As a Christian parent, have you ever felt like the world has gone mad, and you aren't sure how to navigate it? Have you wondered how to deal with the challenges of addiction, racial tension, "hook-up culture," and consumerism? Have you wondered how to best help your child who is struggling with their gender identity or sexual orientation, or how to help steer your child's entertainment choices? Have you wondered how to love your gay neighbors while maintaining a biblical worldview? Have you ever wondered how to protect your children from pornography, or even face your own porn problem? You need this book.
Every once in a while, a book comes along that makes me want to buy a whole case and give a copy to everyone I meet. A Practical Guide to Culture is that book. In it, John Stonestreet and Brett Kunkle pull no punches and shy away from no topics in their effort to help parents walk their kids through a secular culture that has become empty of meaning.
In fact, after I had read about four chapters, I sent an email out to several friends who are parents of teenagers and young adults. I asked if they'd like to read through it together and meet weekly to discuss each chapter. That's how impressed I am with this book, and how important I think it is.
The book begins with a very helpful definition of what culture is, how it is formed, how it forms us, and why it is so important. It then goes on to define “the Big Story of reality," the Scriptures, which describe reality as it really is. Cultural mindsets shift, but reality doesn't change. As Stonestreet and Kunkle put it, "One might refuse to believe in gravity, but stubbornness doesn't change truthfulness." The Scriptures are like gravity—they are true whether or not we believe them.
This lays the groundwork to get into some hot-button topics like homosexuality, transgenderism, pornography, "hook-up culture," consumerism, addiction, entertainment, and racial tension. These subjects are all treated with biblical clarity and compassion. Rounding out the book is an accessible and practical description of the Christian worldview, “the Big Story of reality." We can only live biblically in our culture if we understand how to read the Bible and how its message contrasts with the worldview of those around us.
When they say this is a "practical" guide to culture, they aren't kidding. The book is laid out with easy-to-read informative sections, and each chapter ends with action steps and discussion questions. This is a perfect book to read and discuss with your teen or young adult. In fact, I would say it's imperative. This will empower you as a parent to initiate conversations with your kids about everything they will face in culture. Kids have tons of questions, even if they aren't revealing them to you. If they aren't asking you, or if you shut their questions down, Stonestreet and Kunkle predict:
And that doesn't just apply to sex. The world is ready and waiting to educate your children on virtually everything. Parents need to be more proactive than ever to help our kids become good thinkers. "Feeling isn't thinking, but many kids can't tell the difference," as Stonestreet and Kunkle put it. They also explain:
A Practical Guide to Culture is just that—a biblically sound and encouraging approach to raising sane and spiritually healthy kids. And there is hope! Stonestreet and Kunkle call it “hopecasting”—forecasting hope”— reminding ourselves that God’s Story continues to play out all around us.” Don't stand by and let your kids become victims of bad ideas and empty philosophies. The more we understand what is going on in our culture from the viewpoint of Scripture, the more likely our children—and we ourselves—will become beacons of hope in our very broken world.
[I received a complimentary copy of A Practical Guide to Culture in exchange for my honest review.]
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