last week in our weekly youth meeting (what we like to call, "Youth Group" - how catchy is that?!) we talked about every teens favorite topic, the crappy media they consume. yeah! Pastor Chad will tell us that we need to stop filling our lives with rubbish and we will listen! well, that's sort of how it went down.
honestly, i've been down this road many times in youth ministry, so i was ready to try something different. posted here are some pretty low quality pictures i took of the music, TV shows, movies, and websites our teens consume the most. the something different happened after we collected this list of media.
what was this different approach?
i let them lead the talking.
"look at these lists," i said. "are there themes or messages that stand out?"
now, i have to admit, my Junior Highers were the real "mature" group this week. they got it. they were honest.
one student said, "all these things are about having fun. the music, movies, and TV shows we like are about people having fun."
i made some air quotes because air quotes are totally hip and communicate tremendously with today's youth and said, "somebody define having fun as it is represented in this stuff you watch or listen to."
now things got tricky. you see, they had to admit that most of the songs they listen to, shows they enjoy, and websites they frequent define "fun" using sexual images, references to drinking or doing drugs, or having lots of money and stuff. this is what THEY said. i kid you not. i'm not making this stuff up.
so what does this mean? how does the church compete with this? how can we compete with the "Red Solo Cup" song or "Glee"? what do we do when shows like "How I Met Your Mother" and "Grey's Anatomy" are regularly consumed by teens? should we care? does this matter?
we talked about two biblical concepts:
1) What's in you will come out: Matthew 12:34-35, "For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him."2) Loving Jesus is about moving from darkness to light: Luke 11:34-35, "Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness."
i ask again, "Does this matter?" Jesus says it does, so why don't we (including ME in that WE) do anything to change what we see with our eyes, hear with our ears - the media we consume? because, as Jesus says, what we put in will come out, and that could get ugly.