From Issue: 491 [Read full issue]


Rebellion is complex. It lives in reaction to the world. On the surface, rebellion claims to be against monarchy, dominion, or oppression. Too often it turns out to be a vote for monarchy, dominion, or patriarchy. Rebellion is most often not a call for transformation or a new context, but simply a complaint that others control the monarchy and not us. This is why most revolutions fail - because nothing changes, only the name of the monarch.

The community form of rebellion is protest. It is noble in tradition but still often keeps us in perpetual reaction to the stances of others. There is safety in building an identity on what we do not want. The extremists on both sides of any issue are more wedded to their positions than to creating a new possibility. That is why they make unfulfillable demands. The AM radio band is populated with this non-conversation. Any time we act in reaction, even to evil, we are giving power to what we are in reaction to.

I have heard John McKnight say that advisory groups speak quietly to power, protestors scream at power, and neither chooses to reclaim or produce power. The real problem with rebellion is that it is such fun. It avoids taking responsibility, operates on the high ground, is fuelled by righteousness, gives legitimacy to blame, and is a delightful escape from the unbearable burden of being accountable.

"Community: The Structure of Belonging" - Peter Block, p. 134