Vol. 5 Issue 28 | July 12, 2019

Vol. 5 Issue 28 | July 12, 2019

Three Things This Week

1. #NotMyAriel

What it is: Black actress Halley Bailey was cast as Ariel in the live-action remake of TheLittle Mermaid, and apparently social media wasn’t happy.

Why it’s maybe not what you think: Seconds after Bailey’s character was announced, #NotMyAriel started trending on Twitter. And while it’s obvious a few racists were outraged by the fact a black girl could be a mermaid, much of the conversation may have been started and sustained by fake accounts. It’s a great reminder for students that while mermaids aren’t real and can therefore be any color, much of social media isn’t real either and should be read with incredible discernment.

2. The World’s Highest Paid Celebs

What it is: Forbes released “The Celebrity 100,” a list of the world’s highest-paid celebs in 2019.

Why it’s all about that paper: If you want to know what or who a culture values, follow the money. Shocker, the business of fame pays pretty well. Taylor Swift ($185 million in 2019) and Kylie Jenner top the chart, with newcomers DJ Khaled and boy band BTS rounding it out. Review the list with your kids. Are they surprised by how much money these stars make? Are they worth it? How much of your children’s own money has gone to enriching these celebrities? How do they feel about that?

3. USA! USA!

What it is: The United States Women’s National Soccer Team won gold at the World Cup, and now they’re using their fame to tackle social issues.

Why it’s more than just sports: Darlings on social media, the team started the day on Wednesday in New York with a ticker tape parade and ended the day in Los Angeles at the ESPY awards. Whether they are championing equal pay for female athletes, criticizing political figures, kneeling during the National Anthem, or speaking out for LGBT rights, “This is a team whose talents and matching convictions off the field left you with one clear message: They will not be silenced.” With 1.9 million Instagram followers, their message is resonating with the next generation. Here’s a few questions to ponder about Team USA with your teens: What’s good about their message? What’s missing or confused? What’s wrong?

And Who Is My Neighbor?

We shouldn’t need a PhD to tell us, but a new book by Stanford professor Jamil Zaki details the decline of empathy and compassion in our culture. Due to technology, social media, and global political trends, the world feels increasingly cruel and fearful toward ‘the other’.

All of which makes the story of the Good Samaritan as revolutionary today as it was 2,000 years ago. Because, as the religious establishment kept learning the hard way, Jesus almost always made ‘the other’ the hero in his parables and ministry. Whether they were Syro-Phoenician women, lepers, tax collectors, or prostitutes there seems to be no limit to His scandalous compassion. But there is to ours. Today’s ‘others’ are legion, including immigrants, Muslims, Democrats, homosexuals, and sometimes even our own teenagers. And like the lawyer in the story seeking to justify his exclusionary beliefs we also ask Jesus, “And who is my neighbor”? To which He responds, them too.

Empathy “is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it’s like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too. Empathy is love in action. If you or your children struggle to feel empathy for individuals different than you, or if Christ’s command to “Be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate” is an ongoing challenge in the modern world, ask one another these questions and see where the conversation goes.

  1. Do I truly believe someone from a radically different background is equal to me?
  2. What groups or individuals do I feel threatened by? Why? Are those fears grounded in reality or prejudice?
  3. Who am I unwilling to love? Why? How would our family change if we decided to embrace Jesus’ radical command to “love one another?”
Keep the Faith!

The Axis Team

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