Raising Rebels — Catholic Answers Live

by Steve Ray on February 16, 2007

In Response to my Catholic Answers show
"Raising Rebels."

I am in Phoenix working on our next DVD but I will post recommended Books for Parents early next week. I already have a section for husbands and wives called Books for Lovers and will add a list of Books for Parents this coming week. I do have some audio talks on Raising a Catholic Family here. Stay tuned.

Click here to listen to the show on RealAudio over your computer speakers.

I was criticized afterwards for using the word rebel since someone objected that "Jesus is NOT a rebel!" After thanking the writer for his kind words to me personally and after I welcomed him into the Church as a new convert in 2006, I followed up with the following reply.

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I understand your concern regarding the word rebel. I am aware that it can have a negative connotation, but within the various accepted definitions of the word, I feel it is appropriate to use rebel for two reasons:
     1) Because it is a provocative title, "Raising Rebels" catches the attention of the listener and is very thought-provoking. We need to catch the attention and hearts of Catholics. It was a prudential decision on my part to use a word that would perk up peoples' ears. I could have used a humdrum title like "Raising Good Children" but I chose to use a more catchy title.
     2) Rebel has various definitions. I am not using it with the meaning of an armed insurrection. To restrict it to that limited definition would to be an injustice to the word which is rich with meaing. The way I was using the word in the context of raising our kids as Catholics in a pagan world is fully in harmony with the definition of the word rebel. See the definitions in blue below. According to the Cambridge Dictionary rebel is defined as:
rebel vb (rIÈbEl) -bels, -belling or -belled (intr; often foll by against) 1 to resist or rise up against a government or other authority, esp. by force of arms. 2 to dissent from an accepted moral code or convention of behaviour, dress, etc.. 3 to show repugnance (towards). w n (ÈrEb«l) 4 a a person who rebels. b (as modifier): a rebel soldier; a rebel leader 5 a person who dissents from some accepted moral code or convention of behaviour, dress, etc.. [C13: from Old French rebelle, from Latin rebellis insurgent, from re- + bellum war] h Èrebeldom Collins English Dictionary. 2000 (electronic ed.). Glasgow: HarperCollins.
     Now, if I remember right, I never said Jesus was a rebel on the show, but actually he was one who dissented from the current conventions and man-made traditions of the Jewish leaders. He called them hypocrites, white-washed sepulchres, and He did this not just to the Jewish leaders but also to the secular leaders — even calling King Herod the derrogatory word fox (Lk 13:32).  He was counter-cultural to the established powers. He stirred up what the leaders viewed as a rebellion. He was viewed as dangerous and subversive. He showed a repugnance toward them and their sin and hypocracy.
     I am encouraging the same — to resist and dissent from the sinful culture, the apathy toward God, and disrespect and murder of human life. Sometimes one must rebel, swim upstream, shout "NO" and be willing to die for it. We must fight injustice and sin in order to be fully in compliance with the will of God and the Law of Christ.
     So, while I understand the negative connotations that must have struck you with my use of the word, I find it acceptable and thought-provoking within the New Testment and the wider context.
     On my website I offer several audio CDs on this topic. Click here to see them. I have Raising Rebels, Raising our Kids to Love the Faith, Catholic Family: Disciplining our Kids, Catholic Family: Educating our Kids, and more.

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