...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The end of an era

The discussion forums of The Rebelution, stomping grounds of future evangelical, reformed, and fundamentalist leaders (and their wives/helpmeets, of course), have closed down. When I first read the message about the temporary closing of the boards while the administrators "step back and evaluate what we are doing,...institute necessary changes and reforms, and ...corporately re-focus on why we are here," I felt a twinge of guilt, as though the closing were partially my fault for occasionally challenging some of the assertions made on the boards (like, for instance, that women shouldn't attend college, but should rather be "stay-at-home daughters.") But I'm almost certain that I had little, if anything, to do with the closing of the boards; although I disagree fervently with a lot of what's been said on those forums (and oh, the stories I can tell), I always tried to maintain a respectful tone when I entered the discussions, since I was a guest in their forums and agreed to their statement of belief when I registered and whatnot. I never, ever tried to stir shit up, as much as I was dying to ask the girls in the female-only segregated discussion area if, for instance, they thought it was impure or unchaste to use tampons, or to take the Pill for non-contraceptive purposes.

I disagree with the majority of those kids, and sometimes they infuriated me, but I'll miss their voices. My favorite thing about The Rebelution was the way it exposed to me the diversity of opinion within the conservative Christian community. My understanding of conservative Christianity is much more nuanced, now, because of the contact I've had with the Rebelutionaries. Several of the kids I grew to really respect; I learned a lot from several of them. I wouldn't identify as a Christian Noahide were it not for the vocabulary lent to me by one of the kids, with whom I'm now facebook friends. I've enjoyed corresponding with other liberal (or at least not radically conservative) students who found themselves in a subaltern position on the forums.

The administrator writes, "From the beginning, the purpose of the forum has been to be a place for Christian young people who understand and share the vision of the Rebelution to network and interact. It is intended to be a training ground for godly leaders and communicators. It is intended to be a place for rebelutionaries to be encouraged and equipped." I expect that part of the subtext of that message is that the membership of the forums is going to be scaled back to the original Rebelutionaries, the True Believers, the inner-circle. I don't expect to survive the purge, and I'm very sorry about that.

(This probably also means that now all of the comments I make during Bible Study for Hippies will be about Hasidic Judaism. That's either a positive or a negative depending on how interested you are in hearing anecdotes about Reb Zusya.)