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From Sexting to Sex
Sexting and Sex in the Lives of Middle School Students
David R. Smith

We can’t necessarily explain it, but all of us notice it. 6th grade boys avoid girls like the plague…but when they become 7th graders, those same boys do all they can to capture the attention of girls.

Even if that means sending or requesting sexually provocative messages and photos...
JONATHAN'S BLOG: Should I Watch Game of Thrones?
Game of Thrones anyone? How about the new Fifty Shades of Grey?

In a world where this kind of sexually charged entertainment is rapidly becoming the choice diet of mainstream audiences… what are Christians to watch? I mean seriously. How many times do we have to watch Facing the Giants?

I just read an article sharing John Piper’s thoughts on “Nudity” and Game of Thrones, and I was compelled to chime in. Yes, I realize that I’m taking a risk to even speak out about Game of Thrones, especially to my Millennial readers (currently, age 19-34), because… they love this show passionately!

So let me just ask the big question. We’ve all heard about the show’s graphic sex and nudity. What’s the verdict?

Should Christians be watching this stuff?

This discussion has never been more relevant, especially since that show is not only the most popular HBO show ever with an average audience of 18.4 million viewers each week, but it is also the most Googled show, and the most pirated show in the world! Most pointedly, it grabs the number one cable spot every week, even beating most broadcast shows on any given week (like the week ending June 15th, where only the NBA finals beat it out). And in a country where at least 91% of American homes pay for TV, it’s not uncommon for homes to subscribe to HBO, Skinamax, and the others… or at least get the three free months of those shows. Maybe that’s why so many of today’s top TV shows are cable shows (in fact, HBO earned two slots in the Top 10 of that list, including the #1 spot).

The problem is, most of these well written shows have learned that a small dose of sex is good for the numbers. And entertainment is all about the numbers. So we’ve been seeing a rise of sex and nudity in mainstream programming, so much so, that it’s really difficult to find entertainment that isn’t sexually charged. This makes it difficult for parents who are trying to teach their kids to make good media decisions.

Last week I turned in two books to one of my publishers, a book to parents about talking to their teens about sex, and a book to teens about sex (they’ll both be releasing early 2015 from Bethany, or a month earlier here on our site). In the book to parents I brought up HBO’s Game of Thrones several times as an example, because the show has a reputation of being sexually explicit. In fact, Saturday Night Live even made fun of the show, jesting that it was written by two authors, a historian, and a 13-year-old boy who, and I quote, "liked boobs!"

When the show first released in 2011, my wife and I heard from several Christian friends how phenomenal it was, so we gave it a try. They were right. It was creative, great performances, and a genre we really enjoyed. Sadly, in episode after episode there was the “gratuitous sex scene.” And let me tell you, not just the typical FX or AMC sex scenes where we often see bare backs and butts, or see two naked people have sex under a thin sheet (sad that this is now “typical,” huh?). These HBO sex scenes are soft porn: full frontal nudity, threesomes, lesbian sex scenes… a one-minute version of almost everything porn offers except for extreme close-ups.

It wasn’t long before my wife and I made a tough decision, “We can’t watch this.”

I say tough, not because it was difficult to know what was right. It was tough because we loved the writing, enjoyed many of the characters… but knew that the show crossed the line (I guess I just tipped my hand as to my opinion on the matter).

Sadly, this is literally the most watched show by the Millennial Generation. In fact, I rarely meet a Millennial who doesn’t watch the show. Whenever I bring it up with college students in Christian circles there is always that awkward moment where finally someone will speak up, “Well, we don’t pay any attention to those parts.” or, “We just fast forward those parts.”

And Game of Thrones isn’t the only entertainment in question. This week we’re starting to hear the hype for the new 50 Shades of Grey movie as well, as the trailer is going viral. Another movie piece of modern “art” that is selling well and is guaranteed to be sexually charged.

In the article I linked above, John Piper asks Does Nudity Make Game of Thrones Off Limits. I'm not sure "nudity" is the right focus here. Don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing Piper, and I'm not condoning pornography, I just want to ask a bigger question. For those of us who have put our faith in Christ alone and are allowing Him to sanctify us, when does today's "art" become a distraction slowing us down, a sin that we need to "strip off" (Hebrews 12:1,2)?

So I ask, is it okay to watch these sexually charged programs and movies? Should a married couple go see 50 Shades of Grey? Where is the line between a Michelangelo nude painting (which has never started my engines) and a very provocative Game of Thrones scene (which could jump start a eunuch)?

Is this entertainment the next “cohabitation justification”… the next area where young people specifically are going to just abandon Biblical moral principles because… “Come on! I like the show”?

I’d love to hear your responses, and then I’ll be chiming in with my two cents next post.


Season 2, Episode 9—Triggerfinger
Crazy tension is starting to mount as our survivors are beginning to realize the living can be just as dangerous as the dead- perhaps even more. The danger is coming from within as Shane continues to unravel like a frayed

Some kids are too cool to do anything.  Part peacock, part pubescent, their pride gets the best of them at almost every turn... NOT these kids.

My kids will laugh at silly jokes.  They eat Happy Meals.  They watch kiddie shows and are unashamed.  They wear cat ears, 3D glasses with the lenses taken out, and give themselves names like Batman, Nightwing, and Doctor Wolverine (that name is mine, by the way). They are nerds…to the EXTREME.  So of course, we get along JUST FINE.  

Nowhere is this hardcore geekiness more evident than at our awesome new boys group, Guys and Fries Thursday. Every week I meet a small group of junior high 6th and 7th grade guys at McDonald’s to eat french fries, play card games, and talk about important life topics. We build mountains of french fries and use ketchup packets to make them into volcanoes (or we would if the kids actually ATE KETCHUP with their fries). Last week we had an epic battle of slapjack and used the parable of the unforgiving servant to discuss the topic of forgiveness. We also went off on rabbit trails, leading to one kid talking for ten minutes about the best way to get out of a cave. After all, these are junior high school boys, so focusing is always an issue.  Many have the attention span of a 6-week-old-puppy in a field filled with butterflies.  

And that’s on a good day.        

And yet, in spite of the silliness and beneath the crazy laughter, coupled with the random card games and the nerdy times, there are real Gospel truths being presented, and barriers, like walls, that are tumbling down.  

See, some of these kids you’d never spot worshiping in the youth room at your church on a Sunday morning.  But campus ministry is a different animal altogether:  With us, atheists mingle with Christians, agnostics with Mormons, Jews with Muslims.

And that’s Youth for Christ/Campus Life at its best. That’s what we can be: A haven for people who do not know the Gospel; a place where kids can go to just be themselves. We gather representatives from various tribes, tongues, and nations together in one room to learn stories, build relationships, and point kids to Jesus Christ.  

This is just the beginning of what we’re doing here at a Sacramento suburb middle school.  In less than a school year, we’ve launched a successful weekly Monday Campus Life club, a guys group, and continue to build contacts within the community, all while maintaining a breakfast club that regularly sees an average of 120 students every Friday (we’ve written about that before in this column).

How are you reaching the campus near you?

Video Game Reviews @
Dark Souls II

Posted on July 7/29/2014, 2014 at 01:54 PM
Movie Reviews and Quick Q's:
Hercules (7/25/2014)

Posted on July 7/29/2014, 2014 at 01:41 PM
Music Discussions:

Posted on July 7/21/2014, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Games & IceBreakers:
Ultimate Dodge Cricket

Posted on July 7/7/2014, 2014 at 07:22 PM
Outreach Resource of the Week RSS Feed
The Stray Path (Academic Integrity)

School will be starting soon and this is the perfect time to address academic integrity with your students. This resource from our OUTREACH AGENDAS page is a fun and meaningful way to do that.


Discussion Starter: The Stray Path 
This comical little video teaches a strong lesson about integrity. Basically, a young man in med school 

Spiritual Growth Resource of the Week RSS Feed
Don't Touch!

Your students need to know the harrowing reality of sin: we become prisoners to sin when we disobey God’s warnings. That’s the big idea behind this awesome resource on our SPIRITUAL GROWTH AGENDAS page.

The Skit: Don’t Touch!
You are going to need some pretty good actors for this one, as there is very little dialogue. The story will have to be told primarily with body movements and facial expressions. Here’s how you do it:

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