Headlines & Happenings: What Christians Talked About This Week

Welcome to Headlines & Happenings where I try to pick up some of the themes that were popular among Christians in the week that has just passed. This is actually harder than it sounds, especially in a relatively slow week like the one right after New Year’s!

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The Christian blogosphere follows some predictable patterns, and of those patterns is that the end of one year and beginning of the next will see lots of articles about the making and keeping of resolutions. And why not? What better time to resolve to do or be or try something new? To wit, Kevin DeYoung wrote 20 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Make (and Keep) Right Now. Michael Kelley went with One of the Only New Year’s Resolutions Worth Repeating and Jordan Standridge with Rescued from Meaningless Resolutions. Erik Raymond offered The New Creation in the New Year. There was also a video this year with Hershael York giving his take on behalf of Southern Seminary. And these were just a few of the many options.

Logan Paul

Actually, I wish Christians had talked a little more about Logan Paul. The quick version: He’s one of the top YouTube stars and makes millions (some estimates are up to $2 million per month) acting like an obnoxious, immature buffoon for the entertainment of young people. And they love him for it, as evidenced by the fact that he has over 15 million subscribers. Last week he went to Japan’s “suicide forest” and captured footage of a man who had just committed suicide. His video soon elicited outraged responses; he took it down, apologized, and stepped away for a bit  to reflect. What makes this newsworthy? A lot. Partly it is the fact that he is massively popular and influential among young people. It’s also what he shows about YouTube and the whole online attention economy.

Chris Martin wrote the one must-read article for parents: Parents, Please Don’t Let Your Kids Watch Logan and Jake Paul. He makes the statement and then defends it by giving some background on Logan Paul (and his brother Jake) and on the whole YouTube economy. Also consider reading The Logan Paul Video Should Be a Reckoning For YouTube from Wired and YouTube is equally to blame for Logan Paul’s video from TechCrunch. The long and the short is that parents need to be aware of what your kids are watching online. And don’t let them watch Logan Paul.

Article of the Week

If there is one article this week that I think is especially worthy of a few minutes of your time, it would be Abigail Dodds who wrote On Being a Christian Woman in the Year of Our Lord, 2018. She describes a theme she has picked up on over the past few years: “I’ve tried to put my finger on what seems to be afoot, particularly with conservative Christian women––for whom the sound of the rumbling is different than its liberal counterparts, yet seems to be aimed in the same basic direction. It seems the culprit is a general sense that women have been underutilized and pigeon-holed in Christ’s body and the internet is the main means by which this problem has found its voice.” She commends this, yet also points out what may be a significant flaw or concern. “We must teach the women to act like Christian women, not door busters. We must teach them that the Christian life is not one of getting our way or forcing our plans or barging in––it’s one of dying daily, humble waiting, prayerful dependence, and unseen service where our right hand is ignorant of our left. That breaking the doors down would be the path toward anything but misery seems obvious enough––which doors are enough, when does it end? Once we’ve broken them down, it’s impossible to open them rightly.” It is well worth reading and reflecting on it.