rebelling against low expectations

Rebellion vs. Rebelution by Mr. Woehr


On January 11th, readers were given the following assignment:

In “Challenge of Youth” (1974), Professor Friedrich Heer documents and analyzes historically-significant youth movements, from the time of ancient Greece through the hippie era, and concludes that:

“[T]he harsh light of historical fact [is] that every significant youth movement is in its own time crushed by the forces in power, and its spirit frequently perverted or bent to other uses[.]”

It is also interesting to note that Professor Heer identifies the common characteristic among all youth movements as being “the symbolic rejection of the father (authority), and frequent adoption of a new ‘father’…” and references Malachi 4:6 (“…turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers…”) to conclude that “it is the fathers who have the last word.”

As a presuppositionally-Christian youth movement, how do you think the Rebelution differs (or should differ) from the youth movements Professor Heer described?

Rebellion vs. Rebelution by Mr. Woehr

As a student of humanity, I find Mr. Heer’s philosophy seemingly true in its historical perspective, that is, that children/young adults often attempt to overthrow the dominance of ethics of their parents’ generation. (Even Socrates was once accused of being a rebellious influence on the youth of his day.) The difficulty with this attempt, however, is that, however noble these children’s ethics may be, their children will attempt the same kind of overthrow against their ideals. So that, given a 100% success rate of overthrows, the pendulum of ideals will swing to its opposing apogees every 15-20 years. It kind of lends a sense of hypocrisy to say “Question Authority,” when one questions the authority who says that.

Thankfully, most young adults, by the time they reach their 25th or 30th birthday, have matured enough emotionally both to realize the wisdom in their parents’ ways of thinking and to reject the folly contained therein. Often, this maturity level comes about through having children of their own, when they feel how their parents felt when they made wrong decisions as children. Thus, the curse with which nearly every parent at some point curses their child (“Someday you will have children, and I hope they will be just like you!”) comes true. Yet it simultaneously becomes a blessing when that adult child understands why his parents did what they did, even though at the time, it had made little sense to him.

As a 40-something Christian school teacher (albeit childless), I am both relieved and grateful for a blog-site such as the Rebelution. The relief comes because of the realization that there are youngsters out there who have not caved in to the natural and peer pressures to ovethrow their parents’ ideals, and the gratefulness because there is a site to which I can steer my teenaged students that will not undo the Christian principles that their parents, church, and school have striven to plant in their minds.

Ergo: Yes, I think you fellows are doing a good thing, i.e., rebelling against rebellion.

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • I read your post about the car accident after reading GirlTalk’s post today. I think the scripture and principles that are conveyed there are appropriate to this situation too. A quote from Spurgeon:

    “The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.” Proverbs 16:33

    If the disposal of the lot is the Lord’s, whose is the arrangement of our whole life? If the simple casting of a lot is guided by him, how much more the events of our entire life –especially when we are told by our blessed Savior: ‘The very hairs of your head are all numbered: not a sparrow falleth to the ground without your Father.’ It would bring a holy calm over your mind, dear friend, if you were always to remember this. ”

    Could it possibly be that the Lord wants something even greater than what was planned with the “Beneath The Surface Conference?”
    The Lord’s will is perfect. He will fulfil His wise purposes.

    We are praying, and expecting the Lord to do “…exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…” (Ephesians 3:20) Glory to God!

  • I just realized that I put a comment on the wrong post! Sorry, at least you can tell that I was reading more than one of your posts! :o)
    We are thankful for the influence your whole family has had and we pray that the seeds that you are planting will bear much fruit to the glory of God.
    God Bless!

  • Dear Karen,

    That’s absolutely fine! Don’t worry about it. Your comment was excellent. I hope you don’t mind, but I forwarded it to the Beneath The Surface team.

    In Christ,

  • I appreciated Mr. Woehr’s answer very much. It is a good thing that rebellions against authority do not have a 100% success rate. Our society is too unstable as it is.

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rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →