Wednesday, March 30, 2011

    Is MTV's "Skins" the Biggest Problem Facing Teens Today?

    Now that the first season of MTV's "Skins" has ended, maybe we can look back with a little bit of perspective. Was it really the most important thing we needed to be worrying about when it comes to our teens?  

    From my most recent column at the Patheos site:

    Perhaps it is easier to focus on these hot button issues than it is to engage teens around the real problems in the world. Recently I attended a lecture by Jesus scholar Marcus Borg in which he suggested that if there were a devil, he'd love to see the Church preoccupy itself with trivial issues while the rest of the world "goes to hell." Borg was speaking slightly tongue-in-cheek but his meaning was clear: far too often in the Church we turn our attention to things that have nothing to do with the core values of the gospel.

    What do you think?  How much time should we spend trying to warn our youth about the dangers of popular culture that linger behind every corner?  In a world of massive economic disparity, constant warring, chronic food shortages, racism, heterosexism, sinful healthcare inequities, human trafficking, and systemic poverty, might our time be better spent turning our teens' attention to the real issues that connect with the gospel message?  You can read the rest of my thoughts here.  I welcome your reactions.  


    gumbystation said...

    How much of this is warning students and warning parents. I do not think it is our job to parent the students, but instead to empower and equip parents about things their children may face.

    Never give up on them, but know our role.

    Brian Kirk said...

    I hear what you are saying and it doesn't hurt to keep everyone in the loop about what our teens are seeing and hearing. But a better approach might be to not give these cultural elements too much attention and rather to engage teens and their parents on issues that really matter and which are ultimately of more importance. Thanks for commenting.

    ben said...

    Many of the cultural elements like Skins are a reflection of questions and struggles that our kids are already going through. It only shows the hole that many kids are trying to fill in their life. You can't help them by constantly pointing out the hole and not showing them something to fill it. We need to help them see the world beyond the material and ways to reach out and make the world a better place even more than we need to point out all the ways they can mess it up.

    Nelson Howard said...

    More often than not, we jump on hot button issues because we are not presenting the gospel in such a way that it continues to be relevant. We hop from theme to theme and issue to issue.

    Instead, we use the hot button issue to stay in touch with a culture that we are of which we are dreadfully unaware. As youth pastors, we must be have at the very least a passing knowledge of what is going on in pop culture so that we can help students see the world through gospel lenses.

    This doesn't mean that we spend all of our time reading gossip rags or watching TMZ. The Bible has stayed relevant on its own for quite a few years, we must make sure that we--with the Spirit's help--are presenting it effectively.