Vol. 5 Issue 23 | June 7, 2019

Vol. 5 Issue 23 | June 7, 2019

Three Things This Week

1. Black Mirror

What it is:Season five of Netflix’s sinister drama set in a nihilistic future dropped Wednesday and features a cameo episode starring Miley Cyrus.

Why it’s thought-provoking but inappropriate: When the show first aired, it was praised for its prophetic ability to predict a gamified, tech-centric, social-media-driven world where human beings are mastered and manipulated by technology. This recent anthology continues the trend while delving into conversations about gender and sexual fluidity, depression, and the personal alienation created by social media. Although the show is “thought provoking, terrifyingly realistic, and grotesquely riveting,” it’s rated TV-MA for good reason: It’s dark, sexually explicit, and disturbing. As usual, the episodes ask incredible questions, but they also beg the real question: How far is too far when it comes to entertainment and/or getting people to consider the ramifications of their culture and choices?

2. AirDrop Zones

What it is: A new, group-driven communication phenomenon in which teens anonymously blast every iOS device in their immediate vicinity with memes, pics, and selfies via AirDrop.

Why it’s kinda funny: A modern inside joke between a group of teens, these “AirDrop zones” can be very confusing and frustrating for unsuspecting adults, especially when the phone becomes virtually unusable because the memes don’t stop coming. This phenomenon has surpassed social media and text messaging as the easiest way to share information because you don’t need a username or phone number to connect; it’s solely based on proximity. Obviously, one can imagine how such a silly, harmless prank could quickly turn south (inappropriate content, but also can be used for cheating in school), so it’s important to talk with teens about this “roving ephemeral message board that anyone in the area can contribute to.”

3. Pentecost

What it is: This Sunday, liturgical churches will celebrate Pentecost, commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church when everyone heard the Gospel in their own language.

Why it’s needed now more than ever: In a time when nationalism is on the rise and nations are increasingly hostile to outsiders and foreigners, Pentecost reminds us God blesses unity in the midst of diversity. In many ways, Pentecost reverses the imperial curse of Babel (which, by the way, wasn’t the sin of diversity, but rather the sin of forced conformity). Because of Christ, we are a new people, a “royal priesthood, a holy nation” called out of every tribe and nation to be a witness of God’s scandalous and inclusive love for everyone. This Sunday, even if your church doesn’t celebrate Pentecost, consider doing so as a family. And remember, there’s probably nobody in your world that is more different than you or that speaks a more foreign language from you than your teenager! Embrace those differences and see them as fresh opportunities to come together around what really matters, our shared unity in Christ.

Its almost here! Tuesday, June 11 is Axis Giving Day! Our goal is to raise $85,000 to keep The Culture Translator free and accessible to everyone. If you love reading The CT each week, will you please join us by making a gift to fund the research, writing, and publication of this incredible resource? Click here to make your gift today! Thanks from both of us!

—Melanie & Gary Alan

Top 10 Summer Reading List

Each week we read hundreds of articles and distill all that information down to the top cultural artifacts impacting your teen’s mind and heart. Some weeks we uncover so many fascinating stories that curating them down to the top three or four is nearly impossible. That’s why this week we’re giving you the top 10 articles to read this weekend as you hit the beach or pool to celebrate the start of summer. Happy reading!

  1. Woke-Washing: How Brands Are Cashing in on the Culture Wars.” From Gillette’s toxic masculinity ad and Nike’s Colin Kapearnick campaign, brands are promoting social justice movements in their advertising strategies. Have your teens noticed?
  2. Woven: The Threat of a Woman’s Body.” What purity culture got wrong. Reframes the conversation about modesty and the inappropriate burden the church has often placed on young girls to be the guardians of young boy’s lustful thoughts.
  3. Are Influencers Frauds or the Future of Online Commerce?” Ok, this is a podcast, but it’s definitely worth a listen.
  4. 8 Reasons the Next Generation Craves Ancient Liturgy.” Fascinating take on why ancient liturgical worship experiences are so needed in today’s me-centered, tech-driven world.
  5. A Mother-Son Bond, Strengthened by Snapchat.” One mom’s story of how Snapchat actually helped her connect with and understand her emotionally frustrated son.
  6. Would Quitting Instagram Make Us Happier?” Um, yes please…
  7. Have We Made Bible Study Too Simple?” Three suggestions to help you teach your kids to read the Bible well in today’s world.
  8. Thanks to Craig Gross, Christian Cannabis Is a Thing.” Um, what? It seems there’s a movement in the church to legitimize the use of marijuana. Thoughts?
  9. Teen Vapers Are Using eBay to Dodge Age Restrictions.” Due to a lack of regulations and enforcement, eBay has become a hotbed for selling e-cigarettes.
  10. A Conversation with Artist Makoto Fujimura on Beauty, Mission, and Culture Care.” Instead of culture warring, what if we cared for culture by cultivating beauty? An insightful interview with renowned artist Makoto Fujimura.

Keep the Faith!

The Axis Team

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