Vol. 2 Issue 49 | December 9 , 2016
Three Things This Week
1. Can’t see through the smoke
What it is: A new study by JAMA Ophthalmology suggests regular pot smoking can cause severe vision problems.
Why it’s important: Marijuana is now legal (medical or recreational) in 28 US states, leading to a decline in alcohol use as young beer drinkers switch to marijuana as their new drug of choice. And while pot proponents continue to cite the safety of marijuana use in comparison to other drugs, the research proves otherwise. In fact, we know that adolescence marks a critical period of neurological development and that cannabis is harder on the developing teenage brain than on the more static adult brain. Here are four damaging side effects of marijuana overdose. Remember, just because something is legal, doesn’t make it safe.
2. 2016 Game Awards
What it is: The third annual celebration of the best video games of this year.
Why it’s important: It’s the gaming equivalent of the Grammys or Oscars. 3.8 million people watched it live worldwide. This video reminds us why students love gaming: they offer an alternative reality complete with power, freedom, and a sense of accomplishment. Ultimately, gaming can become a second life that your teen escapes to in order to mask real insecurities. Gaming celebrates process, achievement, and control over relationships, context, and compassion. Ask your teen: Is gaming making you more or less human? Because in many ways gaming highlights the tension between the desire to achieve mastery or control in life and over people versus the ability to live at peace with our own imperfections as well as the fallibility of others.
3. “What am I supposed to do with my life?”
What it is: The most common question our live teams hear from students all across North America.
Why it’s important: Your student’s career options are as overwhelmingly varied as our supermarkets and Froyo. Encourage them to read Kevin DeYoung’s book Just Do Something, which emphasizes sanctification as God’s will for their lives, and asserts that they cannot make the “wrong” life-choice and fall out of God’s grace as long as they submit and surrender their own will to the divine will of God. Also, watch Barry Schwartz’s TED talk (some brief explicit content), to help your students navigate a world of unending choice.
Join us for our next parent webinar: https://axis.org/webinar-registration
Album Review: Starboy
With all 18 songs climbing the Hot 100, The Weeknd’s new album Starboy trades the murky, low-key atmosphere of his older music for something that sounds more like mainstream pop or a desensitized Michael Jackson. Central to the album is Abel Tesfaye’s (The Weeknd) attempt to reinvent himself. The music video for the title track includes footage of Tesfaye murdering his old self, and destroying all his previous accomplishments with a pink cross. He’s starting over, a desire many students may resonate with — whether wearing new clothes, getting a new haircut, or deleting/editing a social media profile.
However, what students may not realize, and what Tesfaye certainly doesn’t understand, is that apart from Christ, any attempts to establish a new self will only lead back to the reoccupation of the old. Lyrically, Tesfaye is returning to his own vomit by repeating the folly of his previous drug/alcohol abuse (notable on “Starboy,” “Party Monster,” and “Reminder”), as well as repeated references to lust and sexual promiscuity (developed in songs like “Rockin,” “True Colors,” and “Die for You”). And though Tesfaye’s sound and appearance are remade on this album, it’s clear that his old self is simply hiding under the veneer of a new production style.
Help your students remember that lasting transformation comes from putting off the old self and “taking on the new self“. Colossians even commands us to “put to death” our old ways in order to be reborn in Christ. In this putting off and taking on, we actually get to participate in resurrection as our lives are transformed more and more into the image of Christ. Invite your students into this story of renewal, because bit by bit, God is restoring us so that we may join him in the restoration of all things.