by Dawn Kratzer
Recently I was made aware by a friend, of a new addition to the Netflix library It was a Mock-Documentary called ‘A girl like Her. A brief synopsis : It explores bulling in today’s world, from both points of view: the bulled and that of the bully. At first I wasn’t sure how the movie would be but by the end I was blown away and very much in tears.
The subject of ‘bullying’ has weighed heavily on my mind the last little while, and how it has changed in the last 30 ish years, since I had once been affected by it. Now it can, and has been successful argued that, ‘bully and the bullied dynamic has always and will always be around ’so what is the big issue – it’s just part of growing up a stage we all go through, and at the end of the day it is a stage we will grow out of. However, the reality is that even through there always has been bullies and there always will most be bullies in the future, the way bullying has changed and evolved I believe is the bigger issue at hand.
With the ever increasing easy accessibility to Texting, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram along with a whole host of other media platforms found with just a simple internet search, bullies have an easier way to reach out and attack then every before. 30 years ago bullies attacked at school, on the playground, in the class room or if the really tried in a mall or a public area. However 99.% of the time, once the bullied individual got to the safety of their home, they were safe for or least the night or the weekend. Sadly in today’s world, the safety of one’s home is no longer the case. The attacks continue, often leading to extreme ways out in order to make the pain stop.
This is where the movie begins, six months into the process. At the end, when all hope seemed lost. Jessica see’s no hope takes a handful of pills and end’s up in a comma. As the movie continues, we the audience are made aware of the bully, the ‘popular girl’ who takes her pain out on others. As much as we are shocked by the many scenes that seem to continually get more intense. These scenes are interjected with those from Amanda’s (the bullies) point of view. She herself is hurting and in pain. Her family dynamic is broken and it is clear to see that she to is stuck in a cycle she can’t get away from.
Near the end of the film, when Amanda is confronted with the fact that her actions may have in fact been the cause of the situation, and is shown proof, she no longer fights the fact that she is taking her pain out on others around her and actively seeks the help that is needed.
The movie as a whole is a huge eye opener. There is a one scene that really made me think. It is a committee meeting to address the issue of bullying. A parent stands up and say’s “We’ll never stop the bullying until we find some method to get to the bullyers. … Hurt people hurt people.” This is true. Both sides need to be addressed in order to make a dent in an epidemic that seems to be getting worse instead of ever getting better. Hope is always there even though everything might seem dark and tough with no way out, but there is always a way out. Always.
Dawn has never been one to fit into the mould. She is a fighter in both the figurative and literal sense. Growing up with cerebral palsy, she has had to both prove to herself and the world that she can, when it comes to just about anything in life. As well, she is a avid learner, writer and when she isn't making YouTube videos, you can find her in the jitsu jitsu gym. A true fighter, she hopes to bring this hope to others that life is worth fighting for.
I was taken aback from the amount of response coming in support of the Fort McMurray fires, here in Alberta Canada, and it becoming a global concern. It has been an amazing thing to see neighbours and people across our province jump to the aid of other people, but also to see people from all around the world both show support in word and action. It is one of those moments that boosts your faith in the human race. But, for all the support surrounding those who had to leave their homes with only the clothe on their backs, we have also seen the ugly rear its head as well. Be it people making it political and using this tragedy as a opportunity to criticize our differing levels of government, people acclaiming that this is a sign of God's wrath upon our province and nation or even those saying this is karmic with global warming and mother nature unleashing her wrath on a oil field city like Fort McMurray.
To be honest, those using this for their political agenda and those calling to for repentance due to God's wrath made me shake my head, but sadly this has become all to common. What took me aback was those using this tragedy as a time to celebrate it as they had a axe to grind for environmental reasons. As though this was some karmic incident, claiming that a forest fire was caused due to climate change and attacked a city that apparently is the main cause of this climate change. I am not going to get into the debate of climate change, the tar sands or even the ridiculous assumption circulating this whole conversation. But, what I found ironic was the same people who would be outraged for blaming God wrath's on a natural disaster had no issue to do the same when it came to climate change. It is the same spirit that claims both these outrageous ideas. Not only that, but even if, for argument sake, these fires were caused by climate change, to celebrate that 80,000 people had to evacuate their city, leaving everything behind, is not only cruel, but missing the point.
I think that it hits a underlying issue at hand. When tragedy hits our lives or we hear of tragedy in the lives of others, we can so easily wish to jump to the question of 'why?'. We can wish to explain the ins and outs of such a tragedy. Why did this happen? Who is to blame? How could it be avoided? Though wrestling with the 'why' isn't inherently wrong, but having our entire focus on it is rarely helpful. At some point we should be asking 'what now?'. Instead of looking for a finger to point, finding a explanation for the event or give a reason behind it all, we should be asking what should we do now? How can we help? Where can we bring hope and healing? The why is a sign of our psyche reacting to a broken world. When tragedy hits, it releases a reaction of shock because it isn't how things should be. When we hurt, it is because our soul feels the brokenness of the cosmos. But should we stay here?
In our own lives we see this as well. A loss of a loved one, we are hurt and used, a loss of a job, a family is torn apart. In these moments it is no wonder we go to the question 'why?'. And we should never feel as though we cannot ask this question. Again, it is a expression of us questioning what is imperfect when we know it isn't the way it should be. But, at some point, when we have exhausted the 'why?' we need to move towards 'what now?'. What is my next step? What is my life going to look like now? How will I grow and be shaped by this? How can I be about the change the world needs? The hope to the hopeless.
When we try and explain the 'why' of things like earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, divorce, hurt, loss, it can only fall short. Or worse we go as far as saying we know the answers and exclaim that those who have suffered somehow deserve what came to them. When people need hope most and a helping hand, we choose instead to kick them while they are down. It detracts from the real work and change that comes from 'what now?'. Our words and actions have power. The question is: do we want to be a people who build up or tear down? Encourage and heal or dismantle? The choice is ours. Our words and actions can bring hope and life or fear and death. What will you pick?
Drake De Long-Farmer
Drake is passionate about seeing people thrive and come alive--to BELONG, wrestle with what they BELIEVE and BECOME people FULL OF LOVE, FUELLED BY FAITH & ADDICTED TO HOPE. Drake is an engaging speaker, writer and an equipper of leaders. He is a life learner and loves being challenged to grow further. One of his favourite things to do is spend a good amount of time at a good café or coffee shop with a good book or engaging conversation. To be able to share in someone else's journey and experience their story is always a pleasure and an honour. He currently serves as the Editor-In-Chief of boldcupofcoffee.com & the Executive Pastor at Gateway Alliance Church.
Randal Rauser sat down with Andy Bannister to talk about his new book 'The Atheist Who Didn't Exist: Or The Dreadful Consequences of Bad Arguments'.
"In the last decade, atheism has leapt from obscurity to the front pages: producing best-selling books, making movies, and plastering adverts on the side of buses. There’s an energy and a confidence to contemporary atheism: many people now assume that a godless scepticism is the default position, indeed the only position for anybody wishing to appear educated, contemporary, and urbane. Atheism is hip, religion is boring. Yet when one pokes at popular atheism, many of the arguments used to prop it up quickly unravel. The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist is designed to expose some of the loose threads on the cardigan of atheism, tug a little, and see what happens. Blending humour with serious thought, Andy Bannister helps the reader question everything, assume nothing and, above all, recognize lazy scepticism and bad arguments. Be an atheist by all means: but do be a thought-through one.”
You can find this book here
To find more content from Andy Bannister and RZIM
To find more content from Randal Rauser
Want to send a shout out and thank you to Jon Tieh for all his hard work and help on this project. Check out his other work
Millennials, and everything surrounding the conversation, has been a topic that gets a lot of attention, whether by the marketing industry, churches, organizations, the work force, and the like. But everyone is trying to figure out how this 'generation' ticks and how they can reach them and even acquire them. Now, of course I am not saying an entire generation of people does not exist, but what I have found over the years reading books, blog articles, surveys, statistics, etc. is that most of the time we are missing the mark. We are asking the wrong questions-- as though we can lump together over three decades of people into one category and dissect them as one living organism.
This video by Adam Conover (aptly titled the same and spurred me on to finally write this article) is a perfect explanation of what I mean. He is speaking at the Deep Shift conference in front of a marketing convention explaining how the stereotypes being presented of Millennials are patronizing and ultimately inaccurate (as it would be to do so with any generation):
The reality is that people are much more complex than what decade they were born in. I was born in the early 1980's and would be classified a Millennial myself. Though my life experience growing up in the 80s and 90s looks quite different from those who were born in the 90s and now the new Millennia. For example, I lived before the digital revolution of computers, smartphones and social media. I am not a native to it and can remember life without these things being ingrained into our culture. For example, when I went off to college the first time, not many people had their own personal computer and no one had laptops. We would either go to the library to write on the school computers or maybe pitch in for one with your room-mate. Computer screens were the size of small tube tvs and portability wasn't really an option. This remained the status quo until I graduated in 2003. After returning only 4 years later, in 2007 things had drastically changed. Where you would have never seen a laptop in class, now it was rare to not see one. Now a days, the idea of anyone not owning some sort of compact, personal computing device is unheard of-- be it a laptop, chromebook, tablet or smartphone. On arriving back, I remember explaining that very thing to a class full of first year students and their minds were blown. I've even explained to a room full of teenagers not that long ago, that I remember a world without cellphones (let alone smartphones), laptops or the internet and they were honestly surprised-- like I was from the 50s! But I am still classified as a Millennial, along side those who would have a hard time imagining the world without.
But that is only one layer to this whole issue. Even if you were to narrow the field and, say, take a group all born in the same year, you'd still run into the real issue of falsely lumping them together, assuming as though everyone acts the same, thinks the same, has the same preferences, speaks the same or has the same experiences simply because they are the same age. Let's take this a step further. Even if we were to take 100 people who were all born in 1996, making them 20 today, who grew up in the same town, same school and similar living circumstances, you would still not have 100 carbon copies of each other. This is the major issue with generational studies and, in turn, articles that read: 'Why Millennials don't..' or "How to get Millennials to...'. It assumes that all Millennials will predictably act a certain way because they fit into a certain age range and demograph. As if we can paint an entire generation in a predictable way solely because we have labelled them something.
As one who works the majority of his time in the church world, I see these kind of articles all the time: '5 Things Millennials Wish The Church Would Be.' As though we can know for certain why any person chooses to be a part of or not part of a certain community simply because they belong to a generational demography. What is worse is that a lot of these articles focus entirely on preference--like worship style, communication style, etc. Even if the reasonings were deeper ones, I would be so bold to argue that we still couldn't be certain on knowing.
If you were to take those 100 Millennials I mentioned above, and asked them why they go to church or why they left or don't go, you would probably get a wide range of answers. Some studies and articles I have read say Millennials want liturgical, while others are flocking to places like Hillsong New York. Some will say that they need meaty theological preaching while others need something that is relevant and speaks to them. Bare bones versus interactive. Maybe they left their church because it wasn't welcoming enough or was too flashy or not flashy enough. Everyone thinks they know because they see a trend happening in some Millennials, but then you can see another trend in others. It makes me wonder, that when we dig deep down into this conversation, we find out that we simply don't know. Because people are much more complex then their generational demographic. Maybe it is because you can't lump an entire generation into a nice and neat stereotype. This doesn't just go for Millenials, but most any generation. Generational studies and engaging differing demographics can be helpful and there are definitely useful information and things we can learn, including better understanding the values that each generation hold. But my hope in this article is to make the case to not swing so far that we put all our eggs into one basket. Let us go into the information we study and read and know that it is probably one small part of the bigger picture.
Maybe the answer isn't on how to reach an entire generation, but simply to engage a generation by simply engaging people, as that... people. Complex, unique individuals who need not to be stereotyped or figured out, but who need real community, real hope, real mentorship and some place where they belong, have meaning and can make a difference, etc. Just like every other generation. What this looks like will differ from community to community, organization to organization and even generation to generation. But, let us be careful to not treat people solely through the lens of their generation.
Drake De Long-Farmer
I am a passionate Frenchman who loves to see people thrive and come alive--to BELONG, wrestle with what they BELIEVEand BECOME the masterpiece God has destined them to be. I am a life learner and love being challenged to grow further. One of my favourite things to do is spend a good amount of time at a good café or coffee shop with a good book or challenging conversation. To be able to share in someone else's journey and experience the story that journey tells is always a pleasure and an honour. I currently serve as the Editor-In-Chief of boldcupofcoffee.com and as the Executive Pastor at Gateway Alliance Church, building & leading our various teams, speaking in various capacities.
CONNECT WITH US
SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL
Privacy: We hate spam as much as you, so we will never share your e-mail address with anyone.
SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOGS RSS FEED
AND GET ARTICLE UPDATES