Three Things This Week
1. What The Fluff Challenge
What it is: A reason to smile! The challenge involves humans “disappearing” behind a blanket and confusing their dogs.
Why it’s good: Unlike other challenges we’ve written about before, this one is going viral for all the right reasons. The internet has become almost synonymous with hatred, danger, fake news, or just plain filth, so it’s good when something reminds us to laugh and take a breather from all the negativity. Maybe your family has been going through a tough time, or maybe you’ve been working hard to right wrongs and fix what’s broken in your world. Whatever your situation, let’s not overlook the little ways God reminds us that He is good and that He loves us. What a fun way to reconnect as a family and to thank God for creating laughter and our furry friends.
2. Quitting Instagram?
What it is: A recent essay by a 22-year-old documents her efforts to free herself from the power of social media.
Why it’s inspiring: Because she was born in ‘96, she’s one of the oldest of Gen Z (by some demographers’ definitions), so it’s refreshing to read about someone who can barely remember a world without social media yet is so aware of and willing to do something about her concerns with how it’s shaping her. The article is worth reading: 1. for yourself to better understand Gen Z and their relationship with social media; and 2. with your Gen Z kids to discuss together. Do they resonate with what she wrote or not? Have they felt the same tensions? Do they agree that, for Gen Z, “social media isn’t just a luxury or a casual pastime—it shapes the world we live in, for better or for worse”?
3. Access for All!
What it is: P*rnhub is adding closed captioning to their videos because, according to their press release, “it’s important that we continue to service all of our users’ needs and make content accessible to every individual.”
Why it’s depraved: It’s an effort from the company’s philanthropic wing, P*rnhub Cares, which has also funded scholarships and done work to protect endangered animal species. Um, what?! So the company cares about perceived goodwill and their revenue, but has no compassion for the people it exploits on a daily basis or how it contributes to human trafficking? As “inclusive” as this move has been portrayed to be, in the end it only further fortifies our culture’s dependence on p*rnography while increasing their bottom line. If appropriate, this could start a great conversation on being critical thinkers and looking beyond what a company or person wants us to see.
Raising Modern Monastics
With the rise of Roman persecution, ancient Christians fled into the Egyptian desert to set up alternative communities centered on Jesus. These believers “did not believe in letting themselves be passively guided and ruled by a decadent” culture, so they started new ones. 1,800 years later, not much has changed. We still find ourselves in the midst of a culture seeking to mold us and our children into its own image. Our kids aren’t being killed for their faith, they’re being distracted to death.
Today’s teens spend upwards of nine hours a day consuming media. They move from one screen to the next in a constant state of mind-numbing inattention. “In a society that increasingly seeks to fracture our attention, contemplative prayer becomes an act of rebellion. It’s a radical in-breaking of the Holy Spirit every time we seek to be prayerfully present with God.” In fact, you should practice it with them!
As a family, start by carving out 20 minutes each day to simply be in the presence of God. In fact, that’s really what prayer is all about: paying attention to the God who has been here the whole time, we’ve just haven’t noticed. Just as the desert fathers carved out monastic habits in their attempt to resist culture and follow Christ, we can help our kids do likewise. Here are two ancient spiritual forms of prayer to introduce to your kids as they seek to live a more disciplined, intentional, spirit-led life in our chaotic world.
- Lectio Divina (Divine Reading): Practiced alone or with your whole family, this venerable way of reading Scripture opens ourselves to what God wants to say to us. It involves four easy steps: 1. Select a text to read slowly and repeatedly; 2. Pause after each reading to meditate on what you just read; 3. Pray for God’s guidance after the reading; 4. Sit quietly for several minutes to contemplate what God is trying to reveal to you at this time through this text. “Lectio Divina is an opportunity to slow down and experience God’s Word deeply. An opportunity to savor the words of Scripture, to sit at God’s table, to be nourished, fed and refreshed.”
- Contemplative Prayer: This 20-minute prayer is the practice of inner silence. It’s an opportunity to set aside all the debris that stands in the way of our being totally present with God. Here’s how: 1. Sit in silence and relax; 2. Gently close your eyes; 3. Allow your heart to open to the God who is already here; 4. Choose a sacred word that will focus your meditative time back to God (e.g. Father, Jesus, Abba). When your mind wanders—and it will—use that sacred word to bring you back into His presence.
Ultimately, “monastic prayer is not so much a way to find God as a way of resting in Him.” Try one of these prayer styles this weekend with your kids and tell us what you think!
Editor’s Note: Axis links to many different sources within this e-newsletter; a link does not equal an endorsement. We cannot guarantee the content of each site (especially its ads). Please be forewarned. Also, we highly recommend something like AdBlock.