Vol. 4 Issue 31 | August 3, 2018

Three Things This Week

1. You did it!

What it is: Thanks to you we met our goal for Axis Giving Day! Woot!

Why it’s humbling: Over 420 readers joined us to raise $51,000 to keep the CT free! Thank you! Because of your kindness, we can continue to research, write, and give The Culture Translator to thousands of families all over the world. Your partnership means so much to us!

2. Momo Challenge

What it is:A new “game” in which an unknown user befriends others on WhatsApp, Facebook, and other social media networks then starts challenging them to self-harm and even commit suicide. If they refuse, they are apparently threatened.

Why it’s creepy: Besides the image connected to the unknown accounts (usually using the name “Momo” in some way) being quite disturbing, the challenge has been likened to the Blue Whale Challenge of 2016, in which people were challenged to harm themselves over a period of days until they were ultimately challenged to commit suicide. Officials in Argentina say the challenge has been linked to one 12-year-old’s suicide and have issued a warning. Talk to your teens about this challenge before they get involved, and let them know you’re on their side.

3. Christian Clichés

What it is:Relevant Magazine recently asked Twitter what phrases they heard in the Church as kids that confused them, and the answers are pretty great.

Why it’s an opportunity: We all have things we’re so used to saying or hearing that we don’t even wonder where they came from or what they mean. But that’s the beauty of kids: They often ask questions that we adults haven’t asked or are afraid to ask, and they ask them genuinely and honestly. So take this opportunity to think about the “Christian” phrases you often use and whether or not they make sense or have any meaning. Ask your kids if they’ve wondered about any phrases they’ve heard and discuss them. Some may be full of meaning and history, while others may be worth dropping. Either way, it could be a great discussion!

Football: Our Culture’s Sacred Cow

Urban Meyer, professed Christian and head football coach at Ohio State University, was placed on administrative leave for allegedly knowing about the domestic abuse by one of his former assistants and now possibly lying about it. Like many of his peers, Meyer is one of the most powerful, protected, and highest paid OSU employees. Why? Because of the revenue he generates and the empire he runs. And whether it’s at Ohio State, Baylor, Penn State, or a myriad of other programs, winning covers a multitude of sins.

This recent incident raises important questions about the idolatry of sports in our culture. Universities now spend seven times more money on athletics than they do on academics. But high schools aren’t much different. Have you seen the size of many private schools’ football stadiums? They’re a lot larger than their chapels.

If we’re honest, the similarities between football and religion are kinda scary. Football has a liturgical calendar marked by ordinary time (the regular season), days of worship (Sunday), and holy feast days (the Super Bowl). Devotees dress up on Sundays to show their loyalty and respect, they gather together weekly to adore their larger than life superstars, and rabid fans form almost tribalistic loyalty to their favorite team.

If you or your teens are sports fans, great, so are we! But be careful how far that passion takes you because like Coach Meyer, you might end up in a position where your ethics and your devotion place you in a compromising position.

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