Pardon my alliteration, but teaching truth to today’s teenagers tends to be tricky! If young people are shaping their morality from the media… we’re all in big trouble. Let’s face it: the world’s standards aren’t good; but they aren’t all bad either. For a lack of a better term… they’re messy. And when young people soak in an average of 7.5 hours a day of entertainment media, that makes you wonder what kind of morality they’re developing.
Look at the messy morality surrounding the new movie Magic Mike coming out this Friday, June 29th, a film loosely based on actor Channing Tatum’s former life as a 19-year-old stripper in Florida. The movie has been promoted heavily by MTV, the hub of youth culture. They’re promoting it with the following description: “A male stripper (Channing Tatum) takes a newcomer (Alex Pettyfer) under his wing and instructs him in the fine arts of partying, picking up women, and making plenty of money.”
But don’t worry parents… these are “good” strippers. Each of these stripping actors is helping charitable causes. Channing and his wife helped raise millions for the Rainforest Foundation in April dancing together. Channing even “did some bumping and grinding with Elton John” during the charity concert. MTV’s “bullying sucks” column details how most the male actors in Magic Mike’s cast have helped out charities lately, even Joe Manganiello, who plays “Big D**k Richie” (a character who was introduced explicitly to young people a few weeks ago at the MTV Movie Awards).
See… stripping is okay, as long as it helps starving kids.
Ask Gaga, the #1 role model for young people in 2011, thanks to her charitable efforts.
Yes, morality just got a little messier.
Hollywood has always put an interesting spin on stripping. Movies like Strip Tease attempted to cast a compassionate understanding of the life of a stripper. Even the blockbuster Independence Day featured a stripper in one of the supporting roles. Jasmine (Vivica Fox), the girlfriend of Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) survives the alien attack, rescues the first lady, and in getting to know each other, Jasmine proudly proclaims that she’s an exotic dancer. The first lady apologizes, embarrassed. “It’s OK,” Jasmine quickly retorts. “I’m not ashamed of what I do.” She rubs the head of her son. “Anything for my baby!”
So stripping is okay when you’re supporting a kid, right? Silly of all those pretty waitresses to be waiting tables when they could make so much more money on a pole!
Here’s where morality gets really messy. The fact is, Jesus would look at all these strippers with compassion. These strippers are today’s Zacchaeus (Luke 19), today’s woman caught in adultery (John 8 ) and the woman at the well (John 4). I’m confident that Jesus would meet these people where they are at and extend grace to them if they would put their trust in Him.
But does that mean it’s okay to strip? Or, to ask it another way, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace will increase?” (Romans 6:1)
That’s where teaching scripture is so important. Today’s messy morality should drive believers to the word to find truth. Decision-making isn’t always black and white. The world’s standards are skewed. Evil is often guised as good, with “lies so clever they sound like the truth.” (Ephesians 4:14, NLT)
What about you?
How are you equipping your kids to recognize truth?
Are you preparing young people for real world decision-making, driving kids to the word of God in search of truth? How?
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