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Why Christians Should Care about Kim Kardashian

Here's a true thing about me: I love pop culture. I wish I could blame it on "research" since I'm a Christian author for adults and teens, but the truth is, I like it too. I like knowing the songs on the radio, the restaurants everyone is talking about, the new apps that are being used, the celebrities that are front and center and what they are doing.

Of course, just because I enjoy what culture is up to doesn't mean I agree with it. There are many songs on the radio that I just plain don't like, there's an app or two that I find more annoying than fun, and there are times when celebrities make choices publicly that I would not make.

And at the same time, because of my job and my ministry and the way the Lord made me, I am constantly looking at culture and asking the question, "So what does that mean for us? What do we do with that?"

("Us" and "we" being you and me and your teenager and the church and anyone who shares our Christian faith.)

When Kim Kardashian released nude photos to the masses and they were posted on every corner of the Internet, I felt a push in my spirit -- "so what do we do with THAT?" And let me tell you, I didn't want to touch the topic. I'm a big believer in speaking kindly to and about celebrities (because they are human beings and have feelings), so I didn't want to say anything to disparage Kim. But I also knew that part of my purpose on this planet is to see culture and ask questions and lead people to influence our culture on behalf of Christ.

So I wrote a post about Kim Kardashian's viral nude photos. And it went bananas. Shared to over 1.5 million people in less than 48 hours, it obviously hit a nerve. And as it goes with quasi-viral blog posts, while the vast majority of the response was very positive, there were a handful of pretty nasty comments. I can handle it, these people don't know me, but one strand of negative commenting bothered me the most.

Many Christians said things like, "my teenager never saw those pictures and will not see those pictures and I have absolutely no reason to discuss this with him/her."

Let me first say, I absolutely believe in protecting our children from evil and encouraging them to think on what is good. So each family must do what is best for their children. That being said, we cannot pretend like we do not live in our culture. We live here. Your teenagers, particularly, are overhearing things at school or seeing nude pictures, as I did, by merely scrolling through twitter. Culture is all around us, smothering us at times, and we have the choice to be influenced by it or to be the influencer.

Your teenager? She has the opportunity to be a culture-shaper. They all do. But if we teach them that living "in the world but not of the world" means ignoring what is going on in our culture, they cannot know how to think about it or shape it in the future.

That blog post got traction, I believe, because Christians want to engage in conversations about how to think about culture, live within our culture, but be different than our culture. We have the honor of helping raise the next generation: shaping the world in which they live, teaching them how to think about culture, compare it to the counter-culture ways of the Bible, and begin to shift the direction towards healthy biblical living. We must teach them to see culture (to be in the world), but not to be shaped by it (not to be of the world).

What does it look like for us to engage culture and discuss culture without being influenced by it? How do we teach the next generation to shape our world with their gifts and skills and influence?

It isn't easy. It may be messy and lead to hard conversations and there is certainly a balance between displaying all the things we disagree with and putting our heads in the sand. A balance that I am constantly prayerfully thinking through as I write, but one I look for in my own life as well. But it is a worthy battle, to see a shift in our culture as we raise wise teenagers who will wield godly influence in an ever-changing world.

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