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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

MTV, Virgins, and Reality TV: Why I am Skeptical!

posted by Linda Mintle

2 MTVWhat do MTV and a biblical worldview have in common? Virtually nothing!

So when I read that MTV was planning to do  a reality TV show about a group of 18-25 year old virgins, I about flipped. Totally unexpected.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the still untitled one hour reality show is going to follow the lives of a group of virgins. Instead of the usual party like a rock star people typically featured on MTV shows (think Spring Break!), this cast will grapple with their commitment to abstinence, their sexually active friends, parental talks about sex and their own struggles and temptations in our sexually saturated culture. The outcomes for each cast member can’t be predicted, but supposedly will not be shown if virginity is lost.

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So why am I skeptical?

I don’t trust MTV to do justice to the subject of abstinence and virginity.

Here is why: It’s like asking a democrat to document the thoughts of a republican.

Do the writers, directors, producers or editors have anyone to consult with who might be sympathetic to a young person who wants keep his or her virginity until marriage?  If they do, it would help.

So far, on most TV shows with virgin characters, they are portrayed as sexually repressed, radically fundamentalist, and just plain weird. Generally speaking, the characters don’t represent people I know, especially the Christian characters. Usually, Christian beliefs are mocked, their positions outdated, and their thinking presented as distorted. So if the producers were to hire scriptwriters to reflect Christian or abstinence views accurately, it would be a step in the right direction.

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Now, the fact that this show on MTV will be “real” life may make it more authentic, but we all know how “real” reality TV shows tend to be. They are scripted and highly edited. Editors, producers, directors can make the sacred look foolish, commitment look like a phobia, and respecting one’s body, a disorder. In the “everyone is doing it” era, virgins are targets of teasing.

So, if you ask me if this journey into the minds and hearts of STI-free (Sexually Transmitted Infection) people will be unbiased? I seriously doubt it. But I can always hope.

I’ve only seen the virgin position respected in churches, not pop culture. And despite the lip service offered to abstinence approaches in the schools, educators do not expect anyone to really be a virgin. Most often, they begin their educational efforts with the expectation that no one can really resist. And when you look at media programming, it appears that no one really does. Even the “Christian” characters eventually give in to carnal desires, as in Grey’s Anatomy.

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A few years ago,  I sent one of my clients to an OB/GN for a gynecological problem. The physician actually called me thinking I was pranking him. He told me he had a good laugh with the patient’s story of being a 30-year-old virgin. I wasn’t amused. I told him this was no prank. The woman was serious about her religious conviction to wait until marriage to have sex. She was still single and still waiting…and by the way, dating a guy with a similar convictions. The reason she was seeing me was because her family thought something was wrong with her because she wasn’t sleeping around or living with the guy. Her mom was living with her boyfriend and pressuring her daughter to do the same.

So yes, I am skeptical but open and glad that another narrative of sexuality will become part of the conversation.

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Just this week, I  heard an interviewer praising Vanessa Hudgens for pole dancing in her latest movie role as a stripper. The commentator was all about Vanessa being empowered by her sexuality. And I thought of all the girls who loved her in High School Musical, who will now see the next step of being famous–take off your clothes in the name of empowerment. It’s an old lie with new words that keeps getting repeated. Someone ( National Organization of Women) should tell these young women that they are being objectified for money. Just because a woman decides to take off her clothes, doesn’t change the way men look at her–and it isn’t for her acting talent.

What is really sad is the complete irresponsibility media show for making sexual activity appear to have no real life consequences.

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In real life, in the therapist’s office, sexually active women regret that they gave parts of themselves away and feel sad that they can’t retrieve what was lost.

In real life, women are grieving over abortions, over infertility due to an STI, over lost love, and feeling used by men who promised to love them if they would have sex.

In real life, the CDC reports that sexually transmitted infections are a significant health challenge facing the US, with 20 million new cases reported every year.

In real life , over 9 million Americans are living with some type of sexual addiction (Mental Health Directory Portal)

In real life, women are objectified by a porn industry that rivals any other and are fed the lie that because a woman chooses to take off her clothes, this is empowerment. Wake up ladies!

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In real life, couples feel the emotional pain of multiple partners and live with the physical consequences.

In real life, the stories of the sexual abstinence are mocked, not validated.

If MTV could really give voice to those who choose a different path, it would be refreshing and significant. It would show tolerance for a different point of view.

Yes, I am skeptical, but let’s wait and see. I would love to be surprised!

 

 

Share your thoughts

 

 

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How to Calm Down An Argument

posted by Linda Mintle

couple embraceRuss and Rachel were at it again. Russ is driving like a maniac through busy traffic.

“Hey, slow down. You are driving way too fast!”

“I know how to drive and don’t need to be told what to do. When was the last time I got a ticket?”

“That’s not the point! I don’t want to die today. I need a manicure, and clean underwear!”

The couple laughs and the tension disappears. Russ slows down a little and Rachel relaxes.

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What just happened to this couple has to do with why relationships make it or break it. Russ and Rachel know how to repair a tense moment of conflict.

Their success involved two things: 1) They trust each other and despite their disagreements, know they have each other’s back.

2) They know how to deescalate conflict when it comes to a boiling point. Just when Russ was starting to feel annoyed and angry, Rachel cracked a joke. Humor was a way of repairing the moment. Rachel’s humor lowered the heat, making them both laugh and relax.

When one partner makes a positive effort to reduce physiological reactions in the other, conflict settles down. This happens several ways between healthy couples.

Here are a few of those ways:

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1) Use humor to break the tension.

2) Acknowledge that some part of what your partner says may be true.

3) Express some affection, a word of caring during an argument. It can even be a distracting comment like, “Your hair sure looks good today.”

4) Agree to one point of positive change.

5) Tell your partner you see his or her  point (show empathy) of view.

Next time, the heat of an argument rises, try one of these tips to lower the tension.

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Can a Medical Device Help Diagnose ADHD?

posted by Linda Mintle

child finger paintChris has been diagnosed by his psychologist as having ADHD (Attention Deficit/HyperActivity Disorder) but mom and dad are not sure this is the right diagnosis. They keep asking, other than our reports and those from the school, is there any other way to really know that Chris has ADHD? They know other families who feel the diagnosis wasn’t accurate and wondered if schools were too quick to label children who may have problems or even be developmentally immature.

These parents share the concern of many–is ADHD over diagnosed? Why do we have so many kids with the diagnosis?

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Diagnosis can difficult given the development of the child and  range of what we consider to be “normal” behaviors.

A new medical device may just help Chris’ parents. The new device is based on electroencephalogram (EEG) technology and is called the Neuropsychiatric EEG-Based Assessment Aid (NEBA) System. The US Food and Drug Administration recently allowed the marketing of this medical device.

The device is to be used as part of a complete medical and psychological evaluation for children 6-17 years of age in the assessment. The 15-20 minute test is noninvasive and calculates the ratio of theta and beta brain waves. Theta/beta ratio of brain waves have proven to be higher in children and adolescents with  ADHD than children without the diagnosis.

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Hopefully, this brain wave technology can assist in making better diagnosis. Given the average ADHD diagnosis is made around age 7, and that approximately 9% of children/adolescents have ADHD, this device could assist in accuracy of diagnosis.

But experts are not so sure, feeling that a 15 minute test really doesn’t tell you much about how a child behaves in real life.

Another area being studied is looking at unintentional hand movement. The notion is that ADHD kid have more of that movement. Johns Hopkins researchers studied this by having kids go through a finger tapping exercise. They noticed a difference between the nonADHD and ADHD kids. The ADHD kids engaged in less mirroring, but the difference wasn’t as noticeable with girls and older children. However, the results showed that finger tapping could be linked to ADHD in young boys.

Bottom line, used alone these type of tests are helpful, but not definitive. The diagnosis still needs to be made after interviews with parents, teachers and even the child. Right now, these tests may be helpful but certainly not definitive.

 

 

 

Another tool to use

 

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Real Answers About Millennials and Church

posted by Linda Mintle

As a baby boomer, I see  differences between people in my generation and  millennials. I am the mom of two millennials and have church conversations with them  all the time. With so many millennials leaving the church, I want my kids to continue to go, but the church needs to become more relevant to their lives. And actually, to mine as well. I struggle with many of the same issues they do when it comes to church and daily living.

My husband and I have tried very hard to listen to what is happening to millennials when it comes to church attendance. We have visited dozens of churches to find ones we can worship in as well. We finally ended up in one for “grown ups” as we like to say–no cool coffee bars, no dark lighting (I like to see in church) and no people on a stage in jeans.  I’m not knocking those churches. We attended one of those before we moved that was terrific. Right now, I don’t want church to feel like an entertainment venue. I want to feel the awe and be surrounded by beauty and a sense of reverence. I love the pipe organ, the cathedral ceiling, the elevated pulpit for reading the Word. Thus, when we moved, we  have returned to a very liturgical church that preaches from the Word. And we aren’t so different from millennials who are looking for something bigger and more sacred than being entertained on Sunday morning.

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When I came across Rachel Held Evans blog on why millennials are leaving the church, I felt like she nailed it. Like me, millennials have plenty of opportunity to be entertained during the week and don’t want church as another performance to attend. They want to find Jesus, and feel like so much of what happens in church,  misses Him. It is the substance of the church that needs changing, not the style.

According to Rachel’s blog, millennials want a church that…

1) Ends the culture wars

2) Calls a truce between science and faith (I’ve personally never understood the debate since God created all things. Science only confirms what He has created!)

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3) Tells us what we stand for, not what we stand against (How about more on love, unity and reconciliation).

4) Where asking questions doesn’t always result in predetermined answers. With my kids, I haven’t found easy answers but we go back to Scripture and try to apply it to today as well as look at the life of Christ.

5) Isn’t politically focused, but Kingdom focused. Can I get an AMEN on that one!

6) Isn’t American centric and considers the importance of all nations. This doesn’t mean we don’t love our country, but we are not the center of the Universe.

7) Welcomes LBGT friends. I would add, loves them like Christ already does.

8) Expands holiness beyond sexuality and considers it in relation to the poor, oppressed,  creation care, peacemaking and reconciliation.

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I suspect, as Rachel notes, that you don’t have to be a millennial to resonate with this list. And please don’t misunderstand, I am not knocking churches that have an informal style, but substance matters. Ina  world that is filled with uncertainty, I want my family to know Christ above everything else. How we present Him to all generations is important.

 

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