Surprise indie hit film "Juno" provides an intriguing glimpse into the world of teen sexuality, unwanted pregnancies, and the complexity of human relationships. Filled with heart and wit, Juno pushes viewers to move beyond the 'pro-choice' and 'pro-life' buzz words, as it explores the messy consequences of teen sexual activity and the tough choices and heartbreak that can result.
The film opens with 16 year old Juno MacGuff confronting the little plus sign staring out at her from her third pregnancy test...she's trying determinedly to produce a different result through repeat testing. Life has taken an abrupt left turn, and she is suddenly facing some huge decisions. Laced with wit and authentic emotion, the movie follows Juno's journey into the world of an unwanted pregnancy, the reversal of her decision to have an abortion and her subsequent search for adoptive parents to give her baby to. Along the way we catch glimpses of how dramatically teen pregnancy changes everyone involved forever.
All the stats indicate that a sizeable segment of our culture has pushed aside God's blueprint for human sexuality - sex in the context of a life-long marriage commitment. (See 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and 6:18-19, Matthew 5:28 and Matthew 26:41.) The societal consequences are evident all around us - single parents, STDs, divorce, and yes, unwanted pregnancies.
There's a reason God has given us guidelines for sexual behavior in the Bible, and it's not that He's a killjoy. It's because sex outside of marriage has destructive consequences. It breaks His heart to see us willfully damage or destroy our lives and relationships. Our sexual sin, whether it's sexual intimacy outside of marriage, lustful thoughts, struggles with porn, or whatever, breaks His heart because all sinful behaviors distance us in our relationship to Him and eventually brings pain and hurt into our lives.
The movie Juno depicts some of these painful consequences. Yet rather than choosing abortion for a quick and private solution to her unwanted pregnancy, Juno steps up to follow her own convictions and do the braver, more difficult thing: give the baby life and seek out adoptive parents. She chooses to take the messy situation and do what she can to redeem it - to bring some good out of the troubles that have flooded into her life.
As Christians we know that 'redeeming the messes' is something our God specializes in, for it stands at the very center of the message of the cross. God stepped into human time and space on the cross and redeemed the mess we humans had made of our relationship with God through our sinful choices. And all of us have friends or acquaintances who need to hear that truth and experience God's redemption in the midst of the big or small messes of their life.
Because in the real world, real people are not following God's blueprint for sexuality, with the result that real consequences smash into lives. Case in point, the recent news that Jamie Lynn Spears, star of the TV series "Zoey 101," is 16, single and pregnant.
As we find opportunities to come alongside real people coping with the real consequences of ignoring God's blueprint for sexuality, rather than directing our attention to the poor choices that result in the difficulties and heartbreak, our focus should be on extending Jesus' message of grace and life. After all, Jesus modeled for us how to respond to those trapped in sexual sin with his interactions with the woman taken in adultery (John 8:1-11) and the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-42). In both situations, he extended truth, grace and forgiveness, rather than judgment and condemnation.
So look for opportunities to use the movie "Juno" as a springboard to conversation about God. This indie hit provides plenty of openings for talking about values and choices and relationships. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
What emotions does Juno's story stir up in you? Do you think she was brave to walk away from abortion and choose life for her baby?
What's the basis of your moral compass? How do you decide what's right and what's wrong? How did you arrive at your own personal convictions about sexual activity? Share how your relationship with Jesus impacts every dimension of your life.
Where do you think our sense of conscience comes from? Do you think conscience is a God-given attribute? Listen and share what you believe.
What do you think of Juno's stepmother's comment, "Someone's going to get a special blessing from Jesus in this garbage dump of a situation"? Explain how God is in the business of redeeming the messes in our lives by bringing good from difficulty. (Romans 8:28)
Juno's dad tells her, "Find a person who loves you for exactly who you are." Is it possible to find someone who will love you exactly as you are? Share how God has promised to be that Person, extending love and forgiveness to all who turn to Him. To learn more about God's unconditional love, check out the Soul Fuel article "Did Juno How Much God Loves You?"
Is it easy to follow God's blueprint for sexuality? No. Is it worth it? Yes. Can we do it in our own power? Not likely. God wants us to put Him at the very center of our lives - all dimensions of our lives. So cling to Him as your guide and strength in every dimension of life, and share that reality with your friends who don't know Jesus.
Jane Dratz works for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., a ministry committed to energizing and equipping teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries, please visit www.dare2share.org. Send feedback to email@example.com.