Reflect is a series of articles aimed at helping those working with Generation Z to discuss worldview ideas in culture—ideas specifically embedded in movies, music, television, YouTube, and occasionally, books.
Each Reflect article follows a loose framework of identification, evaluation, and explanation. Firstly, we identify a movie, YouTube video, song, or book from pop culture. Because Reflect is designed to be used with students who have already seen the film or listened to the song in question, we draw from a variety of resources. We usually look for resources that are especially “worldviewish” in their outlook. Sometimes this means looking at brand new cultural examples, other times we draw from something a little older. Most Reflect articles also contain a video clip to provide context for the discussion of the song or movie.
Secondly, we want to evaluate the ideas presented in the cultural resource. Reflect is not designed to tell you what to think about any given cultural issue. Rather, the goal is to get you thinking about, evaluating, and asking good questions about the ideas that are daily coming at you/your students from various cultural media. We tend to unintentionally absorb a lot from the things we watch and listen to, so it’s important that we step back and evaluate whether our thinking is really biblical. We must, as the Apostle Paul admonished, “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Furthermore, as Christians, we are called to love God with our minds (Matthew 22:37), and that means constantly taking inventory of the ideas that we allow to influence the way we live.
Given our aim of evaluating cultural ideas, no Reflect article should be seen as a specific endorsement or condemnation of any film, song, video, etc. Each reader must evaluate for themselves what content they feel is appropriate to watch or listen to. If you’re unsure about whether or not you feel comfortable watching a movie or show, it’s a good idea to check out the “Parents Guide” section on imdb.com.
Finally, after identifying the cultural idea and evaluating it, each Reflect article briefly explores how the Christian worldview points us to truth, and provides a biblical way of thinking about a cultural issue. As above, this section is intended to be exploratory and does not aim to speak the final word on any given issue. We want to leave the working out of faith to you, so that you can apply biblical truth in your specific context.
Because our focus is on cultural ideas embedded in movies, music, television, and YouTube, we do not usually discuss theological issues related to denominational differences among Christians or current political issues. These are important and need to be addressed, but they fall outside the scope of our focus at Reflect. Check out our free resource library at summit.org to find other resources on politics, apologetics, and theology. You can also find lots of good resources from websites like breakpoint.org, firstthings.com, thegospelcoalition.org, prolifetraining.com, and str.org.
To sum up, Reflect aims to identify worldview ideas in pop culture, assess those ideas (see what might be good in them, evaluate what might be harmful in them), and look at what the Christian worldview has to say in response.
How Do I Use Reflect?
Reflect can be used in a variety of contexts—highschool classroom, youth group, homeschool, family discussion, or personal enrichment. We encourage all of these!
If you are using Reflect in a classroom, the best way to do so is to read over the article yourself and then use it as a template from which to have a discussion with your class. Reflect articles can also be assigned to students as supplementary reading to the textbook. At the end of each Reflect article you’ll find several resources to help students to engage with the material.
This Article Corresponds To: Reflect originally got off the ground as a resource designed to complement Summit Ministries’ highschool curriculum series consisting of Understanding the Faith, Understanding the Times, and Understanding the Culture.
The Understanding the Times series is a challenging curriculum, filled with lots of new ideas and terminology for students to learn. When I first started teaching, I found that one of the best ways to engage students on these worldview concepts was to show them a clip from a movie or a song that demonstrated the worldview idea in question.
If you are teaching from this series in your school, Reflect can help you to communicate worldview ideas that are being discussed in the book. Each Reflect article includes a section called “This article Corresponds To:” In this section you will find listed books from the Understanding the Times curriculum series and sections from those books that relate to the article in question.
*Note: Sometimes, we like to write on ideas that aren’t found in the series, so this section won’t always be there.
Possible Discussion Questions: I have found that asking questions is one of the best ways to get students thinking about the ideas that are being presented by different worldviews. That’s why each Reflect article provides three or four questions to help you discuss the material with your students. These can be used to help students get the conversation going about cultural issues. You can also use these questions to get students back into the textbook discussion questions.
Recommended Resources: Because Reflect articles are intended to “get the conversation going,” they should never be seen as Summit’s final word on any particular issue. At Summit, we believe that “leaders are readers.” Therefore, it’s important to do your own research. That’s why each Reflect article contains a list of three to five recommended resources—books, videos, or articles that help you to further explore the issues in the article. This is a great way to expand your own learning and to learn from other perspectives. It should be noted that these resources are not always in line with Summit Ministries’ general outlook. We are simply trying to provide different perspectives so that you can get a well-rounded view of the subject in question.
However you use Reflect, we hope that this resource engages your thinking and helps you learn to live in light of biblical truth!
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