest assured, a recap will be posted soon.

soon, adverb: "shortly after Alex and Brett feel they have somewhat compensated for being away from their family for three months"

Teen Bloggers Win National Championships

Our host recently upgraded servers, which caused the blog to be "un-updateable" for several days. The following post was written on June 13.
This past week, June 5-9, the National Christian Forensics and Communication Association (NCFCA) held their National Speech and Debate Championship Tournament at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, the NCFCA is a highly-competitive league of some of the most competetent young communicators in the country. Participants begin competition at local tournaments where the top competitors qualify for a regional tournament, and from there, can qualify to compete at the national tournament in June.

Brett and I competed at the national level for three years. Many of our best friends today were made through competing at various tournaments around the country. The "myth of adolescence" was originally developed as a 10-minute platform speech in the Persuasive speaking category. There are few things that God used more to prepare us for the hard things we are attempting now than our years of participation in the NCFCA.

This year's National Tournament was the first one Brett and I have not attended in four years. However, we are pleased to share with you the success of several rebelutionary teen bloggers, each of whom did incredibly well.

Cody Herche and Rachel Heflin of Legal Redux won the Team Policy Debate Championship. This is not only the most prestigious event in the league, but also the most competitive. Brett and I are so proud of Cody and Rachel's hard work, their pursuit of excellence, and most importantly, their firm commitment to glorifying God in all they do. Congratulations, dear friends!

Karen Kovaka of Rhetorical Response won the National Championship in Apologetics -- the defense of the Christian faith. Karen has consistently demonstrated her love for God's Word and devotion to Truth. It is a blessing for us to see God honoring her for that commitment. Congratulations, Karen!

Marshall Sherman of Advancing His Kingdom is officially the nation's funniest homeschooler, winning the Humorous Interpretation National Championship with his parody of the Lone Ranger. Congratulations, Marshall!

What Brett and I appreciate most about each of these young people is their correct understanding of the NCFCA (and other activities like it) as a stepping stone to the higher calling God has for their lives. They have not only developed their communication and thinking skills, but they are applying them, through their blogs and through other real-life endeavors. That's what makes them rebelutionary.

Be sure to visit each of their blogs and congratulate them for their hard work and well-deserved recognition. God bless you all!