The Culture Translator

This is a repost from axis.org

Vol. 2, Issue 25 | June 24, 2016

 

 

Three Things This Week

1. Who Is the Real You?

What it is: A thought-provoking video from SoulPancake and New Age Creators that asks great questions about the difference between our digital selves and our real-world selves.

Why it’s important: For many teens, not much thought is put into whether or not they should use a certain technology or social media platform. Rather, their main concern is what will get them more likes, views, favorites, or a higher score, usually with little to no concern for how that endeavor might affect them. We encourage you to watch the video with your tweens/teens and open a discussion on it. Do they agree with it? Why or why not?

2. New and Improved Bible!

What it is: An anonymous millennial has published an emoji “translation” of the Bible.

Why it’s important: Thanks to Snapchat and texting, teens might not think twice about reading the Bible in this format. But would that be so bad? This could be a great way to bring up a conversation about Bible translations, literacy, and why form matters with your teens, as well as a great conversation to have within one’s family/church/school. Is this is a good example of speaking teens’ language? Is there a context in which this could be used well? How can we also cultivate a love for the written, emoji-less word?

emoji bible

3. Teens Review Media

What it is: Common Sense Media has a section in which teens can post their own reviews of shows and movies. Simply pick a show/movie, click on “User Reviews,” the select “Teens & Kids.”

Why it’s important: Talk about eye opening…! The reviews show each reviewer’s age and what they think of the show/movie, thereby revealing much of the teen psyche. If you want to know what teens think about their own discernment abilities or what they watch in private, take a couple minutes to read a few reviews. Then take time to open a discussion with your teens about what they’re watching and why they believe they’re “ready” (read: mature enough) to watch it. Considering that a recent study found that 70% of Americans would rather give up social media than streaming, this may be one of the most formative conversations you could start.

 

Food for Thought: Lebron v Steph

On Sunday, we witnessed the climax of the clash between hero and villain: Steph Curry, the under-sized beloved hero, faced the vilified giant LeBron James in game 7 of the NBA finals, with James’ Cavaliers triumphing in the final seconds. Both men are great players, yet the two could not be more different…at least according to pop culture.

Curry’s easy to love: a 6’2″ point guard holding his own in a sport of giants who’s also an unashamed Christian. On the other hand, James is a modern-day goliath, whose 6’8″, 250-lb. frame helps him dominate the game. And boasting he’s the “greatest player in the world” makes him hard to like. But let’s consider a different perspective.

Big bad Lebron and underdog Steph aren’t all that different because, in the real world, it’s always harder to separate the good guys from the bad. While Lebron isn’t as vocal about his beliefs as Curry, his post-game comments make one believe that he does believe in God. And while Curry is beloved by NBA fans, his on-court antics have drawn the ire of many an opposing player. Whether it’s celebrating in front of the opposing team’s bench after hitting a big shot or throwing a tantrum after fouling out in game 6, he is as human as the rest of us.

Maybe these two superstars reveal a deeper truth. The world tells us we know who we are by learning who we’re against and who’s against us. This negative identity formation encourages hostility and polarization in politics, religion, sexuality, and race. But as much as we want to think that the world is neatly divided between the good guys and the bad guys, the human condition reminds us that the line between good and evil runs through every human heart. Is it possible to be Christians who recognize our difference from the world but also allow those differences to lead us toward loving–not vilifying–others? Help your teens understand and recognize their unique, different identity as Christians. But also help them find a way of viewing that identity as a call to approach others with love and hospitality, not fear and hostility.

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