Vol. 2 Issue 45 | November 11, 2016
Three Things This Week
1. Nintendo Switch
What it is: Nintendo recently announced their new hybrid game console, Switch, combining the graphical power of a traditional home console with the mobility of a Gameboy portable device.
Why it’s important: Gamers don’t have to put down a game when they have to leave for school–they can play the same game wherever they want and can easily sync with other Switch players for mobile multiplayer. If there’s a gamer in your household who looks forward to the console, discuss appropriate device-use policies. Games are already designed to be addictive, and Switch is going to make it easier to stay in the game at all times.
2. Psychic Simpsons?
What it is: On Wednesday, a tweet claiming an episode of The Simpsons that aired in 2000 predicted Trump’s win (down to tiny details), then Thursday a tweet (warning: profanity) claiming the show also predicted this trending Christmas ad went viral.
Why it’s silly: As Mashable points out, the election tweet is misleading, with images taken from an episode airing in 2015, after Trump announced his candidacy. Yes, an episode from 2000 predicted his presidency, but not with any of the images found in the tweet. As for the ad, Mashable also debunks it. So what’s the big deal? Both tweets went viral and were believed to be factual. It’s a great example (along with this) to teach students the power of virality and our willingness to believe what we see on the Internet.
3. Spam Sext
What it is: Middle school students at a Christian school in Albuquerque, NM were surprised this week when a link within a text message that appeared to come from the school sent them to an x-rated website.
Why it’s infuriating: Most likely someone hacked the school’s servers, forcibly exposing 11- to 14-year-olds to images they can’t unsee. And while the text may have seemed legit even to adults, it points to the larger issue of teaching tweens and teens how to protect themselves when online. Here are 4 strategies to keep your students safe online. In addition, our Virtual Training on pornography is a great way to show students why pornography is so addictive and dangerous.
The Politics of Jesus
On Tuesday, the United States elected Donald Trump to be its 45th President by carrying 80% of the white evangelical vote. And while millennials supported Hillary Clinton more than their parents, students who stood in line for hours to vote for Obama were far less willing to do so for Clinton. In fact, millennials had the lowest voter turnout of any age group. Why? Students aren’t engaging in politics because they don’t see credible ways in which Washington is helping a hurting world. They are less likely than their parents to support the “lesser of two evils” tactic, and maybe they are in good company.
Forced to choose between colluding with Rome and violently revolting against her, Jesus choose a third way of being political by instituting the Kingdom of God. The Sermon on the Mount articulates what citizenship in this kingdom looks like: love of enemies, reconciliation, sharing resources, sexual purity, and redemptive justice. For Jesus, politics were nothing if not personal, local, and liberating. Here are four ways you can engage your students in meaningful public action by embodying the politics of Jesus.
3. Hospitality: One of the greatest ways Jesus brought salvation into a broken world was through table fellowship. Encourage your students to live missionally by cooking a meal for their neighbors once a month and sharing it with them!
4. Radical Friendship: Inspire your students to befriend someone with a different skin color. As minority students face growing anxiety due to a spike in racist incidents in schools, break down the barriers of fear and division by encouraging unity. Finally, talk about racial issues in your classroom to ease the awkwardness.
Our students don’t need power to be political. Their task, and ours, is to bear witness to King Jesus by embodying the reign of Christ in daily life. Whenever we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the lonely, listen to the marginalized, and bring peace into a violent world, we proclaim that Jesus is Lord.