Issue 36 | October 16, 2015
THREE THINGS THIS WEEK
CNN Special Report called “#Being 13: Inside the Secret World of Teens.”
Why It’s Important: The special goes inside what it’s like to be 13 today, examining through the eyes/screens of real teens how social media has changed the social landscape within middle and high schools. Worth watching the entire hour! (Need to sign in through your TV provider after the first 10 minutes to continue watching. Warning: Language!)
2. BIEBER ON FAITH
What It Is: In a candid new interview, Justin Bieber credits his Christian faith for getting back on track.
Why It’s Important: Lots of truth is mixed in with bad ideas, especially when his words are compared to his actions. Many students have been “Beliebers” from the beginning, and since he’s one of the few celebrities who professes Christianity, they may look to him as a role model for how to be a “good Christian.” We highly encourage reading the entire interview (warning: profanities) with your student(s), then discussing the good and bad.
3. PLAYBOY REMOVES NUDITY
What It Is:The iconic magazine announced this week that, starting March 2016, they will no longer feature photos of fully nude women.
Why It’s Important: It’s a business decision, not a moral one. The Internet has hijacked their business, making rebranding necessary for the company to stay afloat. Yes, it’s a small victory in the fight against porn, except it means that the medium through which most people are now exposed is only becoming more ubiquitous. Prayer and conversations are much needed!
SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW:
In this day and age, becoming famous is valued more highly than being a good person, going viral more highly than helping others. But going viral for doing good? Yahtzee! It seems there is no higher virtue.
Yet Jesus, the embodiment of goodness, didn’t seek fame for His deeds (see this, this, and this) because He wanted people to focus on His message, not the miracles. He came to bring something far greater (salvation for the world) than a physical healing or a way to turn water into wine. But He knew that mankind has a tendency to miss the forest for the trees.
Enter Secret People Stories, a website dedicated to telling the stories of anonymous people who live quiet lives, yet make big differences in the people around them through small acts of kindness. Their mission “to acknowledge and appreciate unadorned goodwill over glorified benevolence” is one that the “selfie” generation is becoming wholly unfamiliar with. But it’s exactly what they need.
Doing good in order to be known or recognized has at its heart one thing: self; doing good in order to simply do good has the opposite: others. Most of the stories featured on Secret People will never become viral YouTube videos or be tweeted about or posted on Instagram. And we may never know who the stories are about. But that’s a good thing. Rather than celebrating the person, let’s go back to celebrating the good they do and the impact they had on others.
How are the stories on Secret People different from most viral stories? Are these stories worth noticing? Why do you think the authors chose to keep them anonymous? How do small acts of kindness like in the stories make an eternal impact? If you were never recognized on earth for your good deeds, would they still be worth doing? Why or why not? Have you ever done something good hoping to be noticed? Have you ever done something good hope to remain anonymous? Which is more fulfilling?