Did you watch the Teen Choice Awards last night? I did (most of it anyway). I didn't watch it because I love the things that teens love. I watched it to learn more about what teens love and why they love what they love. I watched it to see what it reveals about our youth culture today. And I watched it so I can better reach our young people with the gospel of Christ. The first thing that the Teen Choice Awards revealed was (straight up) a lot of skin! Wow. Not just the girls, but even the guys were wearing next to nothing as they danced and performed on stage. This shouldn't surprise us as outward dress (or lack thereof) is merely a symptom of a greater inward problem. Showing lots of skin reveals a heart that is filled with pride. It shows that many teens want to draw attention to themselves. It also shows how much teenage girls struggle with insecurity; they desperately want attention and approval from others.
Along these lines, I listened closely to Hayden Panetierre (the star of the T.V. show, Heroes) give her acceptance speech. Twice she mentioned "female empowerment" and how this award "proves how powerful we are as young women." Sadly, comments like these expose a heart that is insecure and empty. It exposes how thousands of teen girls give the appearance as if they are tough and powerful on the outside, but on the inside they are hurting and searching for unconditional love and security.
I'll end with just one more observation. The emcee of this year's Teen Choice Awards was none other than Miley Cyrus (a.k.a. Hannah Montana). She not only announced the show, she also received a few awards. After accepting one of them, Miley told the audience, "First, I want to thank the one man in my life, Jesus Christ," (pointing up to the sky as she said it). Interesting, huh?!
Many of you know that it hasn't taken long for Miley to become a pop music icon among teens across the country. Knowing the pitfalls of many girls who have entered superstardom at such a young age, Miley has promised to pursue a different path that will keep her on the straight and narrow. She has said in various interviews that she is a follower of Christ and evidently is not afraid to say that the "main man" in her life is Jesus. But living in today's postmodern culture, I suppose it doesn't matter what you say you believe. After all, it's okay to be "spiritual." That's accepted. What's not accepted is living differently than the world.
But let's give Miley the benefit of the doubt. She wasn't afraid to say the name of Jesus Christ. And she's asked for forgiveness at times when she has made poor decisions. But let's also give Miley our prayers. She is only 15, making millions of dollars, and influencing teenagers all over the world. Pressure to conform to the world around her is huge.
Yes, the Teen Choice Awards reveal a lot. Yet maybe the greatest thing they reveal is how much teens (and all of us) need God. We need God to give us what we cannot obtain on our own, namely a new heart and a renewed mind to live what we believe.