Vol. 2 Issue 43 | October 28, 2016
Three Things This Week
What it is: Holidays = party time for many teens. And with that come many choices: Do I drink? Do I hook up? Do I get in a car with my drunk friend behind the wheel?
Why it's important: As hard as we try to raise our children to honor God in all they do, they aren’t robots. So if your teen makes foolish choices this weekend, it’s ok to get upset because, if we love holiness, sin should be abhorrent to us. However, turn your righteous anger into a redemptive opportunity to offer grace and forgiveness. You know your teen best: What will best help him deeply grasp the consequences (emotional, spiritual, relational, etc.) of his choices? What will draw her closer to the heart of God, rather than push her even more toward the patterns of this world?
2. Dig into the Word
What it is: Jefferson Bethke, whom you may recognize from this viral video, has an amazing online workshop with practical tools to help us get excited about and make time for reading God’s Word every day.
Why it's valuable: The Bible is more accessible than ever, yet our technological advances don’t necessarily help us to better understand it or apply it to our lives. If you, your family, or your students have ever felt disconnected from, confused by, or even bored with God’s Word, this course is absolutely worth the investment. With so many things competing for our time, attention, hearts, and minds, being rooted in God’s Word is paramount!
3. The Walking Dead
What it is: Season 7 of the top show premiered Sunday with blood, brutality, death, and the worst villain yet.
Why it's influential: The storytellers at AMC are masters, knowing not only how to drive ratings up by pushing the limits of violence, but also how to make viewers feel personally connected to the characters. In this week’s season premiere of TWD viewers received a punch to the gut when one of their most beloved characters was murdered by the sadism of newcomer Negan, leaving many viewers with a real sense of personal loss and the feeling of being manipulated by the show’s increasing level of cruelty. At this point, the show is a cultural experiment to see just how much gratuitous violence the audience can take before they break. TWD smashes heads and calls it art. It’s not, it’s dehumanizing. Help your younger viewers create the discernment to know when enough is enough by refusing to continue filling their minds and hearts with gore, brutality and violence.
Not Just “Becky” Music
Have you ever met Becky? She’s a 40-year-old devoted Christian wife, mother, and soccer mom who loves women’s retreats and lattes, and most significantly, only listens to Christian radio stations.
Of course, Becky isn’t a real person; she’s a caricature created by Nashville that embodies their target audience: 35- to 44-year-old women. But the music “Becky” likes isn’t what her children connect with, because in part the bulk of Christian music can be unoriginal, inauthentic, and artistically bereft.
And while students have rejected the music of their mothers, that doesn't mean they are rejecting Jesus; it just proves that generationally, our tastes are varying and diverse. Instead of forcing Becky’s music on your students, offer them something beautiful, artistic, and engaging. Here are 10 artists that are producing quality, Christian music for your students. Play these songs in your car or classroom and watch how your students respond. (Know of another excellent artist? We'd love to check them out. Tell us by replying to this email!)
John Mark McMillan
Thoughtful lyrics wrestling with tough questions; variety of genres and sounds.
Fun fact: He wrote the song “How He Loves,” which was popularized by David Crowder!
Album to check out: Borderland
Liturgical feel; has albums influenced by the church calendar; beautiful piano and stringed instruments.
Album to check out: Brother
Atmospheric Indie rock; reflective, soft jams; prayers from the Psalms.
Album to check out: Asaph
Soulful grooves exploring different time periods; lyrics discuss sin and social consciousness.
Album to check out: The Narrative (released last week!)
‘80s vibe; lots of awesome synth; songs about the Holy Spirit.
Album to check out: In Three Persons
A collaboration of several artists; multi-layered and well-produced; lyrics dwell on the goodness of God and our identity in Christ.
Album to check out: We Will Not Be Shaken