Saturday, December 11, 2010

Am I a Cool Christian?

Lately I have been trolling around other Christian blogs, and I am noticing a trend, the "edgy" or "hip" Christian bloggers are getting a large portion of the Internet, Christian blogging traffic. Cutting edge topics and arresting titles are the rule of the day. And this can be seen as a corresponding trend mimicking how the church is evolving, moving from the traditional to the more "today" or "hip." Instead of services, we have "gatherings." Instead of calling yourself a born-again Christian, you are a "Christ-follower."

Who doesn't want to be cool? Who doesn't want to be considered very "now?" I find myself a little envious of the cool kid Christians, with the high traffic blogs, who are considered "real" because they have controversial blog posts and are unafraid to use profanity. But rather than confirm to this, so I too can be considered cool, I feel a check in my spirit (I know that's an old-school Christianese phrase--see how outdated I am). I don't want to pepper my blog posts with d-bombs and f-bombs, and I don't want to start questioning all my long held beliefs just so I can be one of the hip Christians on the Internet.

I recently ran across this from the Wall Street Journal, the author talks about the perils of "wanna be" cool Christianity. The article addresses the very real problem of how the church is increasingly becoming more and more irrelevant in the Western society of 2010, how especially the young are leaving the church.

From the article:

"Recent statistics have shown an increasing exodus of young people from churches, especially after they leave home and live on their own. In a 2007 study, Lifeway Research determined that 70% of young Protestant adults between 18-22 stop attending church regularly."

The author goes on to detail how the church has reacted to this exodus:

"Efforts [were] made to rebrand Christianity as hip, countercultural, relevant. As a result, in the early 2000s, we got something called "the emerging church"—a sort of postmodern stab at an evangelical reform movement. Perhaps because it was too "let's rethink everything" radical, it fizzled quickly. But the impulse behind it—to rehabilitate Christianity's image and make it "cool"—remains."

And these attempts to be cool:

"There are various ways that churches attempt to be cool. For some, it means trying to seem more culturally savvy. The pastor quotes Stephen Colbert or references Lady Gaga during his sermon. For others, the emphasis is on looking cool, perhaps by giving the pastor a metrosexual makeover, with skinny jeans and an $80 haircut. Then there is the option of holding a worship service in a bar or nightclub. But one of the most popular—and arguably most unseemly—methods of making Christianity hip is to make it shocking. What better way to appeal to younger generations than to push the envelope and go where no fundamentalist has gone before?"

Here is what the author sees as the problem with all this coolness (and honestly I totally agree):

"But are these gimmicks really going to bring young people back to church? Is this what people really come to church for? Maybe sex sermons and indie-rock worship music do help in getting people in the door, and maybe even in winning new converts. But what sort of Christianity are they being converted to?"

His argument is that people want real Christianity, not a gimmick or something trendy.

"If we are interested in Christianity in any sort of serious way, it is not because it's easy or trendy or popular. It's because Jesus himself is appealing, and what he says rings true. It's because the world we inhabit is utterly phony, ephemeral, narcissistic, image-obsessed and sex-drenched—and we want an alternative. It's not because we want more of the same."

Christ offers something real, a true relationship with a loving God. He doesn't need the help of GQ magazine and Madison Avenue to reach the lost. In our efforts to evolve and modernize the Gospel, we must ensure that we are not diluting Christ's message of sin and redemption.

"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." Romans 12:2 NLT

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:19 PM

    Good blog Dave, I agree.

    Benny from Bel Air