Vol. 3 Issue 33 | August 18, 2017

Vol. 3 Issue 33 | August 18, 2017

Three Things This Week

1. Athletic Resistance

What it is: Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and NFL star Michael Bennett joined a chorus of athletes using their celebrity status to speak out against rising racial hostilities in the U.S.

Why it's changing: THistorically, the critical response to black athletes (Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabar) that made political statements was, “stick to sports” and leave politics to the experts. And, after decades of athletes choosing to “keep athletics and politics separate”, that mindset is changing as Lebron and KD are personally “rewiring the expectations of the modern NBA superstar” by using their platform and influence to shed light on social justice issues. It’s refreshing because like the rest of us, they are human too. No amount of money or fame should make you immune to the plight of the oppressed. When it comes to issues like racism, ask your teen if they are more influenced by a seasoned politician or a sports star, and why? Which voice is more trustworthy?

2. Ask Kylie

What it is: 20-year-old social media icon Kylie Jenner is starring in her own Snapchat show called Ask Kylie” in which she answers fans’ questions.

Why it's distracting: Our world needs redemption, but teens often aren’t involved in God’s slow work of new creation because they’re consumed by trivialities...like what it was like for Kylie to start a makeup line or whom she’s dating (#FirstWorldProblems). It’s tempting to be frustrated at them for being shallow, but let’s be honest: We’re partly responsible because we’ve enabled their focus to become too inward and their lives to be too easy by allowing them to “entertain themselves to death”. Help them see a world beyond their own by asking them, “What issues break your heart?” Then ask them what skills or passions God uniquely gifted them with to address those issues. As pastor Frederick Buechner reminds us, “the place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

3. Versace on the Floor

What it is: Bruno Mars’ latest music video, which released during the Teen Choice Awards, has already amassed over 15 million views.

Why it’s manipulative: The video features Zendaya and shows both Mars and Zendaya going into neighboring hotel rooms. Mars begins playing his piano and singing, which Zendaya hears through the wall. Singing lyrics like, “I love that dress, but you won’t need it anymore...Let’s just kiss ‘til we’re naked, baby,” Mars is apparently so compelling that her dress magically unzips and she can’t help but feel turned on. She doesn’t actually say a word throughout the video, reinforcing the idea that if Mars’ sex appeal is strong enough, she is totally powerless to resist. He is in control; she is a pawn who only goes where he leads. Could songs like this be desensitizing teens to grooming tactics?

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Quick note: In case you were wondering, the subject line of last week’s email was not an error. It was a play on “Beliebers,” the term for Justin Bieber’s fans (see more nicknames for fandoms here).

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