Is it possible to be a Christian and be cool?
The Weekend Australian Magazine featured an article on the relationship between Christianity and “cool” in Australia. Basically it’s about a variety of Gen Y peeps that don’t fit the Ned Flanders (or any other traditional understanding) template of a Christian. These guys and girls are cool and yet unashamed to be into Jesus.
It includes some interesting comments on the decline in mainline churches.
The highlight for me were the quotes from Mark Sayers on the danger of crafting a “cool” Jesus and the drift towards man-centred theology:
“When, in their quest to remain relevant to young people, churches begin to turn him [Jesus] into a cool Australian, latte-loving guy who hangs out with his surfboard and is cool with everything we do… kids will come [to church] because they are attracted to that. But then they discover they’re not going to be turned into a superstar and they read the Bible and they discover Jesus dies at the end.”
Along with a consumerist ideology in which ‘cool’ is the motivating force, Sayers says another dominant culture factor troubling the church is the triumph of the self-help movement, which preaches a message that life should be about self-fulfilment, not suffering.
“So the quest for salvation has been replaced by the quest for wellbeing. And the danger is Christianity will end up looking like the empire of Oprah, in which God is a sort of cosmic butler who delivers things for us… We need to return to a biblical world view that grapples with suffering, rather than avoids or denies it, and that recognises that man is not the focus. God is. And that God is not going to transform you into this buff entrepreneur with a beautiful wife. There is a much deeper reality than that.”
Go read the article and let me know what you think.
One of the things I love about Christianity is that you don’t have to be cool to follow Jesus. I love seeing awkward, uncool people (me?? you?? haha) that don’t fit in anywhere else, accepted and included into the people of God.
We’ve got to keep calling all people (cool or otherwise!) to make counter-cultural commitments in response to the gospel of Jesus – we don’t just fit Jesus around the cool stuff in our lives, but Jesus is to shape all of life!
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