Vol. 4 Issue 06 | February 9, 2018

Three Things This Week

1. Roses or Ashes?

What it is: Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent) fall on the same day next week.

Why it’s an opportunity: It’s a wonderful paradox, if you think about it. The secular calendar offers a self-indulgent day of rich foods and romance, while the Christian calendar provides a doorway to spiritual maturity through self-denial, penance, and prayer. We can see why the world will choose roses over ashes. But we can celebrate both; many Christians will. Just remember that how we tell time, the rituals we keep, and the holidays we commemorate shape who we become. That’s why calendars don’t just tell time; they disciple. The purpose of the Christian calendar is to order our physical and spiritual lives around the story of God, rather than the cultural story of instant gratification and consumption. Here are three Lenten practices to recalibrate your days around the story of God. (Want more info on how to create new family traditions for Valentine’s Day and/or Lent? Check out our new Parent Guides!)

2. Consent or Conditioning

What it is: Most adolescent girls send nude pics not because they want to, but because they are culturally conditioned to see themselves as objects while fearing the negative consequences of saying no

Why they need our help: Our daughters admit they don’t have the tools needed to refuse unwanted sexual requests. Over 90% of the girls interviewed said they engaged in “unwanted but consensual sexting to either prove their affections or avoid reproach.” Meaning, consent often depends on a boys’ power of persuasion or the fear of retribution. “Their experiences show that women are routinely treated as sex objects and punished for doing what is expected of them.” Girls also admit that sexting is the modern version of “safe sex,” a way to satisfy the sexual demands placed on them without having to engage in sexual activity. What conversations should you have immediately with your daughter to equip her to to say no? The end goal should be to raise self-respecting, empowered daughters armed with the tools necessary to stand strong against sexual pressures.

3. Gen Z Faith Summit

What it is: Axis is hosting our very own online parenting conference starting February 19, featuring Andy Crouch, Dr. Kathy Koch, Shane Claiborne, Kirk Cameron, and a host of experts.

Why it’s just for you: We’ve hand-picked a diverse lineup of godly leaders who care about your teens and want to help you start wise conversations with them about sex, technology, and growing pains (puberty, heading to college, etc.). Their expertise will provide practical ways for you to disciple your teen as you navigate our post-Christian culture. Get your free ticket today!


Hip Hop You Don’t Stop

For the first time in music industry history, hip hop/R&B surpassed pop rock music as the most popular music genre in the US. In fact, 9 of the top 10 songs and 8 of the top 10 albums from last year were hip hop/R&B. Why? Subject matter and cultural relatedness. “The only people saying things that matter are the rappers, and most pop is meaningless and forgettable.” There’s a reason why Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper have captured your teen’s imagination: They are, in many ways, prophetic voices (rightly or wrongly), putting into words the thoughts and feelings of a generation growing up in a world of racial tension and economic inequality. “The music’s very place at the top of the totem shapes discourses in this country in really powerful ways.” Sadly, almost every one of these songs are vulgar, sexually explicit, and filled with profanity. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! Yet, we’d be fools not to pay attention based on their influence. Here are the top R&B/hip-hop artists shaping the next generation in 2018.

  1. Drake: Currently #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, his “God’s Plan” set a one-day streaming record, playing 14 million times on Apple Music and 4.3 million times on Spotify in the first 24 hours.
  2. Trippie Red: The 18-year-old blurs the lines between genres, and his 2017 song “Love Scars” had 33 million listens on Soundcloud.
  3. Migos: The rap trio dominated the charts with “Bad and Boujee,” and they just dropped their recent album Culture II in late January.
  4. Jessie Reyez: Her soulful sound and powerful lyrics makes this Columbian artist a rising star, especially after her song “Gatekeeper” gave voice to the sexual harassment many women experience in the music industry.
  5. Post Malone: He rose to fame with “White Iverson,” and now his 4x platinum album Stoney has been streamed over a billion times.
  6. Future: His real name is Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn, but he goes by Astronaut Kid, Future Hendrix, and Super Future. Because of course he does. His music is heavily influenced by Jimi Hendrix.
  7. The Weeknd: His crew is called the XO, which arguably stands for the drugs ecstasy (X) and Oxycontin (O). He just teamed up with Kendrick Lamar to release “Pray For Me.”
  8. Lil Uzi Vert: This week the laid-back artist performed “The Way Life Goes” on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show. He’s set to play at #Fest, the largest college music festival in the country.
  9. Cardi B: The former stripper just got engaged to Offset from Migos, and her “Bodak Yellow” (warning: offensive profanity) was the first #1 single from a female rapper since 1998.
  10. Lil Xan: The California rapper is an up-and-coming star whose melancholy lyrics hit home with anguished, anxiety laden teens. He’s reported to have recently overcome his addiction to Xanax and says his whole movement is now about “getting kids off Xanax.”

Bonus: Want to hear the Axis team talking about teens and culture? Check out our 3 episodes on Family Life Radio!

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