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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Evaluating Culture

Don't quite know what else to call this post. It's going to be a label because Em and I are writing papers for class half affectionately called "Magnum Opus" or as Sister says "your best work yet".

The goal is to take something that the culture says is true, good and beautiful and prove that it's not.

I think it is vital that we, as youth ministers, really examine the world that we live in. Many of us, by now, have lived with "pop culture" being "the culture". Seriously: we all know things like John Hughes movies, punk rock. rap, MTV, reality tv, rubics cubes, xbox...we live in it and barely even recognize it.

Now, I'm not sure I can pitch it all out the window. I think my parents, in their own way, helped us kids discern what was worth bringing into our lives and what wasn't. ...even if sometimes it was that they wouldn't let us have it at all. But I'd have to say that most of Gen X and Gen Y do not have the ability to critique the culture we live in. I think most of us go along and don't even see it.

However, we not only have to recognize it's affects on our lives, but we have to teach the kids we work with how to evaluate what they are bringing into their world.

I'm sitting here writing this post and watching TV to evaluate commercials for my paper. I've tried to watch a variety of channels, knowing ads are different depending on the audience. Tonight's night is MTV. (Ok, so I watched Gilmore Girls on the CW first...I know, it fits into that genre Should I Really Be Watching This?). You don't even want to know what their own commercial is. You are going to die.

Pardon the digression here, but for starters, their slogan is "maturity is overrated". And...the commericals have to do with...mature content. But to the slogan: Doesn't this say so much?

So back to the evaluation of culture: We have to learn how to see it with a critical eye. The world isn't going to train us. We can't simply throw things out and just tell the kid "That's baaaaad". We have to be able to articulate HOW we, as Christians, can use the good in our culture, but how to be critical of what is not good in our culture.

How do we do that? Well, stay tuned for further posts as Em and I research and formulate our papers!



Blogger Youth Minister said...

I admit I watch shows that I might not normally watch just because I know in reality it is what some of the kids are watching. It helps me discuss them (in a critical way) with the teens. After watching a recent episode of The Hills on MTV I thought it would be important to talk about cohabitation. I thought about showing clips of the show but have decided not to because I don't want the show to be the main focus but do want to be able to use something popular to help in my discussion.

7:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading this book, "Packaging Girlhood, Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers' Schemes," that has really exposed me to think about the unconscious way we promote "girlie" things like shopping etc. to girls from a young age(2) on. The idea that marketers, with their pint size purses and television shows that are all about selling fashion trends, were more about grooming our young girls to be "shoppers," had not really occured to me.
The book affirms your point that we have to teach people how to see the messages we are receiving with a more analytical eye.
I do not have any daughters but, as a minister to young girls I can use the book's message to help promote the development of their discerning eye.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

I can't wait to see how your paper ends up. It sounds like an intriguing topic, difficult to be sure, but one that could yield great fruit.

10:36 PM  
Blogger TCYM Lounge said...

y'know what really blows me away is how pervasive advertising is.

It's not like one of the major sins we know to not even entertain. Advertising in and of itself isn't bad, but how OFTEN I give in to is is disappointing...seriously!

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thing is, it is someone's job to make sure it is hard for us to resist giving into it.

Once, I had a discussion about the effects of advertising with a group of high school kids. It surprised me at how they thought they were so unaffected by it.
It is pervassive and subliminal in many ways.

:) I know, we need someone who has that gift(advertising), to be a part of our ministry. Then it would be their job to make us irresistable!


9:20 PM  

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