Issue 20 | June 19, 2015

Issue 20 | June 19, 2015

SUMMARY: Issue 20 covers Charleston,


  1. “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa Ronson ft. Charlie Puth (Tribute to Paul Walker; What happens after you die)
  2. “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar (Revenge and not forgiving)
  3. “Trap Queen” by Fetty Wap (“Bad girls” are good)
  4. “Shut Up And Dance” by Walk the Moon (Being a victim of destiny/fate)
  5. “Want to Want Me” by Jason Derulo (Relationship based on sex)
  6. “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars (Partying and identity)
  7. “Cheerleader” by OMI (A Woman’s value is found in what she can provide for her man)
  8. “Earned It (50 Shades of Grey)” by The Weeknd (Love must be earned)
  9. “Hey Mama” by David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha, & Afrojack (Do anything to please your man)
  10. “Honey I’m Good” by Andy Grammer (Staying faithful despite putting oneself in a compromising situation)




Last night I went to bed ignorant of the tragedy of Charleston. When I woke up around 6:00a on Thursday, I heard the first news. Less than two minutes later, I heard the first set of opposing political views on how we should interpret this loss. I immediately felt a need to chime in. But why? We live in a time where news is instant, and we feel our responses should be, too. We rarely mourn and reflect before we act. Perhaps my inability to merely mourn is based in my own fear of simply recognizing the gravity of the situation and trusting God’s sovereignty.

What, then, should be our response at the news of such tragedy? For hundreds of years, Christians have sung the hymn “Lord Have Mercy” or Kyrie Elieson. Thursday, instead of adding my voice to the cacophony via a tweet, I began praying the hymn’s words over and over again. It took faith to not attempt to silence those who view the situation differently than I do. For the first time in a national tragedy that I can remember, I felt real sorrow and brokenness for my entire morning at home. I couldn’t focus on the needs of my family and was forced into sincere prayer.

A story in Job came to mind in the midst of this. After his friends sat for seven days in silence (seven days!), they opened their mouths. Yet after having seven days to meditate and think about what they were going to say, Job told them that their silence was wiser than their words. My prayer is twofold: that I will learn to ask for mercy, both for myself and on behalf of those afflicted, before I offer my words; and that I will remember there is a time for everything, even silence.
Jon Jon

Instead of discussion, this may be a good time to stop and pray as a family for the victims and for the suspect.




E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), an annual private gaming event, happened last week. This is a pivotal event because of the increasing influence gaming has on our lives. Between the gamification of ordinary tasks, virtual reality becoming more commercial, and technology becoming more intimate, gaming is moving from subculture to mainstream.

But this is nothing we should be afraid of! Games are forms of teaching, formation, and a strong platform for narrative. As Christians, we have the best story ever told and the most robust worldview, which means we should be at the forefront of culture—including gaming. This starts with being informed (here’s a good summary of what happened last week! Thanks, Chris). This doesn't mean we shouldn’t be alert to the negative side effects of gaming or afraid to condemn that which is evil. But more than that, we should seek to use it for the purpose of the Kingdom and applaud when companies like Facebook vow to to block porn on their virtual reality sets.

Discussion Questions: How should gaming be treated differently than other media you monitor? How does Philippians 4 apply to playing video games? Is coding or video game design supported as a legitimate call for young people in your Church, or do they feel “less spiritual” or holy because of their desire to work in gaming?




This past weekend, Bonnaroo music and arts festival celebrated its 14th year in Manchester, TN. If you already (understandably) dislike music festivals because of their tendency to attract all forms of debauchery, then this festival would not change your mind. But by no means is that all there is to Bonnaroo.

Each year, the festival brings in some of the most incredibly talented musicians in the world to showcase their skills and craft. And each year, thousands of people come from afar and pay lots of money to be able to listen to and enjoy it. God blessed us when He gave us music and sound and the ability to make art. Because He is a Creator, we are imbued with creativity, too, and we often see this exemplified (sometimes brilliantly) in artists who don't acknowledge that their talent and ability are all because we are made in His image and because He gives freely. These are artists who really know how to cultivate God's gift of sound into something amazing.

Bonnaroo is a secular example of God's gift of creativity at work—are they outdoing the Church in the creativity department? Let us, as the Church, be just as creative as Bonnaroo's headliners...and encourage it in our students, too!

Discussion Questions: What role does creativity play in God's mission? What are we doing to foster creativity in our students? Beyond lyrical content, can one genre of music be inherently better or worse than another? Should a Christian go to a non-Christian music festival? Why or why not (see John 17:15-18)? Is a “Christian” music festival a good idea or not? Would it only be fun for Christians, or for non-Christians as well? Is it surprising that Christian students (especially young men) express that they don’t like listening to “Christian” music? Why or why not?