For the majority of my life, I would tell you that I've never been considered a rebel. Growing up, I wanted to make my parents happy, I wanted to make other people happy...I was a people-pleaser. Which means that I listened to my teachers and obeyed my parents. Except for the baseball through the church window incident and a couple of car accidents my senior year in high school (ice-driving and four-wheeling), I was pretty content knowing that I was living up to the expectations of others.
"Then Jesus messed up my life," to borrow a quote from Shane Claiborne.
When I got serious about following Jesus, I was worried about my relationship with my Dad. I got married, and then got evicted from an apartment. I went to school, and can still feel the pain of the millions of Americans struggling with debt. Because of Jesus, I've moved to Texas and survived the second hottest summer in recorded history, "100 days of 100 degrees." Because of Jesus, I've moved to Kansas City and joined a church that is passionate about reaching the broken and hurting and marginalized and those who have been offended by the church. Because of Jesus, I think I'm now a rebel.
"A mother and a child, walking 12-15 miles every day to go get dirty water to put into their bodies with a broken immune system that will eventually kill them, this is the right thing to rebel against."
"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."
This spring, the church graced me with a sabbatical. During that time, I read about 12 books and wrote about 10 songs. The books came from Hearts and Minds Bookstore, in Dallastown, Pennsylvania. Byron, the owner, has provided me with wonderful resources that have stirred the passion, the prophet, the rebel within.
Jesus was a rebel, too. Just look at how the religious leaders treated him, as he walked and healed on the Sabbath, as he forgave sins, as he preached a new yoke, a new way to live.
It is one thing to be a rebel without a cause, wreaking havoc and mayhem and living for yourself. It is completely different to be a rebel with love, seeking justice, hope, and a better world for all people.