The Teenage Brain and Mass Shootings

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Written by Alan Vink

Categories: Gospel and Culture

Comments: 0


Good Morning and Welcome to this week’s Gospel and Culture update, by Alan Vink
The Teenage Brain and Mass Shootings
Tuesday 29th November 2022

The Teenage Brain

POV. Teenagers often get a bad rap. Mention the word teenager and you may also see some kind of gesture or hear a comment that suggests a challenge or maybe even a problem to be fixed. Though it is true that raising teens (especially boys) are a bit like a ‘white water rafting trip’ it does not need to be something scary or overwhelming. The good news is that over the last 20 years or so with the development of MRI scanning we now know a lot more about what is actually going on in that big black hole otherwise known as the brain. As it turns out an awful lot is going on and the sooner we as parents and those who work with teenagers understand that the better both teens and adults will get along.

Here is a really good article published by the BBC – Family Tree. It will take you a solid 15 minutes to read but could be the best thing you read this week. You may even like to send the link to all the parents in your church who are raising a teenager or two right now.

Mass Shootings

John Stonestreet serves as president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He’s a sought-after author and speaker on areas of faith and culture, theology, worldview, education and apologetics. John has written an excellent (short) article last week titled, “What we’re missing about mass shootings”.

Perhaps of no real surprise, John refers to a piece of research that studied every shooter since 1966 in America and that identified four things these shooters have in common: “early childhood trauma and exposure to violence at a young age”; seeking “validation” in extreme communities, often online; openly admiring the work of prior shooters; and nearly all are long-time loners with an identifiable “crisis point,” like getting fired or expelled from school. Oh, and by the way, they are all men.

He concludes with this challenging statement. “We certainly won’t fix this problem through government policies or mindless distractions. As you look across the scope of culture, it seems as if there’s only one option left: The Church, with its kingdom vision and distributed workforce, has the necessary resources to target young men with truth, forgiveness, accountability, meaning, and hope”.

POV. What an opportunity we as local churches and Christian organisations have to ‘intervene’ in the life of a kid perhaps many kids that are fast going off the rails. Youth ministry is a tough gig these days and ministry to youngsters growing up in violent environments is especially challenging. But that is exactly where Jesus would be.

One more thing. As I ponder on next year’s writing I am super keen to hear from any of you about a topic that you would be keen to explore that is broadly within the Gospel and Culture or Church and Society subject area. If you have an interest please ‘hit reply’ and drop me a note. Thank you!

Alan Vink is currently the Executive Director for LeadershipWorx. Prior to this role he has been the Executive Director of Willow Creek Association NZ (WillowNZ), a Baptist pastor (23 years), Bible College teacher, and church consultant.

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