Why Today’s Teenagers Are Afraid to Make Mistakes

How Social Media Has Changed the Game for High School and College Students

Life as a teenager can be a pressure cooker. Am I good enough? Do I measure up? Am I cool enough? Did my post on Instagram get over 100 likes? Am I smart enough? Are mom and dad pleased with me? What am I going to do with my life? Teenagers are often overwhelmed today.

Teenagers on the brink of college life face all the same insecurities we all did. But there is something very different about the challenges they face today.

On more than one occasion I have thought to myself that I am SO glad that social media didn’t exist when I was navigating my high school and college years.

It was hard enough without everyone watching and offering commentary on my life. Can I get an “Amen”?

There is a fascinating article over at the Atlantic by Conor Friedersdorf  “Were College Students Better Off Before Social Media?”

There is much in this article worth reflecting on if you have or care about teenagers, but the insight that really caught my attention was this:

“I wonder if the cost of making mistakes now feels too high to risk them as often.”

Why? Because (more…)

3 Lies Students Believe About Freedom That Will Ruin Their Lives

Our culture worships freedom. The only problem is that real freedom doesn’t mean what most people think it means. And the next generation of students are paying the price because they are being robbed of the life they are really after.

True happiness–“flourishing”–is only possible if students are able to break free from the lies and embrace genuine freedom.

3 Lies Students Believe About Freedom

(1) My choices only affect me. “You can do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt someone.” This slogan is everywhere! Our culture perpetuates this lie but you need to know there are several fatal flaws with this way of thinking. First and foremost it (more…)

The Number One Human Rights Issue Of Our Day

Sometimes it takes something shocking to wake people up. That happened and is hopefully happening more and more each day as people see the despicable and callous video involving planned parenthood about selling the body parts of aborted unborn human babies.

In a chilling image senior director of medical research for planned parenthood, Deborah Nucatola, swirls her wine, crunches on a salad and discusses crushing babies in a way that preserves profitable body parts intact. USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers’ comments are spot on:

“This is stomach-turning stuff. But the problem here is not one of tone. It’s the crushing. It’s the organ harvesting of fetuses that abortion-rights activists want us to believe have no more moral value than a fingernail. It’s the lie that these are not human beings worthy of protection. There is no nice way to talk about this. As my friend and former Obama White House staffer Michael Wear tweeted, “It should bother us as a society that we have use for aborted human organs, but not the baby that provides them.”

Read Powers full article here.

Over a million unborn human beings are crushed and dismembered each year in America. Something is very wrong. My prayer is that people would be awakened to the number one human rights issue of our day. The systematic extermination of unborn human beings is bad enough. But to commodify their body parts? To profit from their pain?

Have the Courage to Respectfully and Courageously Stand for the Unborn

Where should you start? Watch this video by Scott Klusendorf on how to make the case for the unborn with science and philosophy (not the Bible says so) in our post-Christian culture. Then share this post and video with others.

How to Make the Case for Life in a Post-Christian Culture with Scott Klusendorf (Impact 360 Institute) from Impact360 on Vimeo.

This isn’t a political issue…this is a human rights issue. 

Stand for human life. Stop planned parenthood. Prepare yourself to engage.

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A quick response to the “who are you to judge” objection.

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3 Quick Observations About The Same-Sex Marriage Supreme Court Decision

By now you have no doubt heard that the supreme court ruled 5-4 in Obergefell vs. Hodges that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right and is now the law of the land. (read the full decision here)

As a Christian how are we to think about this? To be honest, this decision did not surprise me, but I was disappointed. I had held out some hope that the constitution and not the winds of public opinion would win the day. But that was not to be.

3 Quick Observations About The Same-Sex Marriage Supreme Court Decision

1) The world has not ended, but make no mistake this will have significant cultural impact. There are 2 sides of this balance beam we can’t afford to fall off of. First, we need to remember that Christianity is still true, regardless of what is going on in a particular cultural moment. Our hope is fixed in Christ, not a cultural majority. We have an opportunity to love and engage. Let’s not miss that.

The other way not to react to this news is to say it won’t effect me and my marriage and everything will continue on as it has. That is not true. And that will become more painfully evident in the days ahead–especially for children.

2) Whatever your views on same-sex marriage, the constitution lost–and that is not good news for the United States of America. While I am not a legal scholar, I have taken the time to try to digest the issues at play here. What remains clear from the 4 dissenting justices is that in the words of Chief Justice Roberts, “The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent.” The supreme court acted as a “super-legislature” in this case imposing its will rather than finding a rational basis for it in the constitution.

This may feel good (in the moment) if you happen to find yourself in the majority of current cultural opinion, but opinions change. You may (whatever your view) find yourself in the minority opinion at odds with 5 supreme court justices as the constitution is shaped to fit current trends. The whole point of a fixed document that anchors our country is so that it is really difficult to change laws and amend the constitution. That is being bypassed by judicial activism when it suits the court. That’s not good news for the rule of law in a free society. For more analysis, read here.

3) More than ever it is important to have courage, stand for religious liberty for everyone, and promote and embody true tolerance. There is a lot here. But the bottom line is you and I as Christ-followers must affirm what Jesus affirmed about God’s created order (cf. Matt. 19 as he cited Gen. 1-2). We must also not be silent. We must stand our ground no matter what comes. We need to affirm true tolerance where people can disagree with one another about things that really matter and still love and respect one another (read more about this here). People we may disagree with are not the enemy. They are made in the image of God and worthy of dignity and respect. Here are 2 books that need to be must reading.

– Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom by Ryan Anderson

– The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech by Kirsten Powers

Here is a talk that my friend John Stonestreet gave recently at Impact 360 Institute entitled: Same-Sex Marriage What Now (Video). It is well worth a watch.

Now is not the time to lose heart. It is time to think, love, and engage.

A Quick Response to the Who Are You To Judge Objection? (read more)

If you found this post helpful, you would enjoy How to Respond to the “That’s Just Your Interpretation” Objection

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Should Christians Be For Or Against Culture?

When speaking on the topic of faith and culture, I usually begin with a pop quiz. I ask people to turn to the person sitting next to them and see if they can come up with a definition of culture, and then decide whether Christians should be for or against it. As you can probably guess, the responses are all over the map. By the way, how would you answer those two questions?

Why is this? Well, to be honest, culture may be one of the hardest words to define in the English language because it is used in many different ways. But if we don’t have a clear picture of what culture is, then it becomes extremely difficult to determine what Christianity’s relationship to it ought to be.

In short, we need a robust theology and philosophy of culture that we can understand and then communicate to those around us. In this post, I want to unpack and clarify some concepts that will be essential to establishing our biblical basis for engaging culture.

Culture is as old as humankind is, but the word derives from the Latin cultura and colere, which describe the tending or cultivating of something, typically soil and livestock. In the eighteenth century, it would come to apply to the cultivation of ideas (education) and customs (manners). Then there are sociological and anthropological definitions, which are helpful in their own way but involve hard- to-remember phrases such as “transmitted and inherited patterns and symbols.”

CultureTheologian Kevin Vanhoozer suggests:

“Culture is the environment and atmosphere in which we live and breathe with others.”

That’s good.

Philosopher Garry DeWeese helpfully unpacks this concept a bit more by defining culture as a

“shared system of stories and symbols, beliefs and values, traditions and practices, and the media of communication that unite a people synchronically (at a given time) and diachronically (through history).”

The most transferable way I have found to summarize what culture is comes from Andy Crouch: “Culture is what people make of the world.” In other words, people interact and organize while taking all the raw materials of planet Earth and doing something with them.

This covers everything from microchips to BBQ, computers to cathedrals, music composition to the development of law and government, city planning to education, and entertainment to Facebook. How people communicate, work, travel, order their familial and societal lives, and create technology are all artifacts of culture. And since Christians are people too, we are necessarily involved in the creation of culture. There is no such thing as a culture-free Christianity.

So we clearly can’t be against culture in this sense because Christians, as part of humanity, were given the mandate (in Genesis 1:27 – 28) to make something of the world.

I will have more to say on this in the days and weeks ahead as we explore what it means for us to live faithfully in a post-Christian culture.

How do you think Christians should relate to culture? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

Would you like to explore the relationship of Christianity and Culture further? I have written more in depth on that here.

If you enjoyed this post, then you would like 8 Things Christians Must Understand About Our Cultural Moment.

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