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September 2007 Archives

September 10, 2007

5 lessons every girl can learn from Vanessa Hudgens

As someone who addresses issues in today's culture that impact our tweens and teens, I cannot ignore the recent misdeeds of Vanessa Hudgens, the famed High School Musical starlet. I guess you could say this blog post was inspired yesterday while over-hearing a conversation among some of the guys in our youth group (including my own 14 year-old son) right before we entered the morning service at church. Here is a snippet of their conversation:

"Did you hear about that Vanessa girl who plays Gabriella on High School Musical?" "Yeah, about the nude pictures she sent Drake Bell when she was 16?" " Yeah! What a skank!"

I walked away feeling uncomfortable....and sad....and conflicted. I so desperately want to bury my head in the sand and believe this Hollywood dysfunction is not affecting our "church kids." Unfortunately, you can't escape the non-stop glamorization of bad behavior. Even the grammar school tykes will probably find out about this one. They may not recognize the name "Vanessa Hudgens," but a good number circled around their TV's and watched innocent "Gabriella" in High School Musical 2, reportedly the most-viewed cable telecast in history.

You know how the rumor-mill works. All it takes is one kiddo who hears the buzz about her nude pics from a big sister or big brother, and voila, our little ones have been exposed to "too much, too soon." And let me just say right now, that if I get one comment on this blog post from a guy defending Vanessa's nude pictures as being "private" or "beautiful" I will not post it. Look, the girl was 16 when she sent the pictures by cell phone (admittedly) to Drake Bell (never heard of him, but my kids tell me he's on Nickelodeon). She was a "child" and the pictures on the net are thus, "child porn." If you purposely search for them and look at them, you are a "pervert," in my book. End of story. Sadly, her name was the most searched-for term on Google the day word of the pics released. I'm not writing this to trash Vanessa, but I do think it's important for girls to take a minute to evaluate what we can learn from her mistake.

Here are 5 lessons girls of all ages can learn from Vanessa's mistake:

1. Nothing sent over the Internet or by cell phone is "private." Once you press "send," it becomes public even if you only sent it to one person and intended it for private purposes (Ahem, this includes married couples!). It may lay dorment for a time, but chances are, it can come back to haunt you.

2. The same double standard that existed in your mom's day, is still ever-present today. The sad reality is that a girl's reputation can be ruined with one simple mistake. Even if we hear that the Vanessa was coerced or pressured to send the pics to this guy, he will not suffer the wrath or judgement that she has. In fact, he will probably get high-fives from his buddies, while the world labels this girl a "skank." Not fair, but true, all the same.

3. Just because everyone else is looking at her picture, doesn't mean we should. The pictures are porn and viewing pornography is wrong. Resist the temptation to look at the picture. "Christians" are to view each other through God's lens. What she did is a sin in God's eyes and looking at the picture is equally, a sin in God's eyes.

4. Vanessa will forever be remembered for this "mistake." The pictures are here to stay and she will have to deal with the fact that her parents, grandparents, future children, etc... could someday stumble upon them. Not to mention, once you have sent out a nude picture via cell phone or the Internet (even though intended as "private"), you have just subjected yourself to the scrutiny of every creepy predator and pervert out there--you know, the ones who treat women as nothing more than objects for the male-viewing pleasure. The message boards on this topic are proof that our porn-addicted, sex-saturated culture has left many men with a warped view of women. Girls out there would be wise to clean up their MySpace and Facebook picture albums, keeping this in mind. While I doubt many have nude pictures, I'm talking about swimsuit and pj shots, or any picture for that matter, that is the slightest bit revealing.

5. Fame comes with a price. For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone would want to be famous Let's have no part of glamorizing this lifestyle. We know the truth: Money and success don't buy happiness.

Finally, let me end with a timely warning from God on the matter of putting anyone or anything on a pedestal above Him. Remember the Ten Commandments? Well, here's the first one:

"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments." (Exodus 20:2-6)

Let's keep this girl in our prayers. She has a tough road ahead of her and I hope someone close to her will share the love and forgiveness of Christ with her. Sounds like she could use some "good news."

Tell us, what are your thoughts regarding Vanessa Hudgens?

By: Vicki Courtney

September 24, 2007

See you @ the Pole?

Celebrating its 18th year, See You at the Pole will sweep the nation on Wednesday, September 26th @ 7 a.m! Initiated, organized and led by students, the annual event encourages youth to simply gather at the flagpole before school and pray.

In high school, I never really attended the Christian club nor did I ever
feel the need to engage in a round of 'religion debates' in the quad (I never hid my faith or the fact that I am a Christian, but felt my actions and character spoke louder that my words). See You at the Pole was one event, though, that I made sure to attend. It was always well publicized, as news photogs were always present as was the local Christian radio station with free breakfast and giveaways. We only had about 50 students gathered (and the occasional youth pastor who braved the morning hours and traffic); but, what I remember most about SYATP wasn't so much the early morning start or even the jokes made by others passing by. It was what I heard.

For about 30 minutes, I stood hand-in-hand with other Christians at my school around the flagpole. One by one, students would begin praying for our teachers, school administrators, the student body, for our city and even our nation and its leaders. Hearing these heartfelt prayers was not only encouraging, but it definitely gave me hope. Hope for the unsaved and un-reached, hope for our schools and hope that I wasn’t alone. Even in a public school, believers could rally together for the sake of His name. How cool is that?!

So tell us, what happened @ your flagpole?