Three Things This Week
1. Boy Erased
What it is: Based on Garrard Conley’s memoir, this new movie tells the tragic story of the son of a Baptist preacher forced into gay conversion therapy.
Why it’s challenging: Especially for Christians, the movie asks some tough questions: How should I react if my son/daughter is same-sex attracted? How do I model the love of God while calling my child to pursue purity? Why does pop culture portray the church as an unsafe place for LGBT+ teens? How does your church respond to LBGT+ individuals? Luckily, Lead Them Home ministries has a movie kit to help you navigate this conversation with your teens. Following Jesus means living as He lived, and that is often uncomfortable. He always moved toward the outsider, included the marginalized, and embraced the outcast while calling them to repentance. May we learn to do likewise as we seek to embody Christ to our LGBT+ friends and family in a way that transforms us all. (BTW, Timothée Chalamet is the newest teen heartthrob actor, and his new interview—language—by fellow heartthrob Harry Styles is illuminating.)
2. Instagram > Snapchat
What it is: According to new research, Instagram now tops Snapchat as the most used app among teens.
Why it makes sense:85% of teens say they use Instagram at least once a month, and the company reported 1 billion monthly users back in June. Crazy. Interestingly enough, Silicon Valley parents seem obsessed with keeping their children from the very devices and platforms they’ve created, as one former Facebook employee states, “I am convinced the devil lives in our phones.” Is she right? Image-based apps can feed compulsive behavior by targeting three key developmental needs in teens: socialization, significance, and the longing to be heard. And when the app fails to fulfill these desires, it fuels feelings of isolation, unworthiness, and neglect.
Why it’s what we all need: Whether your loved one has never seen p*rnography or is deeply addicted, this tool aims to help you in your specific situation and offer helpful tips, practical advice, and a framework for beginning this difficult conversation. With the ability to customize things like who you’d like to talk to and why you want to talk them (including confessing your own p*rn habits or addiction), the Blueprint is thorough, easy to use, full of resources, and tailored for you. Now’s the time to talk about this plight on our hearts and minds, and with the Blueprint, you can be better prepared than ever. Also, check out their upcoming documentary Brain. Heart. World.
Shame on You
You’ve felt it. Your kids have felt it. We’ve felt it. That gut-wrenching feeling of utter unworthiness due to something you’ve said or done: a bad grade, losing your temper with your kids, being overweight, getting unfriended on Facebook, etc. (Did you feel it just from reading the title of this article?) Shame attacks your very identity, whispering lies that you aren’t enough, you don’t measure up, and you’ll never get it right. Where guilt can be helpful as a catalyst for change, shame engenders despair and hopelessness.
As Christians, the key to overcoming shame lies in our ability to trust in God’s inherent goodness. But, like Adam and Eve, when we sin, our inclination is to run and hide or play the blame game. Why? Because we struggle to believe in God’s radical mercy. Instead of “original sin,” we could simply call this primordial reaction “original shame.” Fortunately, when we look deeper into the creation narrative, we see at the center of the story a nurturing, gentle Father who doesn’t amplify shame, but instead sews garments to heal and remove Adam and Eve’s shame. It’s one of the most beautiful and overlooked passages in all of Scripture.
The next time your teen disappoints you, fails, or just willfully disobeys, pause and ask yourself how you can respond to their behavior in a manner that encourages confession and true change instead of humiliation. And in those tough moments, do your best to remember shame breeds destruction while mercy leads to transformation.
To help you, we’ve created a Parent’s Guide to Shame-Free Parenting. It’s a practical tool to help you identify and eliminate shame from your home and disciplinary methods.
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