Home > Christianity, Media, Youth Ministry > Noticing What Media Tells Us

Noticing What Media Tells Us

One of the best classes that I took in college was “Theology and Youth Culture.”  Basically, the entire semester we looked at different aspects of today’s culture (especially related to media) and how it effects each person that encounters it.  This class was very good for me as it revealed the fact that I have become desensitized to much of what is presented in media.  I could watch a movie and not notice how much language was used throughout the movie.  Sexual innuendoes would come and go without blinking an eye.  Yet when I took this class I began to realize that media was always presenting some sort of message.  

Too many people today are completely immune to the media and the messages that are presented.  As David over at iPopCulture.net a few weeks ago mentioned, Katy Perry has a hit song called “I Kissed A Girl.”  Do most of our youth, or better yet adults, even notice something like this?  

I am hesitant to mention it, but “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” has still not impressed me much more.  I am still lacking an episode to be fully caught up (episode 7 is tomorrow night I think).  Sex, sex, and more sex.  At times, it presents good ideas, but my question is, are our youth really trained to be able to pick out the positive messages or do they just see a lot of sex?  (Expect a post on The Secret Life in the near future.)

Yesterday, I was watching one of my favorite things in August – the Little League World Series.  Between the Olympics and LLWS my blogging, reading, and doing anything has really been cut back…they’re all so distracting.  Anyways, yesterday I was watching Japan play and when the young men come up the bat, they have their stats and usually either their favorite athlete or hero or something of the sort.  One young man came up to bat and his special byline was “Role Model” to which his answer was “Rich People.”  I’m not here to bash the young man at all, but the first thing in my mind was, “Where does he get this concept from?”  When you look at “real life rich people” in the world, there’s not a whole lot of them that I would consider a good role model.  The idea of having lots of money and whatnot though is seen as such a wonderful thing through the media though for today’s youth….as well as many of today’s adults. 

Finally, today as I log online, the big deal is about a 16 year old boy in North Carolina who is dropping out of high school in order to become a professional video gamer – focusing on “Guitar Hero”.  If that’s not bad enough, it amazes me that his parents would go along with this idea because “he wasn’t doing well in school.”  I’m not a parent, but come on…

All of this deals with media.  As a youth pastor, I look at these concepts and ideas found in the media that combat the message I am trying to get out.  In story number one you have a girl who is a former Christian artist who is singing about enjoying a lesbian kiss.  In story two you have a show that deals completely with sex, and it is targeting teenagers who are probably not going to see it as a sex-ed show, but as another primetime drama.  Story three deals with the media promoting what is important in this life.  And story four just shows how media takes over and becomes too important in someone’s life.  This is completely running the opposite way of what a life surrendered to Christ is about.  How do we combat this?  How do we teach our students to look at these things critically and through the lens of Scripture?  Better yet, as a Christian, do you look at these things through the lens of Scripture?  Any ideas on how to teach and combat this?

  1. August 20, 2008 at 9:06 am

    Actually “Rich People” is the name of a Baptist pastor in Japan who dedicates his time to serving the poor. The name is just a coincidence (not really).

    It’s sad, but I wonder how many of these cases begin in the home. Maybe I’m wrong, but I feel the parents have a major responsibility in these matters. A lot of families prefer ignorance over education because it’s easier to deal with the world that way.

  2. Britchie
    August 26, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Parts of the problem may come from church related organizations. These churches have “good intentions,” but I think the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I hate to bash a popular local teen hangout (that was a lot of adjectives) but YoungLife turns into a way for teenagers to justify their actions outside of church by saying “well, I go to YoungLife.”
    I once went to a meeting on a monday night for YoungLife, and there was food (pizza), secular music (greenday!!!!Foul language included), and a 5 minute devotion message with a shallow “go get ’em” to it. (Jesus calming a storm.)
    The image sent by this meeting is that things of the world are ok, as long as you tell some people you believe in Jesus.

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