Hooking Up

Hooking up was the focus of a recent dinner time conversation with our big kids. We were hearing about  the party scene, people, parents, alcohol, rules and behaviour. So what exactly is ‘hooking up’? And how might you be hooked into a culture even when you are not participating directly?

According to Adelaide Mena and Caitlin Seery La Ruffa many college students don’t even know what this ‘hooking up’ means. And there is danger, anxiety and alarm surrounding the burgeoning culture to “hook up” with anyone in an alcohol fuelled environment.
The teenagers at dinner could talk about behaviours, attitudes and individuals who embraced this “hooking up” culture. The underage party, permission notes, drinking, supervision and reputations were all up for discussion. So what plays out at a tertiary level?

When somewhat drunkenly bringing someone back to your dorm is the norm, how are bystanders (in a dark, noisy, crowded space) supposed to distinguish good intentions from bad? How can an onlooker see the difference between a young man genuinely seeking to help his friend get back to her room safely and one pretending to be a good friend, only to take advantage of her once there? One of us had the horrible experience—twice—of being witness to a friend’s assault in the very next room and being powerless to do anything, not because of physical inability, but because by all external appearances what was happening looked just like any other weekend night.

The Gospel Coalition offers this piece with links to follow up. In a culture where boys will be boys and girls go wild, we must all be part of the conversation.

Friday Night Lights

It is always sad when one has to farewell a new friend or community. After 5 seasons of Friday Night Lights earlier this year I was sad to say good bye to ‘my’ friends at Dillon. If you had told me that I would enjoy watching  television series about a High School Football team I would have moaned and laughed out loud. Football has never really fired me up, let alone a high school version of the team sport. But after a few episodes…I was hooked.

The full 5 seasons of FNL is not without fault. There are moments that are less rewarding than others. But the stars of the show in my mind are Eric and Tammy Taylor, the head football coach(Kyle Chandler) and his wife (Connie Britton).  Marriage is positioned as something to celebrate, value and aspire to. Even when there is conflict, tension and disappointment. As Colinn Hansen for the Gospel Coalition writes:
But how might our neighbors’ attitudes change if we told stories of marriage in its gritty beauty, such as the relationship between Eric and Tami Taylor of fictional Dillon, Texas, in Friday Night Lights?

Apparently I am not the only one to enjoy the integrity of the marriage at the heart of FNL. FNL uses football as a means to explore manhood, the absent father and the good husband. It is about the brokenness of the human condition and the the power of community. And I have to say that as you journey with these families through various life events they become ‘friends’. So if you are looking for some new friends, or you want to be encouraged in your marriage or football performance FNL could be what you need.

City Life for Kids

My friend Jean has an encouraging blog and last week she linked to several online articles, blogs and commentaries that she had found helpful. This one by Kathy Keller (married to Tim)  came via The Gospel Coalition and it was a thought provoking read for me for several reasons.

I grew up in the country and at 18 years old fled, ran…not really looking back. The city held all the allure and appeal of a ‘real’ life for me. Real people, places, experiences, university, friendships, music, food, culture and more. Thankfully, by the grace of God the partying did not last long and a wonderful group of faithful young people including Jean, helped me find Christ in my city life! The city was then my home for many many years. And then because of my man’s work we had a short stint in London (which to this day is a lifetime highlight!) and then back to the country, to the place where I grew up.

Our home town is no more than ten thousand people. It is country, regional and conservative. There have been days, weeks, years when I have found being in the country difficult – and yes, there will be another whole post about that. But we love the city even more now because we can go back and visit and taste and see all the great stuff. We visit with family and close friends, we take our children to favourite places – a cafe, a park – and we drive past our old houses and reminisce.
Kathy Keller’s apprehension about raising three children in New York is worth reading and contemplating. How does our place, our home, our town or city impact on how we raise and encourage our kids? Have you ever thought about this? For many of us we don’t have a choice. But it is great to read how someone has seen good in what she thought was going to be a difficult situation. She begins like this:

In 1988 when Tim first mentioned the idea of us going to Manhattan to plant a church, I reacted by laughing. Take our three wild boys (the victims of below-average parenting, as well as indwelling sin) to the center of a big city? Expose them to varieties of sin that I hoped they wouldn’t hear about until, say, their mid-30s? My list of answers to “What is wrong with this picture?” was a long, long one.

I would love to know what you think about the city life for your kids. I will share some ideas about country life here this week.