Monday, April 2, 2012

Rebels Without Causes

{by Rachel Coker}
I experienced my first major movie-star crush when I was twelve years old. I just happened to stroll through the living room one Sunday afternoon and see my dad stretched out on the couch, watching an old movie on TV. At the time, I didn’t think much of it. Nothing new there—just his usual Sunday afternoon movie watching. I grabbed a snack out of the fridge and was about to head upstairs when it happened. I saw him. James Dean. I’m pretty sure the earth tipped slightly on its axis. Was it just me, or had my heart stopped beating? Yep, that guy was definitely making my stomach do crazy things.

I casually perched on the edge of the sofa and pretended to be only semi-interested in the movie. “What are you watching?” I asked my dad, as non-suspiciously as possible. Rebel without a Cause. And with those four words, my Sunday afternoon was pretty much shot. Because I sat on the couch for the majority of it, soaking up that handsome face and sweet red jacket.

Looking back on it now, I’m not sure I can really put my finger on what it was about James Dean’s character that I found so appealing. Granted, he was extremely good looking and the best dresser I’d ever laid eyes on, but there was something else about him that I found downright intriguing. He was a rebel. He roamed the streets at dark in his 1949 Mercury, hung out in abandoned houses, and got into more trouble in twenty-four hours than most people can achieve in a lifetime. Basically, he lived the kind of life that every teenager, boy or girl, dreams about. The freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want. Forget adult supervision or rules. James Dean did whatever he pleased, and twelve-year-old me thought that was just amazing.

There’s a stereotype about teenagers that should probably cause most of us to cringe. And that is that teenagers are a discontented, rebellious, ungrateful bunch of kids. But you know what? It’s totally true! And, to make things worse, I am one of those teenagers! And, if you’re going to be one hundred percent honest, you probably are, too.

My sisters and I recently completed a Bible study on contentment. It was definitely eye-opening to me, because for the first time I realized how little I have to be ungrateful for. Every day, God showers me with blessings and mercies—most of which I don’t even recognize. And yet, I fight. I push for what I want and demand what I think I need. I’m not always grateful or content with the life God has given me. In fact, I often want to rebel against it.

As fallen human beings, we’re born into that state of sin and rebellion. We’re constantly fighting and struggling for things that aren’t in God’s plan for us. And yet, what do we have to fight for? God has been nothing but good and merciful toward us. We play the part of rebels, but we really don’t have a cause.

Every time we rebel against God, there are serious consequences. We lose fellowship with Him, we are kept from receiving some of His blessings, and we are sometimes even punished. No matter how romantic it might seem sometimes, the life of a rebel isn’t a great one. Even in James Dean’s classic film celebrating teen freedom, things end badly. Death, degradation of the family, ruined friendships… Rebellion comes with a price.

The world is full of enough rebels without causes. What we need is more young women and men willing to stand for something worthwhile. The cause of truth, and love, and grace. Those are true causes. The blessings of God are the only things that are really going to last, after all. What good is a few years of living hard and fast? What will we really gain by rebelling for our own desires, if they are only things that will pass away when this life is over?

So stop fighting. Stop rebelling. We really have no reason to be discontent and unhappy. Instead we should spend more time thinking about all the wonderful blessings we enjoy. We don’t have a cause to rebel, but we do have so many causes to be grateful.


  1. What an excellent article Rachel! A very insightful look into rebels without causes ... it really made me think. And of course, James Dean is amazing ;)

  2. This is really fantastic. I think you touched upon an important point when you say of the "rebel" Jim Stark, "basically, he lived the kind of life that every teenager, boy or girl, dreams about..." Deep down, it seems as if everyone wants to be a rebel. You say that "as fallen human beings, we’re born into that state of sin and rebellion." I agree and I agree with you that rebellion can have harmful consequences. But do you think that is inherent to rebellion or just a product of what it is we rebel against? Do you think this tendency towards rebellion can be used for good? Or should we focus stop buying into our culture's glorification of rebellion and focus on being grateful?


  3. Most women don’t know this... but even if a man is attracted to you or even says he loves you...

    ...chances are he still feels something is missing.

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    Maybe one in a thousand women knows how to do this instinctively, and they usually rise to unbelievable levels of influence and fame.

    But most women, or men for that matter, don’t even know it exists.

    On the other hand, when you have this 1 simple secret...

    You won’t believe the shocking effect you have on the men in your life.

    Here’s a video I discovered that shows you exactly what I’m talking about:

    Here’s how: ==> He’ll give his heart to the first woman who does THIS... ]