Vol. 5 Issue 44 | November 1, 2019
Three Things This Week
1. Gen Z’s Jesus
What it is: According to Barna, once the rising generation of evangelicals leaves the Church, they, unlike previous generations, are unlikely to return.
Why it’s theological: Gen Z seems to be losing their religion for several reasons, including the growing relationship between evangelicalism and politics, as well as their desire to apply Christianity to issues their parents often disagree with them on, like gun control, the environment, healthcare, and social justice. In short, today’s teens are finding it harder to integrate the faith being passed down to them with their burgeoning social and political stances. If your teens are questioning everything, or interpreting Scripture in ways that seem foreign to you, don’t be afraid. What they’re doing is very natural and healthy. As parents, our job is to help them move from merely deconstructing Christianity and into reconstructing a more holistic, vibrant understanding of faith that sees all of these issues through the Jesus lens.
2. Ok, Boomer
What it is: If you’ve been the unfortunate recipient of an “Ok, Boomer” clapback from a teenager recently, you’re not alone. It’s been trending. And it holds much more meaning than the “whatever”s of generations past.
Why you need to understand it: Tired of being derogatorily called “snowflakes” and told how awful Millennials and Gen Zers are, young people have taken to responding “Ok, Boomer” any time someone says something they perceive to be condescending, intolerant, ignorant, entitled, resistant to change, or just out of touch. There are now memes, merch, TikToks, and even a song with the phrase because it so effortlessly encapsulates their frustration at being looked down on and blamed by a generation they see as making choices that “are hurting us and our future.” Rather than reacting to it, it’s an opportunity for older generations to stop generalizing and begin seeing things from their perspective in order to work together toward generational understanding, not generational war.
3. NCAA Reforms (ish)
What it is: On Tuesday, the NCAA voted to start the process of allowing college athletes to profit from the selling of products that use their name, likeness, or image.
Why it misleading: The policy change comes on the heels of the “Fair Pay to Play Act,” which will allow athletes in California to sign endorsement deals and licensing contracts. The NCAA, a dinosaur institution whose questionable policies and ethics rarely benefit student athletes and instead favor the institutions they represent, seems to have made this decision out of self-preservation. For decades, student athletes like Zion Williamson or Trevor Lawrence have made their schools millions of dollars but have only received a scholarship in return. Is that equitable? In a capitalist marketplace, should student athletes be given their fair market worth or is a scholarship sufficient for the value they bring to a university? What do your kids think?
Spotlight: Did you know you’re not getting the full rundown of your teen’s culture every week? That’s right, for $5/month The Culture Translator Premium is an extended email that offers 8 to 10 extra insights covering a wider range of topics every week. And because we believe in its benefits, we’re now offering a free one-month trial with no strings attached! Simply click here to sign up. Your subscription will seamlessly renew at the end of the trial OR you can cancel during that time, no questions asked.
Jesus Is King
In case you somehow missed it, Kanye finally released his much-anticipated and long-delayed ninth album, Jesus Is King, to much controversy. No surprise there as that’s arguably been his MO for most of his career, but this time it’s because it’s a gospel album with no profanity. Truly, both the music world and the Christian world have been in a veritable tizzy trying to make sense of his new faith, sound, direction, and message.
As interesting as it might be to debate whether the “I Am a God” singer is now saved or if he’s simply using Jesus to make a buck, it’s most likely a serious question on most music-loving teenagers’ minds. Is he a Christian? If so, does that mean I can listen to all his music? Does that mean it’s ok to cuss or to look at p*rn (he’s been open about his p*rn use and even creative directed the first-ever P*rnHub awards)? A whole slew of questions can stem from wondering about his faith.
And—surprise!—this is a perfect opportunity to join the conversation.
But it won’t be easy. As evidenced by the myriad articles pondering his genuineness, his actions, his sins, his past, and his theology, there are no clear-cut answers. But that’s why 1. It’s imperative that we do in fact start the conversation with our teens; 2. We keep it an open dialogue; and 3. We ask good questions. For example, if your teen asks, “Is Kanye a Christian?” ask them, “What does it mean to be a Christian?” and let them wrestle it out (while reminding them it’s not our role to judge the hearts of our fellow men, that’s ultimately up to God). If you’re brave enough, you can ask them, “What version of Christianity is Kanye spreading? Does it look like Jesus? Why or why not?” Continue to ask other guiding questions (this article has some great ideas) and even help point them in the right direction.
Besides being more impactful than simply responding with “yes” or “no,” this will inevitably springboard into other important topics, which may not have ever popped up otherwise. And it’s a great opportunity to teach our children to weigh everything—including culture, including their favorite artists—against the standard of Christ Himself.
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team
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