Vol. 3 Issue 16 | April 21, 2017
Three Things This Week
1. Sign of the Times
Why it’s important: Both the sound and lyrics mark a clear departure from his 1D days, showing a more grown up, contemplative side. As one author says, “The heartthrob is dead; long live the ‘artthrob,’” i.e. a “grown up artiste” who offers more than catchy tunes and silly lyrics. And since Styles says the song is about childbirth, he’s clearly going beyond 1D’s “Live While We’re Young” mentality. Work through the lyrics with your students; ask them what they think he means by, “They told me the end is near / We gotta get away from here.” Be ready for the album’s release in May, as it will be highly influential.
2. Star Wars: Battlefront II
What it is: A story-based video game, releasing in November, that invites players “into the dark side” by playing from the Empire’s perspective.
Why it’s clever: The game humanizes the evil Empire and erases the overly simplistic notion of ultimate good guys (the Republic) fighting unredeemable bad guys (the Empire). Real life just isn’t that simple. Though we should never call evil good or good evil, the game—along with your wisdom and guidance—can help students remember that the line separating good and evil runs “through every human heart.” Use your gamer’s interest in the game as a catalyst for dialogue about how a dualistic worldview reduces the world into false dichotomies (pretty/ugly, smart/stupid, in/out) and fails to comprehend complex concepts—like love, grace, suffering, and sacrifice—that are core to the Gospel.
What it is: A new documentary that reveals just how much Spring Break culture impacts younger generations and feeds the sex-trafficking and p*rnography industries.
Why it’s huge: To fully understand the sexual landscape students encounter in high school and college, one must first grasp the influence of “hookup culture” and how it’s incessantly propagated through media. The documentary heartbreakingly exposes that culture, ultimately offering a hopeful perspective on what it means to be truly liberated. As parents/teachers/pastors, we hope you prayerfully consider seeing the film at one of its screenings or sign up to be notified when it’s available for online viewing. Though the eye-opening content is very disturbing, it can help you better disciple your students to love, pursue, and promote true liberation.
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Culture War or Culture Care?*
When it comes to culture, do you consider yourself a foot soldier or a gardener? In today’s world, it is more important for Christians to participate in culture by creating and nurturing it than merely fighting over it.
That’s what Makoto Fujimura says in his new book Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for Our Common Life. “Culture is not a territory to be won or lost but a resource we are called to steward with care. Culture is a garden to be cultivated.” In other words, Fujimura wants to shift our thinking away from the “culture wars” model and into influencing culture for good. Culture is a garden we tend and cultivate, thereby creating good things to grow in it.
So how do help our students care for culture instead of warring over it? First, Fujimura suggests Christians invest in the arts. Second, he encourages the church to form partnerships with the local artistic community to support and nurture art on the local level. And finally, we must help our students move beyond a pragmatic, utilitarian view of the world by recognizing and participating in the creation of beauty for beauty’s sake. As Dostoyevsky reminds us, “Beauty will save the world.” The arts activate a part of your mind and soul that digital media does not. The arts cultivate the imagination, reveal universal truth, and foster the creation of beauty in an often dark world, reminding us that God is still active and alive in His good creation. Culture care renews our appreciation of goodness, truth, and beauty. And that is good for everyone.
One of the best things about Culture Care is Fujimura’s optimism about our future. He firmly believes we are living in a “genesis moment” whereby we are invited to nurture and care for culture and those who create it. Help your students become a part of this transformative movement by reading Fujimura’s book with them, then brainstorming practical ways they can be part of transforming culture right now.
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