I’ll go as a slut

subway-slutty-costumeRemember when Halloween costumes were as simple as a cowboy hat and boots, or a sheet with holes poked in it? Today it’s not that simple. And if you’re a female the pressure is on… the burden to be sexy.

Mean Girls said it years ago, and today’s teens know it to be true. Halloween is the one time a year where girls have an excuse to dress like sluts.

Last night NBC’s brand new show Marry Me jested about this reality when Dennah and Annie discussed what costumes they’d wear this year:

Dennah: I’d love some feedback on my costume. Two years ago I went as a slutty nurse and then last year I was a slutty judge. But this year I’m just going to cut out the middleman and go as a slut.

Continue reading “I’ll go as a slut” »

Posted in Jonathan's Rant, Music, Parenting, Self Image, Sexuality, TV, Youth Culture | Leave a comment

Ashley’s Unconventional Speech

Ash-HomecomingLast Friday night Lori and I got a chance to escort Ashley onto the football field at halftime for the Homecoming “Royal Court” while the commentator read her speech.

I guess I should have know what to expect, knowing Ashley. But here’s what was read while we escorted her in front of hundreds of parents:

“First and foremost, I would like to thank God. He is my everything and the only reason I’m good at anything. Special thanks to my parents. I am blessed by your support for me and the food we eat together is pretty fantastic. Shout out to my best friends Jenny and Makayla; my heart is with you both, always, the Foran Van, and Mimi’s cafe for making those delectable buttermilk spice muffins, for without which I wouldn’t be who I am today!”

It’s just so… Ashley!

Posted in Family, Humor, Parenting | 4 Comments

The TV America is Watching

what-tv-families-watchI like to glimpse at the Nielsen charts every once in a while to see what Americans are watching on TV. And recently… it’s been football, Big Bang Theory, The Walking Dead, even more football, and The Voice.

For those of you who don’t care how the numbers work… here’s the most popular shows “families” are watching, listed by me, derived from three lists (if you’re curious how I’ve come up with these numbers, keep reading below) Continue reading “The TV America is Watching” »

Posted in Entertainment Media, TV, Youth Culture | 2 Comments

The Power of Coming Together

Youth-Ministry-NetworkLast weekend I was in a small town outside of Minneapolis where I witnessed something I rarely see in the world of youth ministry. I saw a network of 8 youth workers from different ministries come together to share ideas and do ministry together.

I almost pinched myself. A Lutheran, a Baptist, a Methodist, someone from the Covenant church and a Campus Life leader were drinking coffee together (sounds like a joke, right?) Yes, it’s not the first time I’ve seen it, but let’s just say I don’t see it often Continue reading “The Power of Coming Together” »

Posted in Jonathan's Rant, Youth Ministry Management | 3 Comments

Life in 6 Words

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 10.07.32 PMA week ago I got to hang out with a good friend of mine, Greg Stier. And Greg’s ministry has an amazing giveaway right now for youth leaders—free books for their entire youth group.

The book is called Life in 6 Words. Many of you have already seen the video (with hip hop artist Propaganda). The book creatively and artistically spells out the same “GOSPEL” message… literally, using the word GOSPEL as an acronym to share the Good News Continue reading “Life in 6 Words” »

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Talking with Teens about Their Smartphones

teen-social-media-hookup-cultureTeens typically think their smartphone use is reasonable.

Parents and teachers, however, think teen smartphone use is out of control!

Who’s right?

That’s the question I just proposed in the brand new blog I’m writing to teenagers every week (the blog is being hosted by that amazing new Faith Happenings site, the new online hub of Christian happenings in your city).

Here’s a snippet of that blog post Continue reading “Talking with Teens about Their Smartphones” »

Posted in Entertainment Media, Internet, Jonathan's Rant, Parenting, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media, Youth Culture | Leave a comment

Free Books This Week

The-Gospel-Walking-DeadLots of opportunities to get free books this week:

1. CONTEST: Those of you who’ve followed me for a while know I love using pop culture as a springboard for conversations about the truth of the Bible. One of the ways we do that is by using the popular TV show The Walking Dead. This week, on our The Gospel According to The Walking Dead blog we are celebrating The Walking Dead Season 5 Premiere with a contest giving away half a dozen personally autographed books, my The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenagers. Continue reading “Free Books This Week” »

Posted in Books, Contests, TV | Leave a comment

Sexual Consent… App?

sexual consent app

NOTE: As of Oct 7th, this app has been pulled by iTunes. See comments below.

We’ve seen apps helping people hook up, apps for people who just want to “cuddle”… I guess it’s no surprise that now some college students will rely on an app for sexual consent.

In a world where laws are emerging requiring mutual “affirmative consent” in attempt to prevent or reduce sexual abuse, miscommunication or regretted sexual activities, I guess I should have guessed this app would surface Continue reading “Sexual Consent… App?” »

Posted in Jonathan's Rant, News, Sexuality, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media, Youth Culture | 7 Comments

Parent Reactions

teenagers-phone-adviceI love hearing feedback from parents after they attend one of my Parenting the Smartphone Generation workshops– it’s fun to hear how their kids respond when the parents arrive home with all this new information (knowing that I’m telling their parents to start paying attention to what they are watching, what sites they are browsing, etc.), and I’m always curious to hear how the parents responded to the glimpse I gave them of music, TV, video games and other entertainment media.

A good friend forwarded me the feedback from a church in Amish Pennsylvania where I spoke about three weeks ago. They actually printed the parent feedback right in one of their newsletters to the church.

Here’s the feedback, as printed Continue reading “Parent Reactions” »

Posted in Entertainment Media, Music, Parenting, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media, Speaking/Training, TV, Youth Culture | Leave a comment

10 Things That Made Me Pause in Uganda

Uganda-childI’m in my second week of my visit here to Kampala. Three days left. We’ve done three full days of training, I’ve spoke at several schools, met with youth workers, preached three services yesterday (three 2-hour services… a little longer than I’m used to. Wow!), and spoke at an Anglican conference that brought people from all over the region. It’s been a crazy week… with some amazing moments!

Here’s 10 things that caused me to pause and take notice in Uganda: Continue reading “10 Things That Made Me Pause in Uganda” »

Posted in Faith, Leadership, Travel, Youth Culture | 5 Comments