I’ve always been a bit rebellious. My parents told me that from an early age, out of me and my brother, I was the one who just seemed to have a knack for bending, twisting or blatantly disregarding the rules. Apparently, I often took some sort of perverse thrill from doing things that deep down, I knew would gain me nothing but disapproval.
Take the time when I emptied a pot of eczema cream all over my brother’s face… I had just turned 3 and he was barely 18 months, but somehow I managed to climb into his cot, with a full sized tub of cream in my hand, and smear half it’s contents all over his face. My parents materialised to find their supposedly walnut brown son’s face mysteriously white and contorted in distress, and me attempting to climb out of the cot with a slight smirk on my face. When asked why I would do such an awful thing, I simply said “his face was dry”.Smiling the whole time. No apology. No remorse. Actually, to this day, I don’t feel bad in the slightest. My brother still doesn’t moisturise himself properly, his face probably was dry, I don’t really see what the big deal was. Isn’t that what friends are for?
My current spate of rebellion involves my new super vegan housemate. It’s supposedly an all vegan household, which is great. I basically kinda got the room on the understanding that I’m vegan. The problem is, I’m what I like to call a flexi-vegan. Meaning that although generally I try to avoid dairy, if a brie sandwich calls my name, who am I to not reply? It’s rude not to answer when someone calls you, it’s just rude. Anyway, my new housemate/landlord seems very nice. She’s also VERY vegan. She buys shoes from a special shop called ‘Vegetarian Shoes’, and she owns a vegan market stall. And it’s making me want to be rebellious. If I was living in a house of carnivores, I would probably smugly and piously parade my non-cheese macaroni, and my dairy free, gluten free, egg free cupcake, but living with someone who expects it of me makes me want to do the opposite. I want to buy a block of cheddar cheese and secretly eat it in my room under my duvet while giggling to myself ‘haha, and you thought this was a block of SOYA Mozarella… not even sucker!” Which frankly, is immature and ridiculous, because she probably doesn’t care THAT much. She probably doesn’t care at all in fact. (I really hope she doesn’t read this).
I write all this to say that I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. This isn’t just a Shade thing (although clearly I’m slightly mentally unstable and take it to whole new extreme), it’s a human thing. Human beings are rebellious.
Yesterday, I watched half of a show called Unsafe Sex in the City. It was amusing in parts, but mostly shocking, scary, and made me want to sit with my legs folded for the next..10 years maybe? I’m looking at the general public in a whole new light. As far as I’m concerned, all of y’all have chlamydia. And the rest of you have syphilis. Which is why I love working at a hospital, no one gets offended when I anti-bac my hands after I shake hands with them. It’s ‘routine health and safety’ – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. (On a serious note, you can’t get STI’s from shaking hands, and I don’t think you’re a disgusting person if you’ve had one/have one. And I’m aware that not everyone who isn’t a virgin/celibate is sleeping with multiple partners). What struck me, was the fact that in a world where we are the most liberated about sexual behaviour than we ever have been before, we are also the most fearful about sexual behaviour. Our rates of diseases are rising, teenage pregnancies are out of control, and young people are having sex more and earlier. I’m not sure we’re particularly happier though. We seem to have thrown off the prison of Victorian morality but I don’t think we are freer. We’ve just transferred to another jail. There are no rules anymore, and we’re left wandering around trying to make up our own individual guidebooks, forever out of sync with each other.
“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry”1 Samuel 15:23.
It’s not popular to talk about God and freedom in the same sentence. Modern society teaches us to be unashamed, to dismiss anyone who tells us that there are rules – that there are standards for sexual behaviour, or pretty much any behaviour outside of don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t cheat, don’t lie (depending).
I believe God describes rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft because rebellion against His moral standards makes the statement that your power is greater than God’s. That you, the created being, know more than the Creator. It’s a deceitful spell that charms you into believing that you will find happiness and freedom living your life your own way, but often you are left wondering what has gone wrong, and why something feels like it’s not quite right.
True freedom is not the freedom to do as you want. It’s the freedom to do as you should. Being a slave to whatever takes your fancy isn’t really radical at all, it’s what humans have been doing since we got here. I’m praying that I learn to be a real rebel.
“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to be so free, that your very existence is an act of rebellion”. Albert Camus