Twilight is for teenage girls what porn is to teenage boys: sick, twisted, evil, dangerous, deceptive, and popular.
This past weekend, millions flocked to movie theaters for the final installment of the teen vampire saga. Tragically, many were driven by their parents, including some cougar moms encouraging and joining their daughters’ obsession with handsome young males.
Our family car won’t be driving to the theater for Twilight—or over a cliff for that matter.
I want to give a special thanks to Mark Driscoll for this tough love approach article to raising kids in a Christ-less culture. Pastor Mark ranted on this garbage-tastic phenomenon before, and finds the whole genre profoundly troubling.
The popularity of supernatural soap operas has inspired some real-life demonic trends. Overreaction? Tell that to the kids biting, cutting, drinking blood—sometimes while having sex—and sinking deeper into the occult:
- NBC News: “Teenagers obsessed with the Twilight vampire saga, or those simply fascinated with fangs, reportedly have been biting each other—hard—and then licking or sucking the blood. ‘These are kids who think they are real vampires,’ said Dr. Orly Avitzur. [. . .] ‘Having that thick, warm copper-tasting blood in my mouth is the best thing I can think of!’ wrote a teenager identified as ‘GothicGirl10’ this year. ‘Sometimes my boyfriend lets me feed off him. I let him feed off me as well.’”
- ABC News: “Paola Hernandez, 15, said a boyfriend tried to pressure her to allow herself to be bitten. ‘He said, “I love you and that’s the way I want to show you,”’ she said. ‘I didn’t give in because it was kind of idiotic.’ She said some of her classmates, mimicking on-screen vampires, even cut their skin so they can taste one another’s blood. ‘That means you’re stuck with them, they have your blood inside of them and you have their blood and so you’re closer to each other,’ she said.”
- Sanguinarius is a popular website for “Real Vampires” that includes a special section for teens with “advice on the problems and issues teen vamps face: school, parents, coping with awakening, how to enter the vampiric community without looking like a fool, and more.” Other resources on the site include techniques for “safe bloodletting and feeding, dealing with bloodthirst, flavoring your donor’s blood, and cooking with blood.”
- Another support page for Real Vampires appeals to outsiders with “a few words for anyone who has ever been bullied, picked on, teased or harassed because you’re different. What you have suffered is wrong. It is wrong for anyone to hit you or harass you, or to make you hate yourself for being different, whether or not you consider yourself a vampire.”
- The Week: “Lyle Monroe Bensley, 19, was arrested in his boxer shorts after he allegedly broke into the Galveston, Texas, home of a randomly chosen single woman, growled and hissed at her, dragged her down the hall, and tried to bite her on her neck. . . . When the police arrested Bensley a short time later, he told them he was a 500-year-old vampire. ‘He was begging us to restrain him because he didn’t want to kill us,’ says Galveston officer Daniel Erickson. ‘He said he needed to feed.’”
- The UK’s Channel 4 produced a documentary about the growing vampire subculture. The chance to play vampire provides an opportunity to “be nasty and evil and let my darker side out for the evening,” says one subject. The film profiles a group of teenagers in Texas who consider themselves to be real vampires (and werewolves). One explains, “When I drink someone’s blood, I feel like I own them in a sense. Like they’re mine.”
Please pray for these kids. If you know them, speak with them lovingly, honestly, biblically, and quickly. Satan is real, clever, and a deceiver who “disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). He’s not going to come at us with a pitchfork and horns. More likely, he’ll attempt to lure people towards darkness with methods like “harmless” entertainment, possibly in the form of bad acting and melodrama.
As a father to a teenage girl, I find it devastating to simply read the most popular web pages that come up when searching for “teen vampire.” There, girls the same age of my 15-year-old daughter are talking about “awakening,” which is their word for converting to paganism (like the Christian word “born again”). In a perverted twist on Communion, their sacraments include the giving of your own blood by becoming a “donor.” This is entirely pagan. These storylines offer eternality without God and salvation; in the place of Jesus’ shed blood, girls and boys shed their own blood to be awakened to their own salvation of a new spiritual way of life filled with sex and occult behavior.
I do not shelter my children from these sorts of things. Pop culture is too pervasive to hide from (on a recent trip to a Barnes & Noble with my daughter we noticed an entire section of books dedicated to “Teenage Vampire Romance”). My wife and I talk to my daughter about these things so that she can be discerning, informed, and safe.
However, we do not treat things like movies, books, and TV shows as harmless entertainment, but rather a potential threat to her well-being to be aware of so she can walk in wisdom by God’s grace. I rejoice that our oldest daughter (and all of our five children) loves Jesus, see right through this demonic deception, and speak freely with us about these sorts of things. I want that for all children and families.
As a pastor and a father, I am particularly concerned for Christian parents who are naively allowing this filth into their children’s lives, buying these books and driving kids to see these movies. To such parents, “It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:9–11, emphasis added).
I want to give a special thanks to Mark Driscoll for this tough love approach article to raising kids in a Christ-less culture.
The world can be a cruel place for children. From their earliest years, children pick up messages about their value from their environment. The younger they are the more they rely upon their parents for those clues as to their worth. Charles Cooley gave us the concept of the ‘looking glass self.’ He said that children come to resemble the image that the most important people in their lives have of them. They trust the perceptions of their parents and care-givers. So their behaviour and attitudes will often reflect those perceptions.
If you are a parent, your words to your children and about your children carry great power. Of course, we send out powerful non-verbal signals, too. Through our words and actions, we consciously or unconsciously impress a picture into our children’s minds, an image of who they are and what they have to offer that the big, wide world. When you consider the incredible influence we have in the development of our kids, it should make us rely on God even more.
Matthew 19:14 ‘Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”‘ (NIV)
In His strength, with His wisdom, we can avoid the poison of negative, short-sighted or self-serving words and actions. He can help us to control our actions, especially when we’re under pressure. Above all, when we commit our children to God in daily prayer, we receive his special covering for their minds and hearts. The world can be a cruel place for children, but our God is bigger than this world. He loves children and will protect the little ones entrusted to his care.
Prayer: (for parents) ‘Father in heaven, help me to say positive things to my children today. And to act in the way that shows them how valuable they are to you.’
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Today scientists talk about the so-called Butterfly Effect. The theory goes that the wings of a butterfly beating in one part of the world can actually lead to changes in conditions many hundreds of miles away, even on the other side of the world. Everything in nature is, in some way, connected; every cause has an effect. In the same way, individual choices made by individual people – even insignificant people – can change situations and events, sometimes on a huge scale, and sometimes many miles away or many years into the future.
In John 12:3 we read about someones “butterfly effect”… ‘Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.’ (NIV)
There is no way that Mary, a forgiven sinner, could possibly have foreseen the impact her one simple act of devotion would have on people around her let alone the whole world over. How could she have known, when she walked into that room filled with hostile faces, that her simple but brave act of anointing the feet of Jesus would warmly touch the hearts of shame-filled people of every nation and race? Or that Jesus’ response to her would inspire untold millions to reach out for divine forgiveness, whatever their sin. If your heart is pure toward God, and you do what you do out of devotion to him, you may be surprised how big an impact it will have.
Prayer: ‘Lord Jesus, I love you. Please help me to set in motion good things, simply because I act out of humble devotion to you, with a heart of worship and love.’