Recently, I tuned in to MTV for my periodic check on the state of youth culture. I watched "50 Cent" rap his take on "love" to a mesmerized crowd of teens, caught part of "Room Raiders," where a guy on the hunt for same-sex intimacy was checking out bedrooms belonging to three other guys, and chuckled over the crazy improvisation on the Andy Milonakis Show. Ad sponsors included Christian Children International, an upcoming movie about a female assassin starring Charlize Theron, a troubling new violent video game that's rated "M" (I forget the name), as well as the makers of products galore aimed right at 13-17 year olds.
Wow. So that's a taste of youth culture, at least as interpreted by the thirty-something marketing-to-teen experts who carefully craft MTV's content. I glimpsed a few signs of hope and spirituality, but was struck by the complete state of confusion over love. Will you be valued and loved if you get more cool stuff? Will you be loved if you are sexually fulfilled? Will you be loved if you look and feel good? This is a generation that's ravenous for love.
But are they finding it? Our high school psychologist estimates that 25% - 35% of teens at the school will experience severe emotional distress (eating disorders, depression, complete inability to function for long stretches of time) during their four years there. Where are the healers? Where are the truth-tellers? As writers, it's up to us to bless this generation — to show them that their Maker is fiercely, passionately in love with the REAL world. A broken, bruised Lover on a cross, dying in place of His beloved? Now that's true love.