Youth Culture Barometer

Posted on: 08/30/08 2:37 PM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s that time of year again… the time where we gain a little insight into the collection of media that kids are putting into their heads. A few weeks ago we saw this via the Teen Choice Awards and I offered my two cents. This coming week we see the biggest youth culture barometer of them all… the MTV MVAs.

David wrote the pre-VMA piece for this week’s YOUTH CULTURE WINDOW article, a great summary of what to expect. Next week I’ll write the afterthoughts.

This week I’m checking out this page– the VMA page that allows you to peek at all the nominees for the different awards, including Video of the Year, Best Female Video, Best Male Video, Best New Artist, etc.

Keep your eyes on this blog. I’ll be writing about a lot of these this week.


Posted on: 08/28/08 6:26 AM | by Jonathan McKee

The oldest copies of the Bible are about to go online.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are about to be digitally preserved and scanned for all to see. These scrolls are the Biblical documents discovered in 1947 by a Bedouin shepherd who wandered into a cave in the Judean Desert looking for a lost sheep. Instead of “Wooly” the sheep, he found the greatest theological find in history.

CNN posted the details yesterday:

More than 2,000 years after they were written, the Dead Sea Scrolls are going digital as part of an effort to better preserve the ancient texts and let more people see them than ever before.

The high-tech initiative, announced Wednesday, will also reveal text that was not visible to the naked eye.

Over the next two years, the Israel Antiquities Authority will digitally photograph and scan every bit of crumbling parchment and papyrus that makes up the scrolls, which include the oldest written record of the Bible’s Old Testament.

The images eventually will be posted on the Internet for anyone to see.

Click here for the entire article.

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Posted on: 08/27/08 3:49 AM | by Jonathan McKee

No… I’m not talking about Hannah Montana…. I’m talking about the state of Montana. I’m heading there today to speak at a fall kickoff for the youth ministry at Grace Bible Church in Miles City.

Funny… this will be my first time traveling to Montana. I’ve been to the majority of the 50 states in the U.S. and quite a few spots in Canada. But somehow, this California boy has never been to Montana yet (maybe because the population of the entire state is smaller than my own city of Sacramento). Regardless, I’m looking forward to the scenery. (My wife Lori told me that I better take pictures!) Just pray that United Airlines can get me there on time today! (flights have been kinda nuts lately)

I know that many youth ministries are doing fall kickoffs right now. I posted a freebie “talk” from my new book 10-Minute Talks on the web site this week, something you can use for your fall kickoffs. (Click Here)

Rock Me Sexy Jesus

Posted on: 08/24/08 9:43 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I’m warning you… you will be offended with this one.

David wrote all about this brand new movie in our current Youth Culture Window article. The movie is called Hamlet 2 (in theatres now), and this “Rock Me Sexy Jesus” scene is in the climactic presentation of the play at the end of the movie.


Reality Television at Blame

Posted on: 08/22/08 9:14 AM | by Jonathan McKee

There really isn’t all that much I can add to this Media Life Research article:

Reality television has already been blamed for many societal ills, from the dumbing-down of television to the rise of the faux celebrity culture (think “Surreal World” contestants). Is it also responsible for promoting promiscuity?

Yes, says a new study from the State University of New York at Buffalo, at least when it comes to online social networks. The study blames heavy reality TV consumption for the proliferation of “promiscuous friending,” or being more likely to engage in friendships with people with whom you have no off-line relationship. Heavy reality TV viewers have larger social networks than average and share more photos online. What’s more, heavy reality TV viewers may adapt personality traits associated with celebrities, such as sharing personal information with all those online friends. The researchers say reality TV even may be to blame for the erosion of the distinction between the everyday world and the celebrity world.  (click here for the entire article)

It’s always fun when I see research confirm my own observations.

(shout out to Anastasia at YPulse for the link)


Posted on: 08/20/08 3:30 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Okay… maybe some of you have all ready seen this video (someone told me they played it at GROUP’s NYMC). I hadn’t seen it yet…

This is classic, especially for anyone who’s ever done a youth ministry all night event. (I usually don’t watch entire videos when someone sends them to me. Someone sent this today in one of my blog comments. Funny stuff all the way through. I was laughing pretty hard at the two minute mark… the pastor’s van.)  🙂 

Political Evangelism

Posted on: 08/19/08 10:54 AM | by Jonathan McKee

My dad just sent me this from our local Sacramento Bee, a fascinating article about how political campaigns are learning from person to person evangelism models.

This is timely for me. I’m actually pounding hard right now finishing up writing my book on relational ministry with an emphasis on the power of “one-on-one” relationships (just like the Connect seminar we offer).

A little snippet from the article:

When supplicants answering the Rev. Billy Graham’s altar call streamed to the foot of the stage, each would be met by one of the evangelist’s helpers. The pairings weren’t random.

Graham insisted that young women meet young women. Older men greeted older men. Graham understood that the best way to cement the conversion was to show new believers a reflection of themselves within the church.

And then a little further down… (emphasis mine)

The Democrats learned their lesson – they used paid workers who obviously were “not from around here” to do their canvassing – and so this year the Obama campaign is recruiting an “army of persuasion” based on the Bush neighbor-to-neighbor model. At training sessions, “Obama Organizing Fellows” are taught to develop short, personal narratives that will explain to their neighbors how they came to support the Democrat.

It may spoil some of the fun for the newly minted Obama fellows to learn that their device is taken directly from the megachurch. Evangelicals have long known that people come to faith most easily through contact with friends and neighbors, and that one of the most powerful ways to draw converts is for believers to “witness” their faith (Acts 1:8) with personal stories of salvation.  (Click here for the entire article from the Sacramento Bee, 8/18/08)


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Disney Panties Pulled From Shelves

Posted on: 08/18/08 9:45 AM | by Jonathan McKee

And to think, I was surprised when I saw junior high girls walking around the mall with the word “juicy” imprinted across their butt.

Disney just came out with a new line of High School Musical panties for kids (as in, 7-years-old)… with the words “Dive In” on the front of them. The funny thing is, apparently, (according to this NYMag Fashion article) the way it was packaged, you don’t see the words until you open up the package… or until your 8 year old walks into the room wearing a Winnie the Pooh t-shirt and her new undies bearing the message “Dive In.”

Anyway… Disney issued a statement:

“Unfortunately, an oversight was made and the text on the underwear was used out context.”  (Reuters, 8/16/08)

Yeah… right! Maybe they need to have my high school son and his friends on their committee. I can’t even say the word “balls” at soccer practice without getting a chuckle. Who the heck is missing the connotations of the words “dive in” on the front of a pair of panties? Perhaps they need to hire the 5th grade boy wearing the South Park shirt that lives down the street from me to start screening this stuff.

Ironic: Disney is apologizing for these suggestive panties… but aren’t they just following suit from other designers out there (like Beyonce’- I blogged about that before)? I seem to not be alone in that opinion.


Rihanna Knocks Katy Perry Outta #1

Posted on: 08/14/08 10:54 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Katy Perry (I Kissed a Girl) has been riding the #1 spot on the Billboard charts for 7 weeks now, but this week Rihanna’s Disturbia bumped her down.

Months ago I blogged about Perry’s song, I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It, a blog that has attracted over 10,000 web views and hundreds of heated comments (some of which I didn’t even bother posting). I have been frustrated with the song because of its “do what feels right at the moment” message that kids love hearing.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that its replacement is anything of redeeming value.

Rihanna is definitely one to watch (I often recommend that parents and youth workers keep their eyes on certain artists, because their kids are), with two hits in Billboards top 10 right now, and rapidly becoming one of the most popular female artists:

Rihanna’s “Disturbia” puts an end to the seven-week run at No. 1 by Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” on the Billboard Hot 100, rising 3-1 after selling 148,000 downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It’s Rihanna’s fourth chart-topper here, tying her with Beyonce and Mariah Carey for the most by a female artist this decade. (Billboard)

Most of us know Rihanna from her song Umbrella… eh, eh, eh… but she is proving to be far more than a one hit wonder.

Her song Disturbia is interesting. The lyrics are very vague. The video is typical of Rihanna’s videos– highly sexualized. But this one has a dark edge.

It’s no surprise that Rihanna is popular. She’s pretty, she’s got talent, she’s partnered with some of the best (Jay Z, Chris Brown) and she’s usually provocative. It sells!


30 Day Sex Challenge

Posted on: 08/12/08 10:07 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Okay… this got my attention, a sermon series titled “The 30 Day Sex Challenge.”, a Tampa area church, has the reputation of being… well… relevant. In this recent sermon series they gave a challenge: Married couples commit to having sex for 30 days, singles commit to abstinence for 30 days.

Pretty cool.

I called David Smith (David is our THE SOURCE speaker and writer who edits our games and event ideas, manages content, and authors the Youth Culture Window article most weeks) yesterday (he’s from Tampa) and asked him if he had heard of the church and the challenge. His response: “Yeah, I meant to bring my wife there that month!”  🙂

David emailed me a little more about this church. I thought you all would find it interesting:

“Relevant Church meets in The Italian Club in Ybor City (pronounced Eebor). Pastor Paul Wirth and a small staff lead the church of about 200 people, comprised mostly of 18-30 year olds. The very name of their church describes the way they operate, with relevance. They use rock music during times of worship, rely on a heavy use of videos in service, and place an emphasis on preaching towards needs. It truly is a place “Where Culture Meets Christ.”

They have all but mastered publicity. With most of their sermon series, they typically launch a new website. (Check out, their MySpace profile, or their Facebook page.) Almost every student at USF has seen their cool and catchy signs posted around campus. Their latest “sermon series” involved the whole church going to the movie theater together each Friday night to watch a film…so they could discuss its possible relevance to their faith lives on Sunday morning. (They watched The Incredible Hulk, Get Smart, X-Files, Hancock, Wall*E, Kung Fu Panda, and The Dark Knight.)

Though they have two services meeting each Sunday, they are not afraid to mix things up on the weekends. Within the last month, they took advantage of the summer season, and moved their entire worship service over to the beach. There they taught on baptism and joined 15 people to the church through baptism.

Without a doubt, the church is most famous (or infamous) for their sermon series “The 30 Day Sex Challenge.” It received ample coverage by the local newspapers, radio stations, and TV news teams. Even though their book by the same title has yet to come out, a majority of people (and churches) in the Tampa Bay area have forged an opinion on Relevant Church and its message.”