Danah Boyd starts out with:
When I read the Chicago Tribune’s coverage of why teens have eschewed dates for school dances, I wanted to scream.
I did too, well maybe not scream, but the conclusions of the article she writes about to me are wrong. There has been a slow movement toward not coupling in high school for a long time. The only thing that I would add to Danah’s article is that what I notice is that even though there is a movement away from the mating ritual as far as dances are concerned, the pressure to have a significant other in high school is still just as strong as anytime. I see this in the youth at church. I may do security duty, but the main thing with us is to be relational. The kids tell me a lot and most of their dramas is do to trying to find a someone to be boy/girl friend with.
Actually, if there is another reason for the non-couple of school dances it is partly from my previous post about girls self-esteem. However, that is only part of it. The guys have to be more encouraging so that the girls aren’t more prone to have low self esteem. Anyway, read the whole thing.
Being an adult youth leader, I am always looking at youth culture articles and studies so that I can get a glimpse of what is going on in the culture. This was an interesting article with some interesting statistics:
— 67 percent of girls ages 13 – 17 turn to their mother as a resource when feeling badly about themselves compared to 91 percent of girls ages 8 -12
— Only 27 percent of girls ages 13 – 17 will turn to their father for help when feeling badly about themselves compared to 54 percent of girls ages8-12. Interestingly, at 16, girls become more likely to seek support from male peers than from their own dads.
We are seeing this in the girls in the youth group, and as much as we try to encourage communication with their parents, most still think that their parents don’t know what they are experiencing. Read the whole thing.
I posted a late night thought several years ago, but the allergy meds I took tonight are keeping me awake. Anyway, Mary and I have been discussing generational curses. She got a new book that talks about the spiritual root of disease and such. I have read about generational curses in the Bible, and listened to a sermon on the subject that showed me that as alcoholism can be passed from one generation to the next, that is a generational curse. It wasn’t till tonight as I tossed and turned that I put it all together.
From a scientific view, the psychological articles that I have read, show that there are addictions and abuse that are passed to one generation to the next.
From a theological view, these things have a spiritual aspect like in Deuteronomy 5(NIV):
 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. *  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers * to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, *  but showing love to a thousand * [ generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Now, the reason I bring this up is because as I have been working with youth and in my own family there are some of these things going on. Recently Mary and some of the other adult leaders were working through the names of the kids and saw problems that they were working through and in a lot of cases they were in families that their parents were working through the same things.
Working from a perspective that God wants you to be whole and your family whole, we work to share one another’s burdens to help bear up the strain that these things bring. In so showing love, and since God is love and Christ the manifestation of God’s love on earth paying the ultimate sacrifice in his death, we are trying to bring the spirit and body into wholeness.
The problem is, especially with teens, is that once they “get saved,” they often fall back into the problems as they aren’t necessarily cured from the addiction, yet, but they go against the counsel of others, and try to save their friends. Often falling back into the addiction. We have been encouraging the kids to talk to the adult staff and help us hold them accountable, so that they don’t stray, but with recent events with one kid we see that it is a long journey.
Not sure why I had to share this, but I needed to let this out. There is probably more to this that will come to light, but I think that this is a good place to stop.
I read Josh Griffins blog from Saddleback church. I looked at the statistics and they look about the same as we get for our large group. We are trying to do small group, but have had very limited success.
I saw this on my C. S. Lewis Quote Google gadget the other day:
“In the midst of a world of light and love, of song and feast and dance, [Lucifer] could find nothing to think of more interesting than his own prestige.”
–A Preface to Paradise Lost
I think about that with our youth group kids as they struggle with things. A lot of them just want to be popular, when there is so much more to experience. In my experience, you will become popular if you learn, listen, and experience the things that God has for you. Experience life, don’t be interested in your own prestige!
I have been struck at the number of people that I have come across recently that have expressed faith in Christ, or have in the past, but for what ever reason push it aside as if it was just the one or two hour a week thing at church. I guess that’s the frustration that comes sometimes in youth ministry when you are doing everything you think is right. You think you are doing the right things, and you think they are beginning to get with the plan, but then they fall into the same patterns. A few people over the past couple of months have gotten me thinking about this.
So with a culmination of things, it has me feeling a bit down. However, on the brighter side, we are getting back a big chunk of our taxes. Which means, that I need to make adjustments to our W4’s so that we can keep that in our paychecks. Besides Christ is Risen!
The last couple of days, I have either read or heard some interesting things about Christian teens and their sexuality. The first was this article about sex and evangelical teen. It makes this quote:
And the Bible does offer a direct solution for people who are burning in lust: marriage (1 Corinthians 7:9). Adolescence—that time when a person is physically an adult but socially a child—is a modern invention. In the past, people married much younger, as soon as they were sexually ready. Today’s culture postpones marriage while stretching celibacy to the breaking point.
I have read this in the past and makes sense if you follow the history relationships and marriage. Recently, I listened to the YS podcast for August with Ginny Olsen. She recently wrote a book called Teenage Girls, and in the podcast shared her research for the book that shows girls are getting more aggressive and despite their constant social networking are getting emotionally lonely. I have noticed, anecdotally, this same thing as I have had conversations with some of the girls in the youth group.
So the magazine article makes an interesting proposal, that is so counter-cultural, that I think that the church would never go with it.
A counter-cultural church may do well to encourage younger marriages. The young couple may still need the financial support of their parents and the social support of their fellow Christians. But this would be better than the current hypocrisy and guilt. And it would fulfill God’s positive purpose for sexuality.
An interesting thought. If you look at the communal living of the past, young marriage is what was done, however, the marriages were also arranged. Considering that we are so me-based instead of relationally based with others, this would be a tall order. You would have to be so involved with your kids lives without controlling them, that they would trust you to help pick out the right spouse and the help you take care of household chores and such so that you could help them financially and get them through high school. Again, this seems tall order considering the selfishness of the society and what has infiltrated the church.
MTV currently has a show on called Engaged & Underage where they follow a couple who is still in high school as they plan their wedding. So it’s not like some of this doesn’t happen, but it is unlikely that there is any spiritual support through any of this and that usually what is needed for any marriage to work.
I’ve been reading about this 4% thing about teenagers. I have been involved with a couple of ministries that like to quote this statistic. Knowing statistics, I see in this article how the statistics are being misused. The other thing that I have heard from other blogs, is that most ministries are using this information to scare the rest of us as if Christianity will disappear. I highly doubt that, I serve a God that is so much bigger than that. However, I wonder if we are looking at this wrong. In most cases, all of the groups say that we have to evangelize the teens. Well, that’s fine and dandy, but the problem that I have run into, over my 9 years of youth ministry, is that you can’t evangelize until they trust you. One reason that I think that our current ministry that Mary and I are involved in is being “successful,” is that the core group of kids trust us, and they bring in their friends. However, it doesn’t stop there. We have to show concern and an ability to listen. Most of the kids that are in the youth ministry are pretty good, they just have some area of their life that needs to be repaired. They just need someone to listen. I think that this generation will be ok; and I don’t worry about the 4% claim.
This is hilarious….
(HT to Neal Kloster via YSMarko)