Counter Culture Current Issue
- Students Heading Off to College…Are They Attending Church?
- Gillette Ad on Masculinity
- Rider University Refuses to Allow Chick-fil-A on Campus
- Movies to Mention
With one in college and one about to leave our home and head off to school, I am very conscious of the concept of young people “walking away from their faith” as they go to college. Christianity Today just recently highlighted the 2017 LifeWay Research survey of Christian college students and the results should cause all Christian parents to pause and consider how well prepared their students are for college – not from an academic standpoint, but from a spiritual perspective.
According to the survey, at least two out of three Americans said that they stopped attending church on a regular basis during their college years, which means that at one time they were attending church on a regular basis, and they stopped! Many of these people stopped when they left the guidance and protection of their homes and went off to college. Several of the reasons given for this decision won’t surprise you, but these reasons should point you to conversations you need to be having with your kids as they are growing up.
A significant portion of the students who stopped attending church did so for one of several reasons. Possibly they viewed the church as “hypocritical,” which is a primary issue that students share with me when I meet with our Alumni to debrief what they are experiencing at college. Most of the time the issues in conflict deal with sexual ethics; homosexuality and now gender dysphoria. Many students do not see these issues as core principles of Christianity and feel uncomfortable with these issues being addressed from the pulpit. Those issues and almost anything political seem to really turn off this younger generation! Another reason college students leave the church is that they are looking for programs at the church specifically related to their needs and students are saying that they are not interested in attending churches without programs that meet them where they are.
Regardless of the age of your students, take a look at this article in Christianity Today and think about how your children would respond to leaving your home for college. Do you think they would take the time to find a solid, Bible-believing church? How confident are you that they will make the commitment to attend on a regular basis? There are things you can do now before they leave your home to show them the importance of church attendance and to help shape their perspective that not going to church shouldn’t even be an option they consider!
What does it mean to be a “man” today? Recently the razor company Gillette dove into this conversation with both feet and found out that it’s a rather dicey conversation to have. Gillette aired an ad that addressed their company slogan, “The Best a Man Can Get,” by asking if what we see in current culture from men is really “the best” a man can be. With lines like “toxic masculinity” and a reference to the #MeToo movement, the ad paints a rather negative and dismal view of men today…but keep reading, because this is the interesting part.
First of all, most of the responses from popular and social media have been overwhelmingly negative. Many people were offended that a razor company would even dare to pose the question about masculinity, while others found the ad part of a radical feminist agenda to “feminize” masculinity. I’ve watched the ad several times, shown it to friends and one of my boys and all of us had a different reaction to the ad. The first reaction was sad that the state of “manhood” is (1) under such intense attack and (2) in a poor state of health at this time. The second reaction was that I agree with Gillette and that I think we can, and must, do better as men in this culture.
Now, this idea that men are struggling isn’t new. I remember watching a 2011 TED Talk by psychologist Philip Zimbardo called “The Demise of Guys.” In just over four minutes, Zimbardo puts forth a plethora of alarming statistics and facts calling attention to being “out of sync” in relationships and with society for a variety of reasons. You can watch that TED Talk here: https://www.ted.com/talks/zimchallenge?language=en#t-260264.
Even before Zimbardo’s TED Talk, I read the book Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men by Leonard Sax. That wasn’t positive or encouraging either – just look at the title again!
Honestly, I’m not interested in debating whether the Gillette ad paints an accurate picture of men today, and I don’t believe the ad was even saying that “all” men are bad or even that manhood or masculinity is bad. I think the ad was looking to begin a conversation about what it means to be a man, and honestly what should men aspire to be? First, watch the ad for yourself on their website here https://gillette.com/en-us/the-best-men-can-be.
Next, let’s begin to engage in this cultural conversation as men. I recently launched an Alumni book study with several of our male graduates from PCA with a goal to engage in this conversation and to find out more about what it means to be a godly man. We are going to read Thomas Watson’s Puritan classic The Godly Man’s Picture, and I would highly recommend this book to any man looking to learn more about God’s design for manhood and God’s desire for godly men. Watson would agree with God’s Word in 1 Timothy 4:8 where Paul wrote, “Rather train yourself for godliness: for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is for value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
Let’s look to show the world what men are supposed to be as designed and gifted by our Creator for His service. If you’re interested in being a part of a similar book discussion as our PCA Alumni guys, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll see about starting something in the near future!
While the headline of this article doesn’t shock or even surprise me, it does catch my attention for several reasons. First, we need to understand that the environment of most college campuses has radically shifted from years past. No longer are many colleges places to pursue knowledge and understanding, no longer are many colleges places where freedom of expression is protected, no longer are many colleges places where Christian morality and virtues are welcomed.
I remember reading a short booklet written by Lynne Cheney when she was the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities published in September 1992. The title of the booklet was Telling the Truth: A Report on the State of the Humanities in Higher Education. In the report, Cheney documented numerous instances where students and professors were either prohibited from expression of their Christian views and values or even fired because of them! Cheney quoted from Benno Schmidt, then president of Yale University, who gave the following warning:
“The most serious problems of freedom of expression in our society today exist on our campuses….The assumption seems to be that the purpose of education is to induce correct opinion rather than to search for wisdom and to liberate the mind.”
The situation has gone beyond what even Mr. Schmidt probably could have imagined. Now college campuses are excluding private businesses if those businesses are not aligned with the acceptable views and values of the college. In the article linked below, here is what Rider University said was their reason for removing Chick-fil-A from a survey given to the students asking which restaurant the students preferred to have on campus:
“Chick-fil-A was removed as one of the options based on the company's record widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ+ community.” — Rider University
Notice, it doesn’t matter if Chick-fil-A is, in fact, in “opposition” to the LGBTQ+ community, only that the company is “widely perceived” to be in opposition. And if Rider University can exclude a company for their perceived opposition, will the removal or exclusion of students with similar perceived views be next? And will Rider University be the first and only college to make this move or the first of many?
There are a couple of movies either in the theaters or coming soon that I want to highlight. First, from writer and producer Chris Dowling comes a new movie you’ll want to see called Run the Race. Dowling brought us the movie Where Hope Grows, featuring the first special needs actor to play a major role in the movie. Now he’s teamed up with Tim and Robby Tebow to bring another great story to the big screen. Run the Race also features the creative works of Dallas Baptist University alumni Jake McEntire and Trey Brunson. These are GREAT people to support and this will be a wonderful movie to check out for your family.
Linking back to the Gillette ad conversation about manhood, this next movie is brought to the screen by Dr. Tony Evans from Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. The movie is called Kingdom Men Rising. (Dr. Evans has a great book titled Kingdom Men) and the first sentence from Dr. Evans in the trailer for this movie is, “The catastrophe of manhood has reached every segment of our society.” Dr. Evans sees the problem and is offering a solution! The movie is scheduled to be in theaters for a limited time: April 29-30. You won’t want to miss it, so mark your calendars and reserve your seats at a local theater now! Check out this trailer to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yzCggr1Vr0