By now you might have already heard of the huge party that most of us weren’t invited to. 300 Teenagers in New York decided to break into an ex-NFL star’s giant home, and throw a party. The party involved drugs, alcohol, destruction of property…and lots of selfies.
Because of all the “selfies” and social media posts, they were able to identify quite a few of the close to 300 partygoers. The NFL star himself invited them to all come back and help clean up in order to avoid criminal charges. Apparently only 4 of them did. (pitiful hand-clap) Then he took action by posting the pictures/tweets they shared publicly while on his property. By simply seeing what was available online, with some help, he compiled a list of names, and is calling those teens to respond by giving to charity. Kudos for him realizing this whole situation could be used to do something much larger than recoup the damages.
This party reveals quite a bit about youth culture, and one of the most dangerous things seems to be the elevation of self over….well, everything. The pictures & tweets posted seem to be of young people living out all the cliche’d phrases we hear pumped out in horrible music and quoted in memes all over social media. “Night of my life!”, “Live in the moment!”, “Don’t Care!”, “Don’t judge!”, etc. The list could go on, including every aspect of life being a continuous unchallenged party. Combined with mob-mentality bad judgement, the feeling of invinsibility continued even long after the party was busted up.
I’ve seen some responses that are blaming the parents. Certainly there’s some major blame there, whether it’s bad decisions or not being present. But we cannot support the culture of excess, parties, escape and consumption (of people and substances) the way many of us do; and innocently point a finger when an event like this happens. We cannot pretend to be surprised when all the bumper stickers, song lyrics, and cliche’s become the life choices of our younger generations. Even as the cops closed the party down, so many of these teens were sharing how glad they were to have been there. The elevation of “epic experiences” over making right decisions isn’t something confined to our youth.
Reading Titus chapter 2 gives us a great reminder to the ENTIRE community. Whether older men, older women, younger men, or younger women…one thing we all have in common is the need for “self-control”. To be “sober-minded”. To have control or “reign” over ones desires/passions. This was obviously big enough to write about several times throughout scripture, and one of the ways we know we’re bearing the “Fruit of the Spirit” is by the presence of self-control. This isn’t a new thing, and it isn’t something we’ll solve in a week. We must be making choices today about what we support, and see the connections between the life we’re living and the choices of the generations following in our footsteps.
How does your life reflect the call/challenge to practice self-control for the sake of those who are growing up in the world we’re shaping?