Issue 09 | April 3, 2015
SUMMARY: In this issue, we go beyond the selfie, see how worldviews influence behavior, and find out how many Americans see no value in attending church.
This week’s major pop culture happenings:
- Artist of the Year and Other Winners at the Second Annual iHeartRadio Music Awards
- Google Maps Turned into a Pacman Game Earlier This Week
- Tesla to Unveil Brand New Product at End of Month, No One Knows What It Is
- NYC Now Has More Uber Cars Than Taxis
- YouNow Is the Live-Streaming App Teens Are Using
LET’S LOOK BEYOND THE SELFIE
As a parent, educator, and/or faith leader who deals directly with teens, you are all too familiar with the “Selfie generation”: a generation that seems to value self-focus and self-promotion over all else. Words like “shallow,” “self-absorbed,” and even “apathetic” are apt descriptions of today’s youth. So it’s understandably easy to get frustrated by and feel the desire to give up on them. But as David Martin, Director of I Am Second Students, a movement meant to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and others, points out in another blog post:
Society often times writes off teens as the “Selfie” generation. However, I’ve learned that there’s more under the surface than meets the eye. There are some key things to learn from teens.
So what can we learn from younger generations? What can the Selfie Generation teach us about humanity and the world? Martin believes there are five key things teens have gotten right:
- It’s OK to Not Be OK
- Justice Matters
- Value Community
- Celebrate Uniqueness
- Be Globally Minded
Ask Your Students: What are some words you’ve heard adults use to describe your generation? Do you think those words are true? Why or why not? How can students change this perception? What do you wish your generation would be known for instead?
Discuss with Other Adults: What can we learn from younger generations? Do you think Martin is right about the five key things teens get right? Is there anything else they get right? How can we use what teens value to better disciple them?
STRONG WORLDVIEWS = FEWER RISKY BEHAVIORS
Recently, the American Psychological Association published a study by the University of Florida that demonstrates a link between strong worldviews and a lower likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors. The study found that religious students have a higher likelihood of having a strong worldview, which in turn can strengthen “adolescents’ worldview and moral grounding.”
Though students who strongly held to a non-religious worldview were also less likely to engage in risky behaviors, the study found that “religious adolescents displayed a stronger sense of worldview across four tested areas: meaning in life, moral compass, integrity, and the ethics of lying.”
So what does that mean for parents, educators, and faith leaders? For one, as the researchers point out, “The study’s conclusions have implications for parents and religious leaders, who can nurture a sense of purpose that helps teens say no to drugs and alcohol.” But we need to keep in mind that discipleship at its core is not solely about behavior management. That sense of purpose comes from knowing God intimately and being completely fulfilled by Him alone. Guiding students into that kind of relationship with their Creator automatically negates the need for drugs, alcohol, or any other thing we in which try to find satisfaction.
And Axis would like to help in any way we can to instill lifelong faith and strong worldviews in students, which is why this newsletter exists. So please share the FREE newsletter with anyone who might benefit from its content! They can sign up to receive it at Axis.org. And if you’ve enjoyed your subscription to more content, let them know! They can sign up for The Culture Translator Plus by clicking here.
Discussion Questions: How can students be strengthened in their worldviews? What are some stumbling blocks that students face in keeping their worldviews? How are we focusing on more than just behavior management? How are we demonstrating the faith that students need to see?
The Barna Group has released a new study project called Churchless, hoping to discover why people avoid church and how best to connect with them. They found that nearly half of American adults do not attend church on a regular basis, which is an increase of almost one-third in 20 years. Interestingly, non-practicing Christians now make up the majority of unchurched people in America: “They claim Christianity as their faith, but they haven’t been to church in a long time.”
Some other key findings from the study:
- If unchurched Americans were a country, they’d be the eighth largest.
- Younger = More churchless.
- 48% of people born after 1983 can be described as post-Christian, compared with only 28% of people born before 1945.
- 69% of unchurched Americans hold a favorable view of Christianity, yet almost half see no value in attending church.
- Yet, the lifestyles of the churched and the unchurched don’t look all that different.
Discussion Questions: What trends in our culture have led to this outcome? How could this have been avoided? What are some ways this trend might be reversed? How might we need to change our approach to education and/or church ministry? How does this relate to stories of Israel turning from God in the Old Testament? If attending church is not making much of a difference in how people live their lives, what needs to change?
We’d love to hear from you if there are any topics that you’d like us to address in future versions of the Culture Translator.