Vol. 3 Issue 32 | August 11, 2017
Three Things This Week
1. Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?
Why it's important: Today’s teens are less likely to be in a car accident, less likely to abuse alcohol, and less likely to have sex. Good, right? Not totally. They are safer, yet more depressed than ever. Why? Screen time. Dr. Twenge’s research found that “teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy.” And there is no exception! Screen time always leads to less happiness while all non-screen activity is linked to more happiness. Please read the article with your teen and create practical activities that can replace their screentime.
2. Teen Choice Awards
What it is: The Teen Choice Awards air on Fox at 8p/7p central on Sunday, August 13.
Why they're illuminating: Unlike other awards shows, the winners are actually chosen by teens. So if you want to know what’s really impacting and influencing your kids, watch this Sunday. But if you also want to start some interesting discussions and get a glimpse into your teens’ minds, watch with them and ask lots of questions. Why is this guy so popular? Why are you sad she didn’t win? Do you think he/she should’ve gotten the Best Artist award? Why or why not? Then join us on Facebook Live (@axisideas) on Monday at 4p Mountain Time to hear some of our thoughts on the awards.
3. Bieber’s HypePriests
Why it’s weird: Bieber and his boys all look alike, with the same “mega-hyped clothes” (Lentz was spotted wearing a $9,000 hoodie) and grail glasses. According to GQ, Lentz is spreading the Gospel “one selfie-with-a-celebrity at a time.” It’s suddenly cool to be Christian, but what does that even mean? Celebrity Christianity says the only way to go is up. Be hip, be a star, or at least a “pastor of the stars”. And, like Bieber’s buddies, our teens are tempted to be relevant, spectacular, and hip all in the name of Jesus. But following Jesus has never been about building a platform, it’s more about following him on the road of “downward mobility”. Jesus went from something to nothing. He took the last place in line, the worst seat at the table, and refused the temptation to be relevant. Ask your teens, is the divine way really the downward way? What examples can they come up with of Christian celebrities that are making an impact for the kingdom, and how are they doing it?
Bonus! Axis Giving Day Update
Because of readers just like you, we’ve now raised $16,830 towards our goal of $25,000 to Keep The Culture Translator Free! If you haven’t made your gift, do it now! Every dollar you give allows us to give The Culture Translator to two new families this fall. Thank you!
Sarahah or Matthew 18
Arabic for “honesty”, Sarahah is a new app allowing users to send anonymous feedback to friends about their strengths and weaknesses. It gives “friends a place to communicate honestly with one another” about areas for improvement, but it’s quickly becoming the Summer’s hottest gossip app since teens started sharing the comments they receive via Snapchat. But is giving anonymous, digital criticism to our friends Christ-like, or are we called to a more vulnerable, yet rewarding kind of confrontation that leads to peace and reconciliation?
Jesus provides the model for feedback and confrontation when he says “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.” In person, face to face, not online or anonymous. Christ-like confrontation is deeply personal and fully embodied. Why? Because confronting our brother or sister in Christ makes us as vulnerable as they are. It means that in the process, we may discover we are actually in the wrong. Or worse, like Jonah, we might lose the self-righteous source of our hostility and the moral high-ground if they actually repent, forcing us to forgive.
Ask your teens if they’ve used Sarahah. Did it help them identify a character flaw or blind-spot, or did it lead to further isolation, anxiety, or self-loathing. Our guess is the later.
Digital criticism rarely leads to reconciliation or growth because it costs nothing and demands nothing in return. The issue is not whether to ignore sin or areas of personal growth in our brothers and sisters in Christ, but rather how to confront it. Christian discipleship requires personal confrontation because peace is not simply the absence of violence, it is the embodiment of love which actively confronts in order to redeem. If we fail to challenge one another in our sins or faults, we in fact abandon one another to death. Peacemaking, unlike Sarahah, is the faithful “practice of a community that knows it lives as a forgiven people” and seeks to offer that forgiveness to one another.
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