Vol. 5, Issue 11 | March 15, 2019

Vol. 5, Issue 11 | March 15, 2019

Three Things This Week

1. The Gospel According to Rachel Hollis

What it is: The best-selling author of Girl, Wash Your Face has a new book called Girl, Stop Apologizing that’s essentially “Christian” self-help.

Why its a bit off: Though Hollis’ original goal of encouraging women to pursue dreams is noble, she’s mostly just created an image-based empire for herself. We admire her desire to empower women, but her methods miss the mark, and it’s ironic that someone preaching a bootstrap self-reliance is also accused of plagiarism. Even more concerning is her “me first” mentality: “Is your schedule populated by things that will make your life better, or is it dictated by everybody else’s wants and needs?” So much for self-denial. In contrast to Hollis’ achievement-centered, prosperity gospel, Jesus took the road of downward mobility, becoming less in order to serve more. Have you or your daughters read her books? If so, what’s your take?

2. Teens’ Fav Chat App Is…

What it is: Drumroll, please……Google Docs. Yes, it beats Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Kik, a slew of other chat apps, and even passing handwritten notes in class because, well, it’s in camouflage.

Why it’s their favorite: Many teachers use Google Docs (or similar online collaborative word processors) to share lesson plans and group assignments, so students use the comments and chat features to pass digital notes about the day’s events, to dish gossip, to bully others, and even to flirt. And since the comments are easy to hide and most teachers (and parents) aren’t aware of the chat function, the risk of getting caught is low. It even works to circumvent social media bans or parent-imposed age restrictions. Of course, none of this is really new, just 21st-century interpretations of decades-old traditions, reminding us to pay attention and continue to have conversations about diligence, hard work, balance, bullying, and stewardship.

3. The Moral Price of College Admission

What it is: More than 30 high-wealth parents (including actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin) were charged in an FBI bribery sting for buying their children entrance into elite universities.

Why it’s helpful: For most students, getting into Harvard is nigh impossible—but not if your dad pays for a building. Prosperity has bought privileges for generations, but this recent scam is far more brazen. Parents bribed university officials to accept their unqualified children into elite schools. It’s ironic that parents and schools opposing affirmative action laws (which would provide assistance to under-resourced students) are paying and accepting bribes for privileged children to receive special treatment. When success and status are the highest virtues in our culture, it’s no wonder even normal parents cut corners for their kids. Have you ever been tempted to do so? What was the result?

Parent Guide Spotlight: Are you prepared for the madness? Because it starts next week! Our new Parent’s Guide to March Madness helps those new to the phenomenon understand the hype (Zion “OMG” Williamson), how it all works, how it can be used to bond as a family, and how it could be a perfect opportunity to model and teach teens better balance and prioritization, especially when it comes to sports.

O Captain, My Captain

Have your teenagers seen Marvel’s newest epic, Captain Marvel? What did they think of it? How did they think it compares to Wonder Woman? Was there a difference between what your sons thought about it and what your daughters thought? Or did you feel differently about it than they did?

If so, your family isn’t alone. This week, this review of the film divided Christendom when it lamented “how far we’ve come since the days of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White” [later surreptitiously changed to “the days when we sought to protect and cherish our women”] and that, “along with Disney, we abandon the traditional princess vibe, and seek to empower little girls everywhere to be strong like men.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the review received tons of backlash, both on Twitter and in other articles, like this and this. The controversy can be summed up as thus: The original idea—that women are weak and men are strong, that women are passive and men are active, that women should rely on men to confront evil—was critiqued as being unbiblical and steeped in patriarchy. Those who disagreed with it said that women not only need strong women as role models, but also need to be reminded that they, too, are called to oppose evil, corruption, and oppression. To do so women must bring forward feminine values that have been long missing in the public arena.

This debate has challenged and will continue to challenge everyone’s assumptions, and our teenagers may feel lost in it all. It’s bigger than just doctrinal differences; what they’re taught or come to believe about it will have real impacts on how they view and treat themselves and others. They need our thoughtful, unassuming, well-informed guidance to better grasp what God wants for and requires of both sexes. Here are some great questions to ask together after reading both sides of the argument:

  • What does Genesis record about God’s design for men’s and women’s roles in creation?
  • Patriarchy, the idea that men rule and women are ruled, was the historical and cultural backdrop in both the Old and New Testaments. Was that God’s design or a product of the “fall”? Is it included in the biblical narrative as a description of how things were or prescriptive of how they are supposed to be? Why does that matter?
  • Where else in the Bible does it talk about the differences between men and women? What does it say? Are those only applied in that particular cultural context or are they timeless truths? How do you decide the difference?
  • Jesus radically challenged His culture’s gender norms. Where in the Gospels have you seen Jesus resisting the idea that women were inferior to men?
  • Are there examples of women fighting, being strong, or leading in Scripture? Where?
  • What does it mean to be “strong”? Are there different types of strength? How can female strength look different than male strength and how can they support one another?
  • Where did the idea of men protecting women come from?
  • Why do we think fighting and violence are virtuous signs of strength, whereas working for peace and reconciliation are deemed weak or passive?
  • Why do we think war-making protects women, when women and girls suffer disproportionately as the main victims of war?
  • Are there negative examples of the feminism critiqued in the first review?
  • Are there negative examples of the patriarchy critiqued in the other reviews?
  • What perspective (could be different than the two being debated here) best reflects the overarching narrative of Scripture?
  • What do you think this means for you as a person? 
Keep the Faith!

The Axis Team

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