is Age12, old enough to embrace faith?

After spending the last four years of my life engaged in tween media and ministry (www.iShinelive.com) , I’ve had the privilege to hang out with some of the most profound thinkers and observers of Christian culture in our generation. ALL of them point to statistics first and personal experience second on this age issue…

Statistics say that 3/10 kids from Christian families will still be in a church or community of faith after age 18. According to research from George Barna (author of Best sellers like; Revolutionary Parenting &  Maximum Faith) and data researched by the Barna Group ; surveys of 8- to 12-year-olds has shown:

 2% possess a biblical world-view

18% believe in moral absolutes.

32% believe that Jesus was resurrected

36% believe that the Bible is totally accurate

40% believe that the purpose of life is to love God fully

67% believe that being a “good person” equals salvation

68% believe that good people can earn salvation

70% of 8- to 12-year-olds in America believe there is no Satan

80% say the Bible, the Koran and the Book of Mormon teach the same truths…

Pretty shocking statistics, even for someone who works in and around these issues every day. The bottom line for parents is this; an hour a week in sunday school will NOT offset an average of 80 hours a week consuming mass media. We will have to INTENTIONALLY engage our tweens with the details of our faith. Not by forcing more bible study, or expanded devotionals every night at the dinner table…not by disciplining them into outward compliance, but by the sheer integrity of our own parenting faith.

We will only win their hearts for Christ by the way we treat our spouses, friends and co-workers. By what we say and don’t say about our brothers and sisters in the faith and by how we invest our time, money and resources for self…or for others. Faith has a way of declaring itself to be real to those who are closest to us. Our kids know if we’re the genuine article or not. The question is… will they be so affected by our lifestyle of authentic and practical faith they might want it too?

Francis Chan

 “Satan would probably love 90% of what goes on in the church in America,” says Francis Chan. “‘I don’t even need to deceive them. They’re deceiving themselves.’ We must set the example as people who live by faith.”

So the answer to today’s question… is YES to age 12. Not only is the answer “YES”, but statistics suggest we should be actively asking them about what they do believe at this age! Not passively assuming they are absorbing what we believe.

Further research shows that our kids will decide by the age of 13 if the the Jesus we proclaim is going to become their own. The ultimate illustration of our parenting faith is not found in dedicated church attendance or scripture memorization, but in our LOVE and practical application of what we say we believe.

As the father of three teens, I pray often for Christ to show me the specific areas of my kids hearts that need to be “won” for Him. And when I begin to see the areas of doubt, pain and hurt that have blocked His message of hope and joy and peace, I go after those as best I can…praying all the way for grace to cover up all of my faults and flaws and inconsistencies.

To be clear…I’m not fixated on age 12, I am fixated on the condition of my kids hearts. I know that God can capture any heart at any age, what I’m hoping for is that our kids won’t run from him when he does 🙂

School is about to resume.

Patterns of life are being set, I want to be sure I keep focused on my family and the healthiest possible patterns of love and faith inside our home, trusting God to handle things beyond our door.

King Josiah – courtesy of mwillustration.com

King Josiah stepped into leadership as a tween, Jesus himself began to teach others in the synagogue at age 12 and we know that Mary was as young teen when she embraced the honor of being a miraculous mother to Christ. From the biblical pattern of scripture, we can certainly see that God uses Tween’s, and when he does…it changes the world. How cool is that ?

Peace out,

brad.

Latest Tween Fad… Bisexuality is Hip

So I’m watching spongebob on Nickelodeon last week with my 13 year old son and I see a commercial promo spot for “Degrassi” as I see two girls professing their deep desire and love for each other in breathless, very grown up ways… followed by a super slow camera shot of a  romantic kiss of sizzling intensity and I must say…magnificient cinematography.

And in shock, I’m thinking to myself… surely that wasn’t what I thought it was ?… Not an openly lesbian lead storyline in one of the biggest pre-teen television shows on TV ?

Ten minutes later I see it again… and again the promo runs of a romantic lesbian scene with the latest cool music packaged as pretty as can be… no accident, no mistake now. Teen Nick has moved from their role of  empty entertainers to sexual education. No longer are they just focused on making shareholders more money, or launching the lucrative careers of  its tween and teen  heart-throbs. 

Teen Nick has moved well beyond  just producing mindless candy pop kids shows that define the “popular’ and “beautiful”. Their shows have long been the rabid fare of pre-teens, desperate to grow up sooner and careful to emulate the perfect hair styles, whitest teeth and latest fad fashions of their stars… now it seems they are actively promoting bi-sexuality as  being  a better way of experiencing teen love and “coming of age” life lessons for today’s kid.  

Fellow parents out there, you need to know… the scene I saw is just a sampling of the “adult” media that has now moved into the mainstream teen television world. Its clear they are becoming incredibly good at glamorizing bi-sexuality as the newest wave of pop culture to our most vulnerable age group tweens. (kids between the age of 7-13)

This newest episode of “Degrassi” should serve as a  warning for all of us who are seeking to preserve any semblance of a biblical world view for our families of faith.  We can no longer “assume” the stuff on mainstream pre-teen  TV is “safe”. The shows my kids used to watch on Nick or Teen Nick at  the very least respected the balance of being a moral “neutral” value for consumption… those days are gone. We cannot assume any longer that the stuff on Nick or Teen Nick can be watched un-supervised or at all.

That’s a scary thing when you stop to think about how well Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon have educated and entertained this same generation of kids for years, starting out with the innocence of such shows as “Dora the Explorer” and “Spongebob Squarepants” and then as our kids grow older, they begin to insert the super cool teen show “Degrassi” with all of its moral rot.

 It seems on the latest episode of “Degrassi” the producers decided the best storyline possible for our pre-teens and teens would be to highlight the newest “in thing” for our kids, the excitement of experiencing a same-sex relationship with tweens and teens. After watching the episode online I felt the core message of this show seems to say…”for you to be as cool as the kids on Degrassi, it’s time to admit you want to be openly gay with your girl friend.” They don’t skimp on the guys being into guys on this show either, but for now… this is enough. I’ve copied the storyline summary from the episode in question for any parents who care to read it. It’s not even subtle… it’s sick.

Degrassi: In Too Deep Recap: Season 10, Episode 42 “Chasing Pavements, Part Two” (04/09/2011)
More Degrassi: Recaps | News and Cast Interviews | All TV Recaps http://www.teennick.com/shows/degrassi/

Fiona comes out. Fiona has successfully completed rehab, but up next on her plate is facing the vicious Bobby, her physically abusive ex-boyfriend. But Bobby offers the family $100,000 to not go to trial. Fiona is completely against taking the settlement, but her mom is worried about how the trial might emotionally affect her, and thinks she should take the money. But with Holly J’s support, Fiona convinces her mom to let her push forward. Fiona surprisingly holds her own on trial, but can’t take back the fact that she embellished the bruise in the photo she took of her scar, and after Bobby’s testimony, she begins to doubt her decision, and considers turning to alcohol, until her coping techniques come in great handy. But when another girlfriend of Bobby’s comes forward and confesses that Bobby has abused her as well, Fiona’s case is made. She wins $250,000! In her happiness, she kisses Holly J on the lips!

Fiona has a romantic dream about Holly J and realizes her feelings for her best friend. Holly J and Fiona plan a sleepover together, while Fiona reconciles with Adam about their past and sets up a movie date with him. She confesses that he wasn’t a problem in her life, and she still likes him. But while they’re hooking up, Fiona tries to compliment him for being “the best of both worlds”, and Adam storms out, telling Fiona that she just wants a girl. The next day, she confesses to Holly J that she doesn’t like Adam anymore. In turn, on their sleepover, Holly J realizes she loves Declan in a way that she doesn’t feel for Sav. When her mom comes home, Fiona confesses to her that she’s gay, and she’s in love with Holly J. Her mom fully supports her, and tells her that it won’t be easy, but she can get through it. She comes clean to Holly J that she’s gay, who also isn’t the least bit bothered by it.

Seriously if you have taken the time to read this far… you are realizing what I did, the culture our kids are living in and around has been teaching them to abandon the traditional views of faith and family and sexuality for something much “cooler”… bi-sexuality is the way to go if you’re as hip as they are.

How many millions of teen and tweens living in the chaos of their own confusing and un-glamorous lives are being swept into this deception ?  I mean this show is openly suggesting that if you care for a friend, and they are the same-sex… it very well could be that your attracted to them because your gay or bi-sexual. And not only is that “o.k”, but it’s actually very cool to do.

Parents, I’m begging you… WE ALL NEED TO WAKE UP

Our world is changing the rules and it’s happening on our watch. Our kids are being fed a growing diet of sexual storylines, images and role modeling that is influencing an entire generation of kids with a different gospel and a different truth than the one they hear from us.

Please take the time to talk with your kids, block the teen nick channel if you dare on your home cable or satellite tv’s and clarify your beliefs and values with your kids TODAY. tomorrow may well be too late.

Sorry for the long and ominous blog today, but it scared the crap out of me when I began to research this a bit. When I asked my high-school daughters about this stuff, they casually noted… “Oh yeah dad, that’s been popular for  a while now at our High School…popular girls know, if they want to get a hot guy, they just need to openly engage in a lesbian fling and show they are bi-sexual for the guys to get interested…” It’s been that way for a while…

God, help us lead this generation back into the truth and hope of our faith as Christians. “Here’s to families who are determined to keeping their families on the road and in between the lines of life…” I’m encouraging you to find out more, review what your kids are watching from the PC, to the iPod to the televisions in your home. Take an ACTIVE ROLE and ASSUME nothing. It’s a scary time to be a parent, but I believe God has a strategy and a plan for those of us who take the time and listen for it.

Take the time today.

Peace out…

brad.