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1. May the Fourthnite

What it is: Tomorrow is May 4—known to some as the day Star Wars fans unite to do Star Wars-themed things and say the phrase, “May the Fourth be with you.”
Why it’s what teens are talking about: To commemorate May 4, Fortnite will release a package of Star Wars content this weekend—including skins, music, vehicles, challenges, and in-game rewards. Disney+ will debut a new animated series called “Tales of the Empire.” And “The Phantom Menace” will return to theaters in honor of the film’s 25th anniversary. There are also deals and discounts on nearly every Star Wars video game ever made…and there are a lot.
Continue the conversation: Do you think Star Wars is getting more or less popular?

2. Well Coached

What it is: Coachella’s countrified cousin, Stagecoach, drew over 80,000 people to the California desert this past week.
Why it’s on everyone’s feed: This year’s Stagecoach headliners included Morgan Wallen, Post Malone, Jelly Roll, Miranda Lambert, and even a set by the Beach Boys. A slew of other celebrities and influencers made sure to show up and be seen, decked out in SoCal versions of cowboy-inspired attire. The luster of Coachella has faded in recent years as long-time attendees say that overcrowding and commercialization dilute the experience. Stagecoach, however, may be rising in Gen Z’s favor as it showcases established stars and up-and-comers in country—the genre that has been breaking records and earning scores of young fans for the past several years.
Continue the conversation: If you could attend any music festival, which one would you choose?

3. Under Protest

What it is: Students at several US campuses continued to protest the war in Gaza this week by camping out on school grounds.
What it means for Gen Z: The stated desire of many student groups is for their universities to cut financial ties with Israel. It is worth noting that not every protestor has the same motivation, not everyone present at university protests is a student, and these protests are not limited to the United States. There has also been a spate of arrests as police worked to clear some encampments, as well as reports of violence and antisemitism on school grounds. Many Gen Zers have expressed that the crackdown on these protests is a violation of their civil liberties, a sentiment that could be fueling the fire of more protests. The Class of 2024, who entered university as freshmen during the COVID-19 pandemic are now facing a graduation season filled with political anxiety in a polarized campus environment—a particularly tumultuous conclusion to their unique academic experience that they may see as cruel and unfair.
Continue the conversation: Do you think Christians should be involved in protests? Why or why not?

Song of the Week

“euphoria” by Kendrick Lamar: Kendrick Lamar and Drake are still beefing, and Lamar’s latest response, “euphoria,” only escalates the feud. Over six full minutes of verse, Kendrick Lamar goes as far as to question Drake’s sexuality, his motivations as an artist, his use of an AI-generated 2Pac verse, and, maybe most scathingly, whether he belongs in the Black hip-hop community. Near the culmination of the song, Lamar declares that his own focus isn’t even on hip-hop, rather, it’s raising his son to have “morals, integrity, discipline,” telling “him to pray,” and to “consider what God’s considerin.’” These are things, Lamar claims, Drake knows nothing about. For the full lyrics, click here (strong language).

Blended Families, Stepfamilies, and Co-Parenting

Ron Deal has been writing about blended families for decades, and directs the international blended family ministry of FamilyLife out of Little Rock, Arkansas. Our conversation with Ron this week is basically an extended Q&A, where we ask the biggest questions about co-parenting, stepfamilies, and blended families that we have received.

“One of the things I’m saying to ministry leaders all the time is, ‘Hey, the “non-traditional family”—what we used to call the non-traditional family—is now the traditional family,” Deal says, citing the large percentages of blended families in the US. “Most people are blown away by that.

Deal dives into the delicate relationship dynamics that members of blended families experience, including what to do if a stepchild doesn’t want to bond with you, or if they feel conflicted about parental loyalties. We also discuss what to do if a co-parent instills a different set of beliefs at their house than you’re trying to instill at yours.

Ron argues that in some ways this latter scenario isn’t totally different from the challenge all parents eventually face. “At some point or another, every one of us has a moment where we send our kids into the world,” Ron says. “We have to prepare our kids for that experience—we have to inoculate them against the world’s thoughts and values, so that they are equipped to face that moment and make their own decisions.”

Whether you’re part of a blended family yourself, know someone who is, or just want to learn more, we hope you’ll take time to listen to the full interview on our Culture Translator podcast. In the meantime, here are three questions to spark conversation with your teens:

  • Do you know anyone (else) who’s part of a blended family?
  • What do you think of when you hear the term, “traditional family”?
  • What’s one time you’ve seen God’s grace at work in a difficult situation?