Vol. 3 Issue 50 | December 15, 2017
Three Things This Week
1. The Last Jedi
What it is: The eighth installment of the main Star Wars saga opened last night, bringing with it opportunities for conversations, some old and some actually new.
Nuanced it is*: The Last Jedi follows the same formula as all its predecessors: darkness and light, the empire vs. the resistance, an aging master and his young student. But the film actually offers fresh ideas worth talking about and, in the process, reinvents the franchise for a new generation. See the film with your teen, but rather than simply debating over which battle was the best, see if you pick up on these themes: war profiteering; the value of resisting evil without resorting to evil, even when we don’t “win”; and how good and evil reside within each of us, giving us the ability to empathize with and humanize our so-called real world “enemies.” Each of these are worth discussing and could lead to bigger, thought-provoking conversations with your teens.
2. NF Real Music
Why it’s telling: NF is unapologetically Christian, but unlike other Christian artists, he doesn’t put the Gospel in every track he produces. Instead, he isn’t afraid to be raw and tackle topics like loneliness, drug abuse, self-harm, and more. Despite criticism that his songs are too dark and violent, and despite the obvious lack of braggadocio, sex, and vulgarities in his music, his recent success reveals that his lyrics are filling the void left by both “Christian” and “secular” music. The next generation is desperate for more—more substance than chart-toppers currently offer, and more honesty and willingness to talk about taboo-but-real-life issues than most Christian music offers. Ask your teens what they think of NF, and check out all of his lyrics here.
3. A Year of Netflix
What it is: Netflix released some year-end numbers, revealing that viewers around the world watched more than 140 million hours per day.
Why it’s worth knowing: The company also listed out some other interesting statistics, like that one user streamed a Pirates of the Caribbean film every day for 365 days, which prompted understandable backlash from some over the lack of accountability such a giant company has. No matter what, the data from Netflix helps us know what our teens are watching (like Dark), how often they’re watching, and (hopefully) what conversations to have about discernment and time usage.
When Consent Isn’t Consent
Time Magazine chose the “silence breakers” from the #MeToo movement as “Person of the Year” for starting a national conversation about sexual abuse and sexual harassment—all while the list of sexual perpetrators in politics and entertainment continues to grow. But there is one thing each case has in common: an imbalance of power.
Sexual abuse is not just about sex. It’s about power, and women (especially young girls) are much more likely to be victimized due to their economic, social, and physical vulnerability. As expert guide Beth Moore describes from personal experience, “Countless women and girls (and boys) consent to sexual advances they do not welcome or want that scar them for a lifetime.” Why? “They feel enormously pressured, extremely unprotected, overpowered, and, at times, utterly powerless.” They lack the tools, ability, and authority to say no, but that does not make them accountable. Ever. Abuse is often (90% of the time) perpetrated by someone the child knows, making it even harder to resist, much less report. Tragically, society and our judicial system often blame and further shame victims for “their part” in the trauma, as if their clothing choices or alcohol intake were partially responsible for the harm that befell them. And frankly, sometimes parents do this too. Moore encourages that “if and when you learn that harmful sexual advances were made on your child or loved one then come to find out there was ‘consent,’ do not automatically assume consent is synonymous with welcome. Whatever you do, do not shame them. Help them.”
Here’s an incredible resource to help you know what to do if your child discloses unwanted sexual behavior. Finally, read Beth Moore’s article with your spouse or children (age-appropriate) to help you start this needed, yet troubling conversation.
P.S. Did you know The Culture Translator is 100% donor funded, allowing us to keep it free for everyone? We need to raise $30,000 by December 31 to keep it that way. Will you join us by making your year-end gift today? Click here to give the gift of culture translation! Thank you!!!
*If confused, go back and read as Yoda… 🙂
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