Vol. 4 Issue 23 | June 8, 2018
Three Things This Week
1. Post Malone
Who he is: A hip-hop artist who recently broke a 54-year-long Beatles record for most songs in the top 20 of Billboard’s Hot 100.
Why he’s important: In more than one way, he is the embodiment of Gen Z’s values. He blends styles (of music and of dress), calling his music “genre-less” (language) and reflecting the idea that labels are unnecessary and restricting. He’s white and making it big in a space in which few white artists have had success (though he’s been called a “culture vulture” for doing so), which may be due to the “post-racial” mindset of Gen Z. And he openly promotes (language) the “you do you” mentality: “Live your best life. Don’t listen to what nobody has to say about you cause you are the s*** and you can do whatever you wanna do if you believe in yourself” (edited for language). As complicated as he might seem to us, he makes perfect sense to younger listeners—just ask them and see what they say.
What it is: The Miss America pageant announced it’s removing the swimsuit portion of the competition, and it’s surprisingly getting a lot of backlash from women.
Why it’s polarizing: Though the organization said its motive is to better focus on women’s minds and talents, some former competitors have taken to social media to voice their disapproval, saying that loving one’s body enough to get on stage in a bikini is empowering and that the pageant taught them to have a healthy relationship with food and exercise. Supporters say that it will encourage more contestant diversity and emphasize the org’s rep as a scholarship organization. What a great discussion to have with our daughters! Do they agree more with the supporters or dissenters? Why? Does it send the message that women have to cover up in order to be heard?
3. The Top Social Media Platform Is . . .
What it is: Not Snapchat. Definitely not Facebook. Got a guess? It’s . . . YouTube.
Why it’s notable: Pew Research Center’s most recent survey shows that 85% of 13- to 17-year-olds use YouTube, compared to 72% for Instagram, 69% for Snapchat, and only 51% for Facebook (though 35% of teens say they use Snapchat most often, compared to 32% for YouTube and 15% for Instagram). In addition, 95% of teens report owning or having access to a smartphone, and 45% say they’re online on a “near-constant basis.” There are other interesting findings in the report, so we suggest reading it. And if you’re wondering how to approach one or more of these technologies within your home, check out our Parent Guides and our Conversation Kits, each of which is designed to help you join, guide, and change the conversation about important topics!
June is Pride Month, a 30-day celebration honoring the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals and their impact on American culture. Pride month seeks to encourage people to visibly express their identification with or support of LGBT+ through parades, rallies, concerts, and social media posts. Honestly, it can be a bit uncomfortable and troubling for older Christians to know how to respond to such overt displays of LGBT+ expressions. But for our kids, this is the new normal.
In fact, Gen Z is twice as likely as millennials to identify as a member or ally of the LGBT+ community. 69% of teens don’t see a problem with a person identifying as transgender, probably because a third of them know someone who is transgender. And, when deciding whether or not homosexuality is right or wrong, our kids don’t automatically go to Scripture to find the answers; they instead ask their friends or the internet. So how should we respond?
First, acknowledge the pain and anguish the church has caused to members of the LGBT+ community. Second, educate yourself on LGBT+ issues (check out our new Parent’s Guide to LGBT+). Most importantly, be courageous and gracious enough to love people as they are. Remember, Jesus built real relationships with people society had rejected. He ate with sinners and tax collectors; women of ill-repute followed Him; and He refused to despise anyone who called on His name. Model His transformative ability to love broken people while simultaneously calling them toward holiness and repentance.
This isn’t an easy task, especially if your son or daughter is dealing with gender confusion or same-sex attraction. Don’t lose heart! Love them, protect them, listen to them, and never shame them. Help them see the beauty of holiness, and never forget that no matter what sexuality or gender they may identify with or support, sexuality cannot fulfill us, only Jesus can.
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