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1. BC Goes OTC

What it is: For the first time, a daily birth control pill will be available over the counter with no age restriction in drugstores, supermarkets, and online.
What parents need to know: This particular medication, Opill, is the only daily birth control that has FDA approval for distribution without a prescription. Opill is a progestin-only pill that costs about $20 for a month’s supply, and the FDA decided that the way it is labeled gives consumers enough information to use it safely without a doctor’s oversight. Other types of birth control pills will still require a prescription—for now. A survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2022 indicated that consumer interest in birth control available over the counter was huge, with two in five women saying they would be likely to choose OTC birth control if it became an option. An easy-to-obtain and affordable monthly pill might further shape the way teens think about pregnancy prevention and their own sexuality.
Continue the conversation: What do you think the purpose of sexuality is? Does contraception change that?

2. Willy Wonkish

What it is: An immersive event in Glasgow, Scotland called “Willy’s Chocolate Experience” resulted in crying children, angry adults, and a visit from the authorities.
Why it’s pointing at something deeper: The “Willy Wonka Experience” fiasco illuminates what can happen when AI robots are left in charge of things that are supposed to happen in the physical world. advertising material promised a grand presentation, with magical sets, captivating entertainment, and something called the “imagination lab.” But in reality, the experience was so uninspired (and to some of the younger attendees, terrifying) that it became an instant meme. According to the actor who was hired to play Wonka at the event, the script was fifteen pages of “AI-generated gibberish” and children weren’t given any chocolate—just a very, very small amount of candy and lemonade. Parents felt so ripped off about the event, which cost $45 a ticket, that they called the police. The “immersive experience” was canned entirely.
Continue the conversation: Can you think of a time when you were really excited about something only for it to turn out to be a huge disappointment? How did you handle it?

3. Clock is Tikking

What it is: There are some signs that TikTok is losing its grasp on the younger demographic.
Why it’s complicated: With every new social media platform that rises to dominance, the window of cultural relevance seems to shorten. (The age of Instagram dominance was shorter than the age of Facebook, and the age of Snapchat was shorter than the age of Instagram, and on and on.) TikTok is no longer the territory of Gen Z and Gen Alpha, as millions of Millennials and even some Gen Xers have found their way onto the platform, which inherently dilutes its cool factor. The popularity of content that’s geared toward older users—a nostalgia for the early 2000s, and trends like “competitive aging”—points to an audience that is, at the very least, skewing older. Add in the fact that a TikTok ban could be on the horizon (again), and it looks less and less likely that the app will remain Gen Alpha’s platform of choice.
Continue the conversation: Is TikTok less cool than it used to be?

Resource of the Week

Don’t Believe Everything You Think (Overcoming Cognitive Distortions): While our thoughts and feelings are incredibly important, they can often mislead us. In our latest course, we take an in-depth look at various cognitive distortions or ways our brains can fool us into believing something that isn’t true or entirely accurate. We cover significant cognitive distortions like catastrophizing (immediately assuming the worst in a given situation), and negative filtering (filtering out all the positive things in your life in favor of the negative). Our Cognitive Distortions Course will help you and your family identify and apply biblical truth to many of the harmful or misguided ways of thinking that we can so easily fall into.

Does the Bible Support Same-Sex Marriage?

Ever since the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling (and even before that), the topic of same-sex marriage has remained one of the most controversial topics for the church, and families. Some churches have even split over their convictions around this topic, and many families have almost done the same.

Often, the discussion in Christian contexts centers around six or so passages in scripture that explicitly prohibit same-sex sexual relationships. Different perspectives are then offered regarding what those passages might have been referring to in their original context. But Dr. Preston Sprinkle, the President of the Center for Faith, Sexuality, and Gender, argues that focusing the whole conversation on those 6 or so verses misses a more important foundation.

“The main question is, ‘What is marriage?’” Sprinkle says in this week’s Culture Translator podcast conversation. “That’s ultimately the question we’re asking, is, ‘What is the intrinsic nature and purpose of marriage—specifically, is sex difference an essential part of what marriage is?’ If I can boil down the entire theological debate to the most fundamental question, that is it.”

Sprinkle then points to Genesis 1 and 2 as providing the crucial foundation here—chapters that describe not only how God created and distinguished male from female, but also how marriage exists specifically because both men and women exist.

His new book, “Does the Bible Support Same-Sex Marriage?” responds to 21 of the most common questions asked about this topic. But it’s also about a framework for talking with people who disagree with you, employing what he calls “the golden rule of conversation.”

Sprinkle thinks the rule is as simple as it is transformative. He says, “It’s, ‘How would you want somebody to interact with your ideas and you as a person?’ And just do that!” He goes on to add that it doesn’t mean agreeing with arguments for the sake of being polite. “The whole book is about me disagreeing with same-sex marriage—that’s the entire book. But how could we [disagree] in a way where somebody could actually be open to considering the viewpoint that I think is actually closer to the truth—that is true?”

The full conversation is available on our Culture Translator podcast this week. In the meantime, here are three questions to spark conversations with your teens:

  • Why do you think conversations about same-sex relationships can be so difficult?
  • What does it look like for someone to be a good listener in conversation?
  • Why should we care what the Bible says about our relationships?