Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Grey’s Anatomy Gets Christianity Wrong Again

posted by Linda Mintle

Last night I watched an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, hoping that they would actually write the Christian character right. As in the past, I was sorely disappointed.

Here is what happened. The only virgin of the fifth year residents was staying in a hotel, preparing to take her surgery boards. The night before the boards, everyone was coping in their own way with the stress. April, whose character has refused sex based on her Christian faith, tells us her church was praying for her. The pressure of letting people down was immense. She finds herself with one of the “hottie” surgeons in a bar, drinking. Next thing we know, a man is picking a fight with her because she received his job offer in Cleveland. Clearly having had too much to drink, she physically fights and feels incredible good that she stood up to the guy, goes back to the hotel with her hottie colleague and starts to kiss him at her hotel door. True to the his character, he hesitates, tries to assess whether she really wants to go for sex and continues the sexual encounter. Kepner, drunk, feels good, free and has intercourse as a virgin. As soon as it is over, you can see the regret on her face. She tries to play it off.

The next morning right before the board exams, she is sitting next to the man she slept with and he asks if she is OK. She clearly looks distressed, but then she is about to take her surgical boards. She tells him YES because she loves Jesus. Wow, right out there with the issue. But then is when the writers get it wrong. She says, “Jesus hates me!”The scene ends.

Up til that point, I thought the story line was believable. The pressure to have sex while all her colleagues act out constantly around her has been building. The stress, along with the alcohol, being away from home, create temptations. True to life,  people give in to temptation when they engage versus flee. So far, very realistic.

To be convicted of her behavior because she acted in a way inconsistent with her faith, was really great to show. But to say, “Jesus hates me,” reflects a lack of understanding of our relationship with Christ. Now maybe she felt that in the moment because she was so disappointed with herself, but my fear is that this notion will not be corrected.

Truth is, Jesus didn’t hate her for sinning. A better response would have been, “I have sinned against my God, ” or ” I gave in to something I don’t believe is right,” or “I am so distressed with myself  for going against my beliefs.” Maybe even, “I’ve sinned against my own body.”

Jesus loves her even when she sins and that is the message of the Gospel. Jesus doesn’t condone her sin, hates her sin, but loves her and will never stop loving her. If Grey’s Anatomy will follow up with that correction, I will be OK. But my guess is the writers will get it wrong again like they did with another Christian character they wrote years ago.

This is why we need Christian writers–to thoughtfully deal with real issues like this, but with correct theology.

 

Why We Often Struggle in Our Christian Walk

posted by Linda Mintle

Spend a day watching TV, going to a movie, perusing the news and talking to your co-workers. How often does your faith become a part of the experience?

If you are like me, not often. TV shows rarely, if ever, have a Christian character written by someone who understands Christianity. Usually those characters are weird or eventually give in to secular thought. Movies are the same. And news and features often report on heart-warming stories, but are reluctant to include any God talk.

So does our once a week trek to a local church cut it when it comes to girding us up for daily life? Not so much. We don’t even do church well.

—7% of Christians give 10% or more of their income to God despite the biblical mandate to tithe and watch how God will bless that effort.

—Church volunteering dropped from 26% to 18% from 1991 to 2011. Now we can’t even say that 20% of the congregation does all the work!

—16% of all churchgoers read their Bible daily; 25% read it at all. Maybe this is why we lack the power to overcome difficulty in our lives. We are not putting the Word of God in our hearts.

I’m challenged by these numbers and want to do better. The Word of God is a source of power, encouragement and hope, thus, we need more, not less, in our lives. Perhaps, if we all were more disciplined in filling our minds with Christ and begin obedient to the Word, we would struggle less and live in more peace.

Main Reason Teens Abstain from Sex

posted by Linda Mintle

Mandy is a typical teen, but has decided abstinence is the way to go. Why?

Because she believes that having sex before marriage is morally wrong. She learned that in her youth group at church. Religion made a difference in her thinking.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention did a study that backed up what Mandy is saying. A 2006-2010 survey found that over half of both girls and boys who practiced abstinence, did so for religious reasons. Surprisingly, “avoiding a sexually transmitted disease” was not the main reason to be abstinent.

And despite the sexually saturated media culture, the study also found that the percentage of sexually experienced females declined from 1988 to 2006 (51% to 43%). Furthermore, parents have an impact on their teens’ sexuality. When a girl lives with both parents versus other parental arrangements, , she is less sexually active (35% versus 54%). So parents, don’t give in to the idea that your presence doesn’t matter. Keep talking to your teen about the importance of abstinence.

Finally, more good news that you won’t hear from general media. Since the “True Love Waits” campaign began and sexual abstinence was presented as an alternative to having sex, teen sexual activity has dropped every year. Religion does matter and provides a moral grounding!

Could a Blood Test Tell You if Your Teen is Depressed?

posted by Linda Mintle

It isn’t always easy to figure out whether a teen is simply in the throws of adolescent moodiness or is depressed. We have to rely on observing changes in behavior and looking for symptoms that fit depression.

Picking up on teen depression is important because it can lead to suicide, substance abuse, physical illness and more if untreated. Approximately, 25% of teens and young adults suffer from major depression.

A fascinating new study  involving teen depression was recently reported. The study was conducted at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Eva Redei, co-author of the study has been working in a rat lab to find genetic markers for depression. Based on the work of her team, they were able to develop a test that looks for markers in the blood associated with teen depression. Specifically, the researchers found 26 biomarkers for major depression.

Twenty-eight teens participated in the study, ages 15 to 19; half of the teens were diagnosed with depression and half were not. The depressed teens shared 11 markers of depression.

This is the first time a blood test has been developed to diagnose depression. The researchers hope the blood test will help towards early identification of depression in teens so that treatment and prevention will be possible.  We’ve never had this before. And they also hope this discovery will take a bit of the stigma out of being diagnosed with depression.  Less stigma may mean more teens will seek treatment.

While this is exciting news, it doesn’t replace the need for a comprehensive evaluation by a competent mental health provider. The study also doesn’t address the bigger need to get at the underlying issues associated with depression. And since there are many different types of depression, it certainly doesn’t help depression that is brought on by lifestyle, relational and environmental issues. Truth is, you can have a predisposition to many conditions like depression, but it is the mix of genetics, environment and biology that matter.

The good news is that depression is very treatable. Look for the signs of teen depression and get help! My small booklet pictured above will help you understand depression from both a spiritual and psychological perspective. It includes signs, treatments and scripture to help.

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