Episode 1. Why Can't I Get Straight Answers?
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There are many new and different issues confronting young adults as they start to make their way in the world these days. And according to a recent survey, one of the things they find really …
There are many new and different issues confronting young adults as they start to make their way in the world these days. And according to a recent survey, one of the things they find really difficult, is that they don’t seem to able to get straight answers from the rest of us.
I have to tell you we are in for a couple of exciting weeks on the program starting today because I have two very special guests in the studio with me who are going to be chatting with us specifically about the questions that young women, in their late teens early to mid twenties, are asking of Christianity and indeed of God.
And the reason they know so much about it is because they’ve actually surveyed young women to find out what’s on the mind of this up and coming generation. But before we meet our guests let me share some statistics with you, statistics that you might find, well maybe a bit confronting to say the least.
Of the 3.4 billion women in the world today 1.7 billion, or fully half of them are under the age of twenty five. 63 million suffer from eating disorders, over 425 million suffer from depression, 938 million, that’s almost 1 billion women have been beaten, raped or sexually assaulted, 22 million will have an abortion this year and over 300 thousand will commit suicide.
Choe Brereton and Janelle Knox welcome to the program. And before we introduce your particular interest in young women, Janelle come on, you’re a mum with a young daughter I believe.
Janelle: yes hello.
Berni: How do those stats make you feel about her future in this world?
Janelle: Look it’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to, she’s growing up in a generation that’s completely different to when I was growing up. I think those statistics are overwhelming when you look at them but as a mum of a young girl, she’s only three turning four although she would think she’s going on thirty, you know I look at her and I think she’s got a lot to face.
We need to really instil some sure things into her life so she knows that she’s loved, that she’s got a purpose, she’s got value, that she’s got a compass to come back to, a moral compass of some kind to come back to so that she can discover who she is and you know, we’re all about discovering who we are in Christ.
And so I really want to point her in that direction and really instil in her those qualities that Christ has given her and to really build on her as a person. That she’s not just my offspring she’s her own person and to try and bring her into that place of understanding completely who she is so that she can go into the world and not be afraid to be who she is.
Berni: That’s cool. Now you both have a heart for young women to the extent you’ve kicked off a magazine specifically to address that. Choe tell us about that, what’s it called, what’s it about and what’s the aim of your magazine?
Choe: Hi Berni, thanks for inviting us. The magazine is called Micimagazine and M I C I stands for “Made in Christ’s Image” and the magazine is really to try and help young women find their identity in Christ. You know we, it came about because both Janelle and I have such a passion to see young women grow up into who God has made them to be and find that out, to discover that as well and of course it’s a wonderful, fantastic journey.
But on the way through that there’s a lot of issues that they have to face and you know being young women ourselves we’ve grown up and we know there’s a lot out there, but hopefully this magazine will give young women a real, a great point to come to and a great point of reflection as well, a great point to find advice as well as answers as well to a lot of the questions that they have about life.
Berni: You’ve gone out and you’ve asked young women what are the questions on their lives, just quickly what are some of the issues?
Janelle: Peer pressure is one of the big ones. Peer pressure is huge, body image, self esteem, sex and sexual issues. It comes back to that core thing that we were talking about, it’s not really knowing who they are in the culture of today and where they can find their place, where do I fit, body image I would have to say would be, peer pressure and body image at the top of that list.
Choe: I think that a lot of young women are also worried about all that stuff in between like their finances, who they’re going to grow up to be, whether they can make a mark on their world and how to deal with friends who approach them with stuff they’re not quite sure how to handle themselves. It’s very interesting the gamut of information that has come through.
Janelle: And then where does God fit? And how do I get to hear from Him? Where do I get direction from Him? And so they’re kind of trying to juggle all of these balls in the air and go, “Okay so I’ve got this issue and where’s God? I don’t feel Him, I can’t hear from Him, I’m not getting straight answers like we’re talking about today, I’m not getting straight answers from people.” So they then walk away sometimes frustrated and shaking their head and shaking their fists at God going, “Well come on God, I asked you the question, where can we go from here?” And I just do feel that that’s part of their frustration as well.
Berni: Other than that their lives are pretty straight forward (All laugh). So straight answers, are they getting straight answers from the Church?
Janelle: No, I don’t believe so.
Janelle: I don’t believe they are and I think one of the reasons for that is, I personally feel like sometimes the Church gets stuck in this perspective of having to have it all together. Having to be the ones, we’re the ones called to shine our light, we’re the ones that are supposed to be a change in the community and so we have to be perceived to have it all together, have no sin in our lives, have all the answers, have it all right, all the boxes checked.
And so I just don’t feel like girls are then feeling they can ask the tough questions and I also feel like maybe the Church is afraid of causing offence for being a little bit black and white on some issues so they take the grey area rather than taking the high road.
Berni: Where are they going Choe for answers? Who are they asking?
Choe: Well, a lot of them are asking their friends, what to do about very, very hard topics. They’re looking to magazines for what they should do, looking to the media for where they should go, they’re looking to everything other than possibly the way they should be looking but of course they can’t find the answers.
Berni: And that’s a pretty confused market place out there.
Choe: Absolutely, very confused at the moment, everything goes and everything’s fine and there’s seasons for everything and you’re right one day and wrong the next. I mean what do you do when everything’s kind of up and down and so transient? It’s very, very hard.
Berni: And then you read something, John chapter 16, verse 13;
However when he the spirit of truth has come he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority but whatever he hears he will speak and he will tell you things to come.
There’s this kind of promise from God that there’s a truth out there and yet I wonder whether sometimes the Church isn’t answering questions that people aren’t asking.
Janelle: That’s a really good point. I think there’s so much that goes on in our heart of hearts that we don’t always get to express in a Church environment and so they do go unanswered, those questions kind of do just fall by the wayside.
And I think to there’s, okay we’re looking at the Church but there’s also we have to remember that spiritual enemy that’s out there that wants to bring confusion, wants to bring condemnation, wants to bring all of those other elements into it as well. And so I think, particularly young girls are finding it hard to have their voice heard or to even feel confident enough to ask the questions.
Berni: Are parents stumping up with answers?
Choe: I think a lot of parents are trying really hard to do the best for their children but I sometimes feel as if parents are also scared to tell the truth. Our parents, our generation were, to talk to your child quite candidly about things that perhaps they shouldn’t know about. I can imagine for a parent it’s a bit of a hard area for them to even enter into so I think parents are trying their best but I think sometimes they’re falling short of the mark which is not their fault, this is not a condemnation thing at all, I just think it’s hard to talk to their children.
Berni: It is hard, I’m a parent, I have a 20 year old daughter going on 21 and we’re going to talk about, in fact we’re going to talk about a lot of these issue this week and next week on the program and go into each one in a whole bunch more detail but I have this sense that the world is so different from when I was growing up, someone shifted the goal posts and I’m still expected to kick a goal but I don’t know where the goal posts are and it’s not an easy thing. So we’re going to talk over the next couple of weeks about all of these issues, I’m really glad you can join us.
Now the magazine is an e-mag right, so it’s online?
Berni: micimagazine.com. Subscription is free. So if you happen to be a young woman or you have a young woman in your life and you want to get hold of some of these issues micimagazine.com. We’ll talk again tomorrow.
Janelle/Choe: Thanks Berni.