Learning my lines . . .
. . . discovering what it means to follow Jesus, seeing my story swept up into his . . .

Blog

Watching Gender. . . Kids And Media Stereotypes. . . A Helpful Infographic. . .

Our media mantra here at CPYU has always been this: Media serves our kids as a map. In other words, it shapes the way they think about and live their lives. And, with teenagers engaged in 9 hours of daily media time. . . and tweens (ages 8-12) engaged with media for 6 hours a day. .... more »

Identity. . . Searching For God Knows What. . .

This morning I’m teaching a class on how technology and social media are controlling and shaping us. . . and what we can do to use the good gifts of technology and social media. In effect, how we can take control of it rather than it taking control of us. One of the most significant... more »

Hijacked by “Look At Me”. . .

“What’s the best advice you would give to a young youth worker?” Implicit in that question I’ve been asked many, many times is the reality that I’m getting older. I hope that with my increased age has come growth in wisdom. I hope. There are many ways I’d answer that question. . . most of... more »

Summer “Coming-of-Age” Movie Suggestions. . . .

As a youth culture watcher, I’ve developed a special place in my heart for movies. French film director Jean-Luc Godard once said that “a film is the world in an hour and a half.” For those of us who need to keep developing our knowledge of the world of kids, movies offer a great window... more »

Happy 10th Anniversary iPhone . . . .

Happy 10th anniversary iPhone. . . and all smartphones. You are an amazing tool. Those who conceived of you, made you, and have kept growing you have lived out the image of God through their creativity. . . whether they recognize that or not. You’ve changed our world, our neighborhoods, our churches, our selves, our... more »

Do You Control Your Phone? . . . Or Does It Control You? . . . A Helpful Infographic

A few minutes ago we finished recording an interview with Tony Reinke for our “Youth Culture Matters” Podcast. We talked about Tony’s book, 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You. The book is a beautiful piece of accessible, hope-filled, practical theology that offers a timely critique of how our phones are shaping us, and how we... more »

This Is Who We Are. . . But Is It Who We Should Be? . . .

“Can’t you see what’s happening around you and to you?” Good question. How would you answer? Because history tells us that we typically don’t recognize the fall-out from our believing and behaving until we are paying the consequences of that fall-out, we need to be constantly on alert as to how and where the winds... more »

Camille Paglia on Transgenderism. . . .

I’m not a reader of The Weekly Standard. But I was directed there this week by my friend Sean McDowell, who had posted a link to an interview with feminist Camille Paglia. Going straight to the source, I read Jonathan V. Last’s interview with Paglia. I’ve been tracking with a wide-spectrum of opinions on transgenderism as... more »

Youth Ministry Hazard: Emotional Affairs

One of the basic habits effect driver education instills in student drivers is the habit of scanning the road ahead for hazards. That’s a healthy habit for us as we engage in youth ministry. For those of us in youth ministry, a “perfect storm” of cultural forces and vocational nuances makes us especially susceptible to... more »

Pornography: Necessary Talking Points With Kids. . .

“I want to talk about pornography.” That’s what the 15-year-old boy said to me after hearing me talk at his Christian school on “God and Sex.” Sadly, he wasn’t a curious young dabbler looking for someone to help him understand whether pornography was right or wrong. Instead, he was already spending time every day looking at... more »

Learning Who We Are From Bill Cosby, Michelle Carter, and The Law. . .

I hope you’re tracking with the news this week. Of course, in today’s world there’s that difficult task of sorting out the real news from the fake news as the constant flow of mediated reports flood the feeds on our smartphones. Are we being fed truth? Or are we being fed lies? Still, there are... more »

Why Youth Ministry Shouldn’t Be The Greatest Show On Earth. . .

The truth is that I was jealous. I was convinced that there was no way I could compete.  Even worse, I believed there was a competition. I was a young youth worker doing ministry in a suburban church during the 1980s, a decade marked by excess and greed. I realize now that I had allowed... more »

Teens And Anxiety. . . A Helpful Infographic. . .

It was all quite telling. It would be an understatement to say that our nation was anxious as last November’s Presidential election arrived. Social media, water-cooler, and family dinner table conversations were all windows into the anxiety and nervousness we all felt as we faced the inevitability of wandering as a nation into uncharted cultural... more »

I’m Surrounded. . . And We Should All Be. . .

One thing I’ve always loved about the Old Testament are the passages of remembrance. These are the times when the leaders of Israel would call all the people around to remind them of what God had done in their midst. Then, they’d look to the future, issuing calls to obedience in response to God’s great... more »

Ed Sheeran, Body Image, and New Rules For Dating. . . .

It’s been on the charts for 18 weeks. It peaked at #1. Today it sits at #4. “It” is Ed Sheeran’s single “Shape of You,” one of two lead singles from his third studio album, ÷ (divide). The video (embedded below) has amassed well over 1 billion views. And with Sheeran currently touring in South America and... more »

Culture In The Comics. . . .

My grandmother used to call them “the funnies.” I can still remember a few occasions when she read me comics from Philadelphia’s “Evening Bulletin.” For me, the best comic strips are those that capture some aspect of reality, twist it around to shed light on some kind of absurdity, then cause me to grin while... more »

Kids, Caffeine, and Now Death. . .

If you’re under the age of 35, you probably didn’t notice it. If you’ve been around longer than that, you may have picked up on it. It was the role caffeine played in the recent Netflix hit, “13 Reasons Why.” It seems that in just about every episode, some combination of characters wound up hanging out at... more »

The Cultural Mission of Youth Min and Parenting. . . .

Because I grew up in a Pastor’s home, we oftentimes had missionaries visit and stay with us. I remember listening to the stories and watching the slide shows they’d deliver during the all-ages Sunday School hour. These encounters shaped my understanding of “mission.” I rapidly learned that the Christian’s calling is to fulfill the Great... more »

Parenting and Idols. . . Truth? Consequences? . . .

I was curious about what was happening on social media yesterday. It was Mother’s Day. God’s good gift of mothers and the power of Godly parenting is what we’ve come to celebrate.  .  . or at least should be celebrating. I saw plenty of posts thanking and honoring moms. Some were emotion-inducing nods to mothers... more »

Youth Workers and Public Schools. . . Some Helpful Resources. . .

Over the course of my last 28 years of studying youth culture full-time, one of the best and most helpful exercises I’ve engaged in is taking the time to listen to the hearts, cares, and concerns of public school teachers and administrators. A wonderful by-product has been the realization that youth workers and educators can and must... more »