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The Ladies of the 2014 MTV VMAs
Big Names. Big Money. Big Impact. Big Questions.
Jonathan McKee and David R. Smith

This year’s MTV Video Music Awards (the VMAs) departed from its normal gimmicks to show us something young people have adored for generations…


No, I’m not saying the show wasn’t void of twerking, revealing...
JONATHAN'S BLOG: Nicki Minaj and Other Top Female Role Models
This last Sunday night MTV revealed something new about today’s most popular music stars… they are mostly female.

It was an incontestable reality at MTV’s VMAs this year. Ladies swept the awards. In fact they won almost every single award except Best Male Video.

So what are our daughters gleaning from these female role models?

The VMAs
Sadly, the entertainment industry is providing most of the role models for many young people today. And if you glimpse at a show as powerful as the MTV VMAs, a show that last year was cable’s #1 entertainment telecast of 2013 among 12-34 year-olds, you’ll discover who many of these role models are, and you’ll garner a pretty accurate a sampling of their content and fashion choices.

In fact, if you had been secluded on a desert island for the last 20 years with no phone, Wi-Fi, or electricity… and now fancied a crash course on today’s pop-youth-culture… I would tell you to simply watch the MTV Video Music Awards (the VMAs). Each year this show truly provides a sobering glimpse into the porthole of what teens see, hear, and emulate daily. (My good friend David R. Smith and I just finished our brand new Youth Culture Window article about that event, The Girls of the MTV VMAs. You can read that HERE.)

So, without rehashing what we just wrote in that YCW article, who are some of these key female role models in the limelight today?

Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Iggy Azalea, Ariana Grande… they were all there, all have songs and videos at the top of the charts, and all are on our kids radar.

For the sake of this blog, let me just focus on Nicki Minaj. After all, she not only has just beat Michael Jackson out with more hits in the Billboard Hot 100, she was one of the most featured artists Sunday, performing literally three times (more than anyone else).

Nicki Minaj
I’ve blogged about Nicki before. Nicki kicked off the show this year with a performance of her new song Anaconda… a song bearing the title about a guy’s penis.

This rap tells the story of her sexual encounters with a few boys, but also discusses her recreational drug use:

I'm high as hell, I only took a half of pill
I'm on some dumb sh*t…

The song goes on to talk about having sex with the guys that love her big butt:

He can tell I ain't missing no meals
Come through and f**k em in my automobile…

But it goes into more detail, talking specifically about each of their genitals:

This dude named Michael used to buy motorcycles
D**k bigger than a tower, I ain't talking about Eiffel
Real country ass nigga, let me play with his rifle
P**sy put his *ss to sleep, now he calling me NyQuil…

Like it or hate it, this song debuted at #19 on the Billboard charts, and is currently No. 5 on the iTunes charts. (You can read the entire lyrics to Anaconda here.)

Some people respect Nicki because she’s a strong female figure who isn’t afraid to carry a little extra weight on her backside. Nicki made that clear on Sunday night, twerking her backside, singing about it, and displaying it proudly in various revealing outfits.

Confident? Definitely.

Responsible? Principled? Decent? You’d have to watch her performance, singing the lyrics above and simulating sex with her dancers on stage.

What do you think the millions of teen and tween girls in the television and Internet audience will glean from Nicki’s performance?

Is it any surprise that our daughters are slowly becoming sexualized by elements like this in our pop culture?

How can we teach our girls truth in a world so abundant with these lies?


Season 2, Episode 13—Beside the Dying Fire
Is this what Jesus meant by resurrection of the dead? Hershel and Rick bring it up in this week’s Season 2 Finale’ of The Walking Dead. This week we saw the true devastation “a herd” could bestow. Utter chaos swept

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?

Movie Reviews and Quick Q's:
Edge of Tomorrow (6/6/2014)

Posted on August 8/26/2014, 2014 at 09:57 AM
Video Game Reviews @
House of the Dead III, The

Posted on August 8/22/2014, 2014 at 03:57 PM
YouTube Discussion Starters:
The Death of Robin Williams

Posted on August 8/15/2014, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Music Discussions:

Posted on July 7/21/2014, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Outreach Resource of the Week RSS Feed
The Long-Lasting Consequences of Sexting
Kids don’t get to decide the consequences for their actions, but they do get to decide the course of action they take. This resource from our OUTREACH AGENDAS page proves that reality using the example of sexting.

Discussion Starter: Teen Sext Haunts Man 7 Years Later 
This article, written by Nicole Brady on May 13, 2012, appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, a newspaper from Australia. It concerns an unnamed man and the consequences he faces years after admitting he sent pictures of he and his 17-year-old girlfriend havin

Spiritual Growth Resource of the Week RSS Feed
Contact (Faith)

Our students need to have strong faith even when those around them don’t agree with them. This resource from our MOVIE CLIP DISCUSSIONS page will help them to have strong faith when life gets tough.


The Movie Clip: Only by Faith
Contact is a Sci-Fi movie that tells the story of Dr. Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster) and her discovery of a signal being broadcast from deep space. The signal contains the blueprints for building a very special machine. Even after human scientists take the time, money, and energy to build the machine, they still 

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