Upon announcing that the youth was invited to come out to the movies and watch Twilight with me, I was intrigued in a new way…
History: I spent a great deal of time reading through the many reviews of this movie. I did this because I enjoy studying anything that reaches the culture of our young people. While growing up, I found that these types of things (i.e. Music, Movies, Books) were automatically viewed as suspect and often discouraged, especially by the church. Adults too often recall their youth as a prodigal time of life that they must keep the next generation from experiencing – thus, seeking to shelter teens from the trends of their current culture while seeking to conform teenage minds to a culture they find more acceptable – their own. While enough pressure in this direction may result in a symblance of obedience it generally corresponds with a loss of youth hearts. At Christ Fellowship, we take a different approach to this matter. While it is true that every generation finds new ways to appease their sinful nature, it is also true that this has always been the case. Yet, through every change in culture, TRUTH is unneffected and prevails. It is the desire of grounded youth ministries to embrace the changing culture of our youth and work hard to come up with creative ways to communicate an unchanging TRUTH.
Twilight: In light of this historical overview, Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series has captured my attention. These books are gaining popularity among teenagers (especially young ladies). I have not yet read the books, but decided to watch the movie. (Obviously, Hollywood is keeping up with culture much better than I am.) Upon announcing that the youth was invited to come out to the movies and watch Twilight with me, I was intrigued in a new way. We had a good turnout of young ladies with a spattering of guys. The reaction to the invite among males could be summed up as a general disdain for such a girly event. On the other hand, there was a sense of excitement among the girls – many of which had already seen the movie during this opening weekend.
We attended the movie. The reviews of Kingsport teens were somewhat mixed:
“Wow, what a wonderful movie!”
“This was nowhere close to as good as the book.”
“That movie was great!”
“Not my favorite.”
“Edward is sooooo cute.”
“Special effects sucked.”
I will not take time to give a personal review on the movie – there are many websites and opinionated teenagers for that. I will, however, give a few thoughts on why I believe the Twilight series has found a place in the hearts of many young people. Not surprisingly, it is nothing new. You see, Meyer has found a way to communicate a set of God-given, eternal longings in a relevant way. A few years ago, I read a book by John Eldredge, Wild at Heart. In this book, we read about 3 longings of every man – a battle to fight, a beauty to rescue, and an adventure to live. Mr. Eldredge carefully and wonderfully articulates his position that these longings were eternally seated in the hearts of man at creation. I believe that men have come to despise these desires and yet often seek to gratify them through hidden and dark corridors of their lives. That is another story, but it could explain why young men do not care for Twilight; for in Twilight, we find Edward fulfilling these longings in ways today’s generation reacts to with a mockery covered jealousy. I also believe that these longings of men are reflected in women through a different and more colorful light. A woman wants to know that she is beautiful, to know that she is worth fighting for, and to be part of an adventure bigger than herself alone. For this reason, young ladies of today’s youth can identify with Bella and receive hope through her story.
While the movie itself was not outstanding, the story it unfolds is timeless. Twilight has rejuvenated my desire to assist in training up our youth in the way they should go – not by asking them to conform to my reality, but by offering them the opportunity to embrace their God-given reality and focus it on matters of true significance allowing them a sense of mystical fulfillment in ways that they may not even realize to be as spiritual as they truly are.