Vol. 2 Issue 50 | December 16, 2016

Vol. 2 Issue 50 | December 16, 2016

Three Things This Week

1. I Don’t Wanna Live Forever

What it is: Taylor Swift's new song in collaboration with Zayn Malik for the Fifty Shades Darker movie.

Why it's important: Swift’s decision to associate herself with this movie franchise is a calculated and predictable progression of her public image since the release of 1989. The golden gal fans first fell in love with has outgrown both the music and the persona that made her such an incredible role model for young girls. Today, along with this sultry side of Swift, the pop diva is mostly known for her A-list only friend squad, self-proclaimed generosity (“Swiftmas”), and her highly choreographed life. Ask your daughters this: How has Taylor Swift (past & present) shaped your view of relationships, beauty, and personal identity? And, ask yourself this: Can I still in good conscious encourage my daughter to see Swift as a role model? Why or why not?

2. Xenophobia

What it is: Triggered by Brexit, the global refugee crisis, and the US Presidential election, Dictionary.com chose Xenophobia as it’s 2016 word of the year.

Why it's important: Xenophobia is the “fear or hatred of foreigners and strangers”. It is learning who I am based on who I am against. Yet Scripture breaks down those barriers. God commands us to “Love the stranger because you were once strangers.” In fact, Jesus himself was a refugee. But for our students, the stranger might not be a Syrian immigrant, it is more likely to be the outsider among them: the lonely gamer, the “band geek”, the new girl, or THOT. Help your students move from hostility to hospitality in their daily interactions with “cafeteria fringe” students.

3. Chewbacca Mom

What it is: This summer, 37-year-old mom Candace Payne became an internet sensation when her Facebook Live video in a Chewbacca mask went viral with over 100 million views.

Why it's important: Because it’s hilarious! Seriously, we dare you to watch it and not belly laugh. Even James Corden and JJ Abrams got in on the fun. Due to her viral fame, TLC just signed Payne for two reality shows starting next week. In life and on social media, it’s easy to let all the negativity get you down. Chewbacca Mom reminds us that the world needs more laughter, it needs more joy. Take four minutes today and laugh until you cry, it will do you good!

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Star Wars: Rogue One

With its female lead, international cast, and emphasis on rebellion, Star Wars: Rogue One comes at a perfect time to be overtly politicized. Incidentally, it’s also a great movie. In the Star Wars universe, the story falls chronologically between Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith and Episode 4: A New Hope. Darth Vader is at the peak of his nastiness, the first Death Star has just eclipsed the light, and an interracial and interspecies group of selfless rebels breaks into the fortress of darkness to relay hope for renewal.

Author and pastor Tim Keller says the stories that reverberate most profoundly in the human heart do so because they emulate what is happening in our world. And, at its core, Star Wars: Rogue One is a movie about rebellion.

Two times in the movie characters utter the phrase “Rebellions are built on hope.” Satan led a rebellion based on the (false) hope that true freedom is found by rejecting God’s sovereignty. But all rebellions aren’t bad.

This Advent season we remember the divine rebellion of the Word made flesh. We recall the risky, stealth-like strategy of God invading the world in the form of a helpless baby in order to rescue us from the power of sin and death. And we declare that God’s holy rebellion against Satan does not come through shield and sword, but rather through His suffering servant.

Encourage your students to rebel against the forces of evil by living lives filled with hope. Teach them that Christian hope is different than shallow optimism. Hope is the defiant belief that God will make good on all his promises, no matter how bad things appear to be right now. Christian hope is a light shining in the darkness, and the darkness unable to overcome it. It is joining God in his rebellious, redemptive story to make all things new. Because as Princess Leia reminds us, it is hope that we’ve been sent.

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