What the Church Can Learn from MTV


Late last night I watched MTV’s Juvies with my Mama. I should have been studying, but I was drawn into this new unscripted series on adolescents in trouble. Juvies began airing in January, and is part of MTV’s “Think” campaign which deals with issues of discrimination, education, the environment, and sexual health.

Last night’s show followed two teenage girls into the Juvie detention system. Both girls were caught stealing: one admitted that she steals compulsively, the other, named Kashmiere, was caught on her first offense. The documentary weaved in and out of the teenagers’ family lives, revealing the lack of relationship each girl has with her parents. Kashmiere was shown bitterly crying over the chasm in her relationship with her single mother.

Their stories made me very sad, and angry at the same time. I saw these girls acting out of their need for relationship, and finding themselves reprimanded by authority figures who offered them no other hope except, “Stay in School and Do Right.”

MTV’s Juvies paints an accurate picture of my generation. We are starved for relationship and we’ll do anything to find it. In Kashmiere’s case, she stole $380 to gain the approval of her friend.

MTV has a close eye on the needs of the emerging generation. They may be exploiting those needs, but still, it bothers me that MTV seems to be doing more to connect with this generation than we are, as the local expression of Jesus’ community. And this judgment falls on me, just as much as the other.

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