Paris, Immigration and Youth Ministry

What is your responsibility to refugees?

This will be perceived as the most political blog that I have written to date.  I am not intending for it to be political.

The world that our students are growing up in is a very different world than what I grew up in.  The most recent attacks on Paris were horrible and inexcusable.  As a result of these attacks and everything else that has happened in recent history, words like ISIS, Immigration and Muslims have become hot topics.  In fact, they are lightening rod issues.

Ask anyone on the street where you live and minister about ISIS, Immigration or Muslims and I bet you will get a very wide spectrum and even emotional response.

This includes your students. 

I know these are complicated issues and there are no easy solutions.  I know we cannot rush to give simple answers.  I also know that we cannot find our answers from CNN or Fox News.

Can we agree that scripture is what should shape our worldview.

I just read an article on www.relevantmagazine.com called, “What the Bible Says About How to Treat Refugees”.  The majority of the article is scripture.  It got me thinking, when we talk to students about current issues is scripture the next words out of our mouth?

It is just a thought and I would be curious what you think. 

Teens, Romance and Technology: 3 Responses to Pew Research

Here’s a crazy fact that I share with my students all of the time. 

When I tell them they don’t believe me.  

When Barack Obama became the president of the USA the iPhone did not exist.  In fact Obama loved his blackberry like most other smart phone users at the time.

Today the vast majority of your students have a smart phone.  And those smart phones shape every part of their lives.  Yes even the romantic part.

The good people at the Pew Research Center just published some data that they titled “6 facts about teen romance in the digital age”  Here’s what they found and what it means: 

#BEINGTHIRTEEN -3 Dangers of Lurking

The Special CNN report aired last night.

It highlighted the dangers of social media for 13 year olds.
Their parents had no idea! Sixty percent of parents underestimated how lonely, worried and depressed their kids were and 94% underestimated the amount of fighting that happens on social media.Here are 3 dangers that you should be aware of:

#Being13 Inside the Secret World of Teens

A 2 year CNN  ground breaking study of Tweens and Social Media investigates:

  • Are tweens addicted to their phones?
  • How does social media intensify the emotional roller coaster ride of Junior High?
  • And most importantly, how is plugging in changing growing up?

Here are 7 answers you will get in this special report

Speaking With Students About Same Sex Marriage

Meh.

“I don’t see what the big deal is…”

That’s what Brennan said when I asked, “What do you think about the same sex marriage decision?

“But your facebook profile still has a rainbow on it?” I objected.

“So what?” he messaged back, “everyone was doing it. I didn’t want my friends to think that just because I’m a Christian I’m hating on them. Besides, if two people are in love and want to get married, isn’t it better than living together?”

After the SCOTUS decision, legalizing same sex marriage, facebook and the twitter-sphere lit up with lively, colorful, and sometimes emotional debate. Rainbows colored teen faces who never previously identified with the LGBT community. Opinions are still flying. Teens are observing and processing bits and pieces of the ongoing debate.

What are they thinking and feeling? Where do we go with this conversation this year? Here are some stats and some insights from youth workers speaking with teens.

 

How to Help Students in a Sexually Confused Culture

The world is more complicated than it used to be.

Students are worried about their sexuality in ways that they were not 20 years ago.

Today, some kids are less certain that the body they were born with matches who they feel they are inside. They are also aware of different options for their sexuality as they mature into adults. Students have asked me, “What if I turn out to be gay?”

This used to be a much smaller percentage of the population but culture now presents more options to kids while they are young.

Part of me wants to shout “Stop confusing the kids! If they aren’t thinking about this stuff, leave them be.”

Well-meaning people are working hard to reach out to students who are same sex attracted or do not feel at home in their bodies. Unfortunately for kids who have never even considered these possibilities, they are being presented with ideas that plant seeds of confusion their minds.

How should we approach this? How do we teach what the God has taught us in the Bible about these things? I certainly don’t have all of the answers but from working with teens and from teaching adolescent development, I do have a few thoughts for parents and youth workers.