Vol. 5 Issue 21 | May 24, 2019

Vol. 5 Issue 21 | May 24, 2019

Three Things This Week

1. Nightmare

What it is: Singer Halsey’s new single and music video (watch at your own risk!) is catchy, angry, and an anthem for women.

Why it’s not a dream: The “good ol’ days” have come under intense fire lately, with a lot of the inherent-but-often-secret unhealth, oppression, and sexism being exposed and slowly eradicated. And in that vein, Halsey wants to be a “nightmare” to those who would continue to support misogyny, singing, “I’m tired and angry, but somebody should be.” And truly, a quick listen inspires hope and empowerment. But delving deeper reveals a problematic vision of femininity, one based in brash sexuality, lust, vulgarity, and retributive aggression. Teens who love this song would benefit from an example of femininity that’s strong, bold, and unapologetic about female flourishing—but never at the expense or to the detriment of others.

2. Burner Phones

What it is: If you’ve ever taken your teen’s phone away from them, odds are they have access to a secret, back-up device.

Why it’s concerning: Burner phones used to be for drug dealers, now most teens have entrée to a second phone unbeknownst to parents. “In almost every high school across the country there is a kid who sells burner phones from their locker.” If you have old smartphones laying around the house, don’t assume that since these devices don’t have service, they can’t be used in a pinch by your kids. If you believe your teen has a burner, ask yourself why. Is this just normal teen rebellion or something more concerning? As our kids mature they will naturally push limits, question the rules, or defiantly revolt as they seek more independence, especially when it comes to technology. As parents, we face the inherent tension between giving them too much freedom with their current device or implementing such draconian tech regulations that we push them to engage in covert activity to maintain connection. As with most things, good communication is the key. For starters, ask them if they’ve ever been tempted to purchase a burner device, and why?

3. Naughty Lenses

What it is: A p*rn company is trying to sneak x-rated material onto Snapchat.

Why it’s gross: The company has already been banned from advertising on the platform, so to get around that, they’ve been creating p*rnographic lenses to distribute “privately” to their subscribers (meaning they can still be used in images that are sent to anyone). Snapchat is trying to remove them as they appear, but the company’s also distributing the source files and a manual showing users how to create their own filters. All this the same week that P*rnHub announces it’s interested in buying Tumblr so that NSFW can return to the platform. What it makes clear is that we don’t need to seek out p*rn; it will find us, making the conversation even more important in Christian families. Check out our Parent’s Guide to P*rnography bundle for more.

Spotlight: Want to learn how to be the Axis in your community? Join us July 12-13 in Colorado Springs, CO for our Community Leader Intensive, a two-day training that will teach you how to be an effective Culture Translator in your own community. For more information and to apply, go to axis.org/clintensive. Hurry, the price goes up June 1!

Masturbation Month

In 1995, San-Francisco-based sex shop Good Vibrations introduced May as “masturbation month” to the world, but thanks to hashtags and social media, it’s finally taken off as an international movement celebrating “self love.” To celebrate, Mashable just published a list of the 24 “spiciest emoji” (explicit) to denote the act.

As Christian parents, this is probably one of the most confusing topics you will ever attempt to discuss with your kids. Everyone, including our children, seems to be asking the same questions: Is it normal? Is it wrong? How much is too much? Can masturbation cure lust or is it lust personified? Should I masturbate instead of having sex? In case you think your children are immune to the issue, a Swedish study found that 85% of women and 99% of men have masturbated. Statistics also show the average age at which girls begin masturbating is 13, while boys start at 12.4 years of age.

To complicate matters even more, Millennials and their maturing Gen Z counterpart are delaying marriage until later in life, meaning most singles in their 20s have spent the better part of a decade managing their sexual impulses in the pornographic age. To help start the conversation, we can at least lean on three theological truths about sexuality. First, sex was created by God, and it is good. Second, the sexual union between a wife and her husband is one of the best physical expressions of the profound unity of our triune God, who is both three in person but one in being. And finally, sex is intensely relational, designed to bond one’s body, heart, and soul to another human being for a lifetime.

To help us all navigate this awkward conversation, late Christian thinker Rachel Held Evans asked seven thought leaders a simple question: “Is masturbation an acceptable component to healthy sexuality for Christians?” The responses are both complex and varied, reminding us that this topic isn’t as simple as we want it to be. Read the article and then, when you are brave enough, broach the subject with your teens. And remember, all conversations about sexuality should be addressed in developmentally appropriate stages and gradually over time.

Keep the Faith!

The Axis Team

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