Three Things This Week
1. If the Shoe Fits
What it is: The FBI arrested several college basketball coaches in a widespread fraud and bribery scheme designed to steer top-ranked basketball recruits to Adidas-sponsored schools.
Why it’s the tip of the iceberg: The investigation uncovered a “thriving black market for teenage athletes, one in which coaches, agents, financial advisors, and shoe companies” trade on teen bodies and “exploit their inability” to be paid by the NCAA. Why? Money. The NCAA makes nearly $900 million off March Madness, but claims they don’t have the funds to pay college athletes. Jay Bilas thinks they do, and they should. Remind them that cutting corners in life can sometimes lead to instant success, but as Rick Pitino learned, most of the time “your sin will find you out.” Ask your teen if they’ve ever felt pressured to cheat because the compulsion to succeed or “win” (school/sports) was so great, and what was the outcome.
2. Hugh Hefner’s Legacy
What it is: Playboy founder Hugh Hefner died on Wednesday, he was 91.
Why it’s misleading: Pundits are lauding Hefner for launching the sexual liberation of women and championing free speech, but his legacy is really quite the opposite. He helped mainstream the societal subjugation of women as sex objects. Hefner birthed a world by men and for men, where women exist for monetary gain and sexual pleasure. His mansion doubled as a fantasy land for men, and a prison for its female inhabitants. Ultimately, Playboy’s pubescent softcore fantasies have grown up to be Pornhub’s hardcore reality. Maybe Hef’s greatest lie was teaching an entire generation of men that cheap, sexual gratification can replace our God-given desire for mutual love and intimacy.
3. Gen Z = Baby Boomer
What it is: Gen Z are the kids in your house, the teens in your classroom and research shows they have a lot in common with our parents and grandparents! No, for real.
Why it’s bridge building: Like Boomers, Gen Z are “protesters, social-justice marchers, and spendthrifts”. Their childhoods were both “marked by crisis” (WWII and 9/11), yet they are two of the most hopeful generations. At Axis, we call grandparents the “secret weapon” when it comes to building lifelong faith, and the research actually proves it. So while you may not understand your teens, odds are grandma does. Activate your role as a gatekeeper between these similar generations to create opportunities to specifically bring them together without you (coffee, movie, shopping). Often it is easier for grandparents to simply listen and love, giving our teens a safe place to retreat to when they feel like nobody understands them.
Let’s Talk about Race
The first African “servants” arrived in Virginia in August of 1619, planting the seeds of slavery in America. Since then, the United States has struggled to overcome the racial tensions cultivated by generations of chattel bondage. This weekend, President Trump brought new attention to the crisis at a rally in Alabama, causing Lebron James and Steph Curry to publicly respond. Close to our home, five black students woke up Thursday to racial slurs painted on their doors at the Air Force Academy Prep School.
The U.S. is certainly not the only nation wrestling with racial issues. Historically, nation states have drawn lines on a map around color, creed, and language to determine who belongs and who doesn’t. But being a citizen of God’s kingdom erases such arbitrary boundaries because in Christ “there is no Jew or Gentile, neither slave nor free.” Instead, we are called out of “every nation, tribe, people, and language” to be a holy nation. The reconciling, liberating work of Christ on the cross is about restoring our full humanity as image-bearers, making the crucifixion a truly cross-cultural event. The cross was the length to which God would go to bring different people together as His people. Because of this, the church now functions as an alternative, diverse community of people “who have been gathered from the nations to remind the world that we are in fact one people.”
If you haven’t discussed racism with your students, it’s time. The good news is that recent research suggests Gen Z is ready for the conversation, expressing positive feelings about ethnic diversity. Here are 10 great resources to help you navigate the conversation with them from a historical, biblical, and sociological perspective. May we be a cruciform community of unity, empathy, and compassion in a world seeking to divide, distrust, and dehumanize.
- “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- The Hidden Wound by Wendell Berry
- “To Become One: A Study of Unity” by Christena Cleveland
- “How to Talk about Race with Your Kids” by Michelle Reyes
- “If You Can’t See These People, You Can’t See Christ” by Efrem Smith
- The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James M. Cone
- “We Need to Do More Than Talk about Race” by Relevant Magazine
- Ordinary Men by Christopher Browning
- “Let’s Talk about Race” by Jonny Craig
Do you live in or near Nashville? Join us for a live parenting class “3 Keys to Parenting Gen Z” next Tuesday night! Click here to register today.
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