Vol. 3 Issue 09 | March 3, 2017
Three Things This Week
Why it's important: In an unprecedented envelope mix-up, Faye Dunaway announced La La Land as the Oscar winner when in fact Moonlight won the night’s top award. Moonlight is a coming of age drama about a young black boy struggling with his sexual identity while growing up in a drug-infested family. If your teen watched the movie, ask them how to love individuals like Chiron while also not affirming his lifestyle, as seen in Jesus’ interaction with the woman at the well.
2. Transgender Wrestler
What it is: Texas transgender teen Mack Beggs won the 6A girls wrestling title this week in Cypress, Texas.
Why it's important: The wrestler identifies as male and takes testosterone as part of hormone therapy. Beggs wishes to wrestle against boys but Texas high school rules require individuals to compete according to the sex on their birth certificate, which for Mack, is female. This is a complex topic to navigate, so educate yourself before starting conversations about gender identity with your kids. And, remember that 82% of transgender youth report feeling unsafe at school, while 44% report physical abuse. Encourage your teens to offer Christ-like responses to transgender classmates struggling with gender identity.
3. The “X” Plan
What it is: A secret texting code devised by youth pastor/dad Bert Fulks to help get his teens out of dangerous or tempting situations.
Why it's good: Every teen finds themselves in peer pressure situations when alcohol, drugs, porn, or sexual impropriety are suddenly a real temptation. If Fulks’ son is in a dangerous situation that he doesn’t want to be in, he texts his dad the letter “X” and upon receiving it, his dad calls him to come home immediately. The call provides an easy way of escape. But here’s the hard part for parents, you cannot judge or ask prying questions! Why? Because trust goes both ways. If we want our kids to believe that they are safe with us, and that we will come to their rescue no matter the circumstance, they need to know their is no condemnation when they need us. Practice this subversive plan with your teens starting this weekend!
The Journey Into Lent
On Wednesday Christians all across the world began a season of penitent preparation known as Lent. From the Anglo-Saxon word “Lencten”, meaning “to lengthen”, Lent refers to the ever increasing hours of sunlight as Spring creeps nearer and winter retreats back from whence she came.
Lent is the holy season we align our soul more deliberately with the spirit of God. It is living for forty days the way we should be living the whole year round. The Lenten rituals of prayer, fasting, repentance, and self-denial is the opportunity to take seriously Christ’s call to “deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow me continuously”. It is joining Jesus on the painful journey to Jerusalem. Lent helps us remember that there can be no risen Christ without crucifixion. To rush past the tomb on our way to Easter morning is like opening a gift without the heart to embrace it. Dietrich Bonhoeffer called this “cheap grace”. It’s preaching forgiveness without requiring repentance. We cannot truly celebrate the end of anything without first starting at the painful beginning. Lent allows us to do just that.
Here are three spiritual practices you can do with your teens during Lent to help you embrace the passion and resurrection of Jesus.
1. Deny Yourself: Choose something (social media, caffeine, lunch) and fast from it throughout the 40 days of Lent.
2. Pick Up: Start a new spiritual discipline. Spend 5-minutes every morning in prayer as a family, read the Gospels or a Lenten devotional as a family.
3. Follow Me: Align your heart with Jesus through acts of service. Keep change in your car to give away to the homeless, join the Matthew 25 Movement, or practice radical hospitality by sharing a meal with marginalized people in your community.
The Culture Translator is coming to a city near you starting tomorrow, March 4 in Atlanta! Join us for The Culture Translator Live events all across the U.S. as our team shares the top three trends shaping the minds and hearts of students in 2017! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info, dates, times, and locations!
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