Vol. 2 Issue 4 | January 29, 2016
THREE THINGS THIS WEEK
1. “NOT RECYCLING IS MORE IMMORAL THAN VIEWING PORN”
What It Is: Josh McDowell and the Barna Group recently released findings from their new study, The Porn Phenomenon, including that many teens believe it’s worse to not recycle than to view porn.
Why It’s Important: Other key findings: 1. Only 1 in 20 young adults and 1 in 10 teens say their friends think viewing porn is bad; 2. 70% of youth pastors have had a least 1 teen ask for help with porn in the last year; and 3. 21% of youth pastors say they currently struggle with porn, too. Yikes! So what can we do? Bring this issue into the light! There is a sinister power to secrecy, but the truth is always freeing and can break the stronghold that pornography might have in students’ lives. Be bold, be brave, and engage this issue head on. Here are two resources to help get the conversation started: XXXChurch.com and FightTheNewDrug.org.
2. WELCOME TO 2K16
What It Is: Mattel has ditched the Barbie of yesteryear and released 3 new body types, as well as a variety of features that make her look more like the children who play with her.
Why It’s Important: With so much pressure to look a certain way bombarding kids almost as soon as they’re born, this is a big step in the right direction. It also gives girls and boys alike more realistic expectations of the people around them and their appearances. Now if only Hollywood would catch up… #OscarsSoWhite
3. FACEBOOK REACTIONS
What It Is: Facebook is finally adding 5 new emoji alternatives to the “like” button.
Why It’s Good: “A picture is worth a thousand words” is being embraced wholeheartedly by youth. Emojis, GIFs, and stickers are quickly becoming the preferred method of communication. We adults need to learn the ins and outs in order to speak students’ language. (Here’s a list of GIF apps.)
Why It’s Bad: Words? Those are, like, hard. As Bloomberg Business put it, this “will let Facebook users be a little more thoughtful, or at least seem to be, without having to try very hard.” Adding emojis to our daily lives is one thing, but using them to replace actual words altogether (lazy, anyone?) is another. While using kids’ preferred technologies to reach them is great, it can never replace teaching them to express themselves in face-to-face conversations.
MOVIE REVIEW: KUNG FU PANDA 3
Kung Fu Panda 3 is a lighthearted adventure about discovering one’s inherent spiritual powers. When the evil Kai returns from the spirit realm to steal everyone’s chi, Po is encouraged to seek his true self in order to learn how to defeat him. Also woven throughout the plot are many worldview assumptions—mainly spiritualistic, like reincarnation and chi. (Also note how the pairing of Po’s biological father and adopted father occasions many joyful references to Po’s “two dads.”) But the main premise of the story is that when we discover who we truly are, we will find both purpose and deep spiritual power. This idea and others in the film are deceptive if looked at from one perspective, yet true if looked at from another.
Very often, when we talk of “seeking our true selves,” it is implied that the solutions to all our problems begin and end with us (i.e. “look within yourself,” ”do what feels right,” or “follow your heart”). However, if we go back to the beginning, our truest of true selves is free from the power of sin and dysfunction because we live as we were made to: fulfilled solely by God Himself. But because we live in a time when sin does have power, the only way we can find our “true selves” is by asking God to help us die to ourselves (i.e. our flesh and how the curse distorts us) and make us more like Christ.
In Romans 3, Paul emphatically declares that without God, we do not have what it takes. But with God, like Jesus says here, we are empowered to live into our calling to be “the light of the world.”
Kung Fu Panda 3 is endearing and enjoyable for people of all ages. But it’s also an opportunity to help your kids see how two perspectives on one idea can yield two very different conclusions. Ideas have consequences, but after you’ve taught your kids the biblical perspective, those consequences can go from being harmful and false to being both legitimate and empowering.