Issue 43 | December 4, 2015
THREE THINGS THIS WEEK
1. BLAMING AND PRAYER SHAMING
What It Is: Reactions to the horrific shootings in Colorado Springs, CO and San Bernardino, CA. In the former, the shooter’s actions are being blamed on inflammatory “anti-abortion rhetoric,” while in the latter, those who have offered prayers to the victims are being shamed for not actually doing anything to fix the problem.
Why It’s Important: Some issues run so deep that simply pointing the finger at certain groups/movements or controlling behavior through new laws will merely put a band-aid on a gaping wound. And we can’t just blame the “left” for this or the “right” for that; there are many factors that have played into the 355 mass shootings in the US in 2015 to date. Much can be discussed and learned from these abhorrent situations, but one thing is certain: It’s not as clear cut as it seems. The world is messy. Many are to blame for the problem, while many more are working to fix it. Encourage students to not filter everything through an “us vs. them” lens, but instead to live in the messy space in between, thinking clearly and critically about a holistic biblical response to the issues of our time.
2. DOX AND SWAT
What It Is: Gamer slang for extreme forms of harassment. To “dox” someone is to post all of their private information (their “docs”) on a public website. To “swat” someone is to have a SWAT team unnecessarily deployed to their residence/school by calling in fake threats.
Why It’s Important: This article chronicles how an underage Canadian hacker used these and other tactics to blackmail dozens of gamers, ripping their lives apart through fear and manipulation. Not only do young gamers need to be taught how to recognize online harassment in its earliest stages, a plan also needs to be put in place for what to do if they are harassed. In addition, the hacker eventually revealed that other teenage boys were with him, egging him on. Converse with your gamers about treating others as Jesus would treat them, even online, either directly or indirectly (why didn’t any of his friends try to stop him?). One asinine comment can seem harmlessly funny and maybe even make one’s friends laugh, but how does that affect the person on the other side? And how does it open the door for much more egregious actions?
3. TEBOW ABSTINENCE BREAKUP
What It Is: Tim Tebow’s rumored girlfriend, former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo, is reported to have broken up with him because he refused to have sex before marriage.
Why It’s Important: This simply continues the normalization of sex outside of marriage. When celebs like Tebow or Russell Wilson claim to be virgins or to remain abstinent, it’s often met with thinly veiled sarcasm and cynicism. Tebow and Culpo may never have dated at all, but did that stop the gossip about the supposed breakup? Nope. No wonder younger generations increasingly see choosing abstinence as pointless and the fast track to ostracism. This story opens doors to conversation about not only doing what is right in the face of ridicule, but also about (social) media’s ability to propagate lies and parade them as truth at the speed of a click.
SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW
Did you know that Axis served over 30,000 students, teachers, and parents in 2015? Through live presentations, virtual trainings, and online content like this, we were able to bring God’s life-giving truth to students, as well as equip parents, teachers, and faith leaders to better disciple students in today’s world.
We believe you are the key to helping today’s students have lifelong faith. That’s why we’re committed to equipping you to better understand the world your students inhabit and to awakening students to the ideas in and influence of entertainment, media, technology, and pop culture. By speaking the language of both generations, we bring common ground and open the way for transformative conversations that lead to lifelong faith.
We know how hard it is to feel confident enough to talk with your students about difficult topics like sexual identity, social media, or the sanctity of human life. That’s why we’re here: to foster meaningful conversations that lead to lifelong faith.
Will you help Axis reach more students and families in 2016? Your year-end gift to Axis will allow us to serve new families with transformative tools like The Culture Translator and Axis Virtual Trainings. Visit axis.org/2015 to learn more about how you can join us in serving the next generation.
Together, we can help the next generation love and follow Jesus Christ!