Vol. 2 Issue 22 | June 3, 2016
Three Things This Week
1. Me Before You
Why it’s important: Teens could walk away from this film with a changed perspective on what makes life worth living. Claflin’s character is a handsome quadriplegic named Will, who wants a doctor-assisted suicide because he can’t pursue pleasure like he could before his accident (remember Brittany Maynard and the Death With Dignity movement?). Of course, if life were chiefly about pleasure, such a desire would make sense. If your teens see the movie, ask them, “What should we do when the story we thought we were living gets taken away from us? Do you think Will’s desire to end his own life was reasonable? Why or why not?”
2. LGBT Pride Month
What it is: On May 31st, President Obama officially declared June 2016 as LGBT Pride Month.
Why it’s important: This time last year, Demi Lovato released a song about experimenting with lesbianism over the summer. Now, as your teens’ social media platforms refill with celebrations of homosexuality, thoughtful questions from you can guide them toward seeing how God’s design for complementary sexuality brings flourishing and fits in with the complementarity of the whole world. Consider using our Family Conversation Kit to prepare for and/or facilitate these highly necessary discussions. And remind your teens also that, at the foot of the cross, all sins are equal…and equally redeemable.
3. Prince’s Drug Overdose
What it is: A report confirms Prince’s cause of death as being a painkiller overdose.
Why it’s important: Legal drugs—the kind your teens might easily be prescribed or find in your medicine cabinet—now lead to way more accidental deaths than illegal drugs do. Although Prince may have died trying to prevent chronic pain, overdoses can also happen when legal drugs like Adderall, Oxycontin, and Benadryl are taken for pleasure, especially when combined with cough syrup or other drugs. Take these 3 steps to ensure your home is a drug-free zone. Additionally, the remix to Mike Posner’s song “I Took A Pill in Ibiza,” is still #7 on the Hot 100. Despite the presence of one f-bomb and a music video with some explicit content, the song offers a rare look at the hollow culture of drug use. A well-positioned invocation of Posner could lend credibility as you have this discussion with your kids.
Top 8 Songs of the Summer
Pitchfork Media suggests that these songs will likely be this summer’s definitive anthems. Here’s what you need to know:
1. “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake: Extremely catchy; about the supremacy of feeling good in the moment. It’s a natural outflow of our postmodern world’s emphasis on experience and feeling. See a fuller review of this song in our May 20 issue.
3. “This Is What You Came For” by Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna: About getting the attention of a powerful, popular woman. Rihanna’s name is also on 5 other hugely popular songs now, which are mostly about relationships in which one person wants commitment and the other just wants sex.
4. “Into You” by Ariana Grande: Also about a relationship, hoping the guy is ready to make sexual advances. From her new album Dangerous Woman, which promotes female “empowerment” by associating it with high-risk behavior.
5. “Toothbrush” by DNCE: Frontman Joe Jonas invites a woman to stash toiletries at his house to help integrate casual sex more easily into the rest her life. If your teen was a fan of the Jonas Brothers, ask him/her what he/she thinks about DNCE.
6. “Me Too” by Meghan Trainor: About feeling confident, being envied, and not needing a guy for affirmation. Key lyrics: “I thank God every day / I woke up feeling this way / And I can’t help loving myself / And I don’t need nobody else.”
7. “HandClap” by Fitz and the Tantrums: Catchy and weird; about—surprise!—a sexual relationship. At one point, he either prays to James Brown or tells James Brown he’s praying to God to be able to make a girl’s “hands clap.”
8. “Go!” by M83: Indie track about trying to keep the spark in a long-distance relationship. Key lyrics: “Gonna find you in the night / Gonna make it or die” and “I’m done without you.”
Many of these songs tend to elevate the gifts (sex, relationships, good feelings, etc.) over the Giver of these gifts, divorcing them from the context for which they were intended. Our culture bristles at the idea that sex should be confined to heterosexual marriage, and we forget that the God who makes this restriction is also the God who, by the way, invented sex in the first place! Talk to your kids this week about God as a giver of good gifts, who knows best how and when those gifts should be received.