Vol 3 Issue 21 | May 26, 2017
Three Things This Week
1. Manchester United
What it is: A terrorist act killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England on May 22.
Why it’s important: “Terrorists have always sought attention, and the age of social media has enabled them to find it with unprecedented breadth.” Research even shows the media frenzy surrounding a bombing leads to future attacks. ISIS needs a platform (often the social one) to win; don’t give it to them. Sensationalized responses not only validate their actions, they also lead to religious extremism, polarity, and hatred between Christians and Muslims. Encourage your students to think before they tweet, otherwise they may unintentionally aid ISIS’s mission to drive a further wedge between Christians and Muslims who would generally refuse to conspire, conflict, condemn, and crucify one another.
What it is: Former Bachelorette star Kaitlyn Bristowe started the hashtag on Instagram after posting a photo of herself with no “alterations,” saying, “Once a week, let’s post a real pic. A pic that shows we are confident enough to be happy with who we are.”
Why it’s good: Celebrities, social media influencers, and even brands are getting on board with body positivity, offering new ways to combat the effects of digital retouching, flawless makeup, and a one-size-fits-all standard of beauty. As overdue as these movements are, none will have as big of an impact on a child’s view of herself as how her parents talk about and model self-acceptance. Jessie Minassian of LifeLoveandGod.com addresses this need, offering practical ideas for helping teens see beauty from God’s perspective in her interview in The Parenting Teens Summit, which starts June 1!
3. Far Cry 5
Why it’s interesting: These “Christian” fanatics join cannibals, megalomaniac dictators, and pirate lords in Far Cry’s lineup of evil, highlighting the ghastly effects of religious extremists who take Scripture out of context. It’s nothing new in media (The Handmaid’s Tale) or history (the KKK, the Spanish Inquisition), and Christianity will always be hated, misunderstood, or misused. Young gamers might struggle to distinguish between authentic Christianity and the distorted version represented in Far Cry 5, especially if all they’ve ever been exposed to by media is the warped version. Christian game designer Tim Cleary discusses the appeal of games and how you can engage with the gamer in your household in our Parenting Teens Summit.
The Scarlet Graduate
A Christian high school in Maryland banned Maddi Runkles from attending graduation even though she has straight A’s. Why? She’s pregnant. In a letter to parents, the school principal said Maddi wasn’t being disciplined because she is pregnant but “because she was immoral.” Maddi admits she even considered having an abortion due to the humiliation and “continual punishment” from her Christian community: “Some pro-life people are against the killing of unborn babies, but they won’t speak out in support of the girl who chooses to keep her baby.”
Maddi’s story, and her school’s response, is a great opportunity to reframe the conversation about purity, shame, and compassion because “if truth were everywhere to be shown, a scarlet letter would blaze forth on many a bosom”. We’ve all “sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” yet in our well-meaning efforts to protect our kids from a society of sexual promiscuity, we’ve often cultivated a culture of shame by putting sexual sin in a debilitating category of its own, describing it as irreversible and catastrophic. This is especially toxic for our daughters, whose worth is often determined by what she does with, and what is done to her body. Inherent in this conversation of purity and shame is the false dichotomy of virgin or vamp, clean or dirty, chaste or damaged goods. And, if she makes a mistake or is the victim of sexual aggression, she is forever ruined.
If this is the dominant narrative our teens are hearing about sex, what’s the alternative? Like most matters, Jesus changes the conversation, replacing a culture of shame with a community of compassion. Yes, we are to be holy because God is holy, but equally so, we are to “be compassionate as God is compassionate.” Remember the woman caught in adultery? The morality police believed they were well within their rights to stone her based on the law. Yet Jesus refused to compound her sin with shame; instead he stepped in to absorb the mob’s wrath on Himself, in the same way He did on the cross, where our purity was secured for eternity. If shame “corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change”, compassion creates new possibilities by inviting us back into right relationship with God and our community. Because in Christ, all things are being made new, even our sexuality.
Only a Few Days Left . . .
Our online Parenting Teens Summit encore kicks off June 1, and you don’t want to miss a second of it! With 40+ interviews from experts, we’ve covered almost every topic, and you can watch every video from the comfort of your own home. Reserve your spot now!
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