Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


This weekend my 10 year-old son came in and asked me if he could have a song added to the ipod he got for Christmas.  I told him that depended on what it was.  He said, “Thrift shop: the clean version”.

I told him I’d never heard of the song and I’d need to look into it first, but the fact that it has a “clean version” isn’t making his chances good.   He said, “All my friends are listening to it.”

So I went in search of the lyrics and to give it a listen.  I went to itunes and noticed it was the number one single on their site.  Immediately I knew my head had been under some kinda music rock and that this was all over the place.

I then went to youtube and watched the video.  I won’t link to it, but you can hit it up if you want.

Then I found this video of teens reactions to it.  It’s a little long- 7 minutes- but it’s full of insight into student culture and the teens that I work with.  Truly, it’s a lesson in teenage cultural anthropology.  If you work with teens, it’s worth a listen and is essentially a “clean version” listen that bleeps stuff the song doesn’t.

I’d even argue it’s worth watching as a parent or small group leader with your teen(s) and discussing it.  It’s my plan for my weekly Wednesday morning one-on-one with my oldest son TJ this week.  I think it sparks some really good discussion.

If you want a Bible passage that relates… try discussing James 2:1-10 along side of it.

Interestingly enough, about 50% of the song is something I think I would champion. In an ironic way (since it is making millions) the song makes an attempt to fly in the face of our consumerism culture and mocks those who have to have the latest fashions.  One central theme is that it encourages frugality, re-sale shops, and the beauty of being unique.  If the song wasn’t said with such angst and laced with lazy profanity, it probably wouldn’t be the hit it is, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Whatever and however you do it, if you’re parenting and/or pastoring teens, I think it’s a responsibility we all share to help teens interact with and critique culture, not just consume it.  Failing to engage it on purpose won’t make it better, it will only leave them to consume it by osmosis instead.


  1. “Failing to engage it on purpose won’t make it better….” Like that quote. I will have teens soon. Great insight… and gotta admit, I kinda liked the song. Sounds like it’ll make a great convo with young people.

  2. thanks Gino. TJ and I watched this video today and had a great convo over breakfast on money, how we spend it, status, and honoring God in all we do. Legit way to spend the morning.

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