Small Rebellions: paradoxes at work


Paradoxes have been my work life for a while: my Gr 11 English class is reading Macbeth. Shakespeare creates a world where “fair is foul, and foul is fair.” I was trying to think of something positive to get me out of the excessive death/endless blood/needless violence of Macbeth and my mind was still thinking about paradoxes when it hit me: Small Rebellions!

Jars of Clay

I have been a fan of the band Jars of Clay since 1995. I got their self-titled tape for my birthday that year (even though my parents thought I didn’t want it because my older sister already had it) and I almost wore the tape out! Anyway, my love for Jars of Clay has meant that over the years I have purchased all of their albums. Their songs have gotten me through all kinds of hard and tough times. So naturally, that is where my mind wandered when I was looking for something to get me away from Macbeth.

There is a song on their 2010 album, Shelter, that popped into my head every time I thought about paradoxes: “Small Rebellions.” Paradoxes are interesting. They manipulate our expectations and force us to think about the connections between two opposites in order to come to a new understanding or idea. The chorus of this song has some jarring (hehe!) paradoxes that require a bit more thought:

“If our days could be filled with small rebellions;
Senseless brutal acts of kindness from us all.”

Using such violent words to bring attention to such ordinary ideas is brilliant!

I think that Jars of Clay have nailed it. Say what you will about Christian music, but at least give this song a listen, if only for these two lines.

May we have days filled with small rebellions where we think of others first and seek to make the lives of those around us just a little bit easier. Not an easy task, but one that is worthwhile.


“Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel.” (Proverbs 11:17)

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