Stuff Christian Culture Likes

Stuff Christian Culture Likes

#107 Overcompensating


Christian culture feels they are at a disadvantage when it comes to being cool. They want very much to be cool without being worldly, but it seems an impossible balance to strike.


As we’ve discussed here, Christian culture is stunted when it comes to knowing what is cool to people outside of their microcosm. This presents an obstacle when it comes to evangelism, and they vigorously set about making up the difference.


But in trying so hard to be cool they often don’t seem very genuine, which is sort of what being cool is. This creates quite a vicious cycle indeed.

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posted December 5, 2009 at 8:35 am

Not to metion that “cool” often has a anti-authoritian, rebellious vibe. Religious activities are usually not seen as anti-authoritain nor rebellious.
Plus, the point that if one tries too hard to be cool then it doesn’t work is absolutely true.
Churches should not worry about being cool or not. “Coolness” is often trying to conform one’s behavior to society’s standards instead of promoting what you stand for. Churches instead should be true to themselves and attract people via the authenticity of their beliefs and faith and not “coolness”.

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Still Breathing

posted December 5, 2009 at 10:33 am

Usually a church being cool means they are fund raising for a new boiler!

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Charles Cosimano

posted December 7, 2009 at 1:11 am

Well, if this old secularist reads the theology right, Christians can’t be cool even if they try to be. It has nothing to do with apeing adolescent culture. Cool is about cynical detachment, really not caring about much of anything because there is nothing to care about.
You see, being really cool means being able to look at the suffering of the world and being able to sneer at the sufferers. Christians really can’t do that.
Now, if various Christians think it is somehow a requirement to look and act like adolescents, then they should sit in on a board meeting of a Fortune 500 type company and learn how little the tastes and opinions of adolescents really matter, except as things to exploit.

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posted December 7, 2009 at 12:48 pm

And then of course the manic determination to rack up the cool points adds to an already existing overemphasis on appearance, which contributes further to the general perception of “church” as an emotionally unsafe place to be.
I think that Christian culture intends “cool” to mean “appealing.” But generally people would get a lot further with the mission and message of Christ (love, social justice and healing) if they worked more toward relating to people appropriately, insiders and outsiders alike, which is itself appealing.

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George, American

posted December 7, 2009 at 1:51 pm

I’m just curious as to where you find all of these ridiculous graphics.
I see a hypodermic needle and I don’t think of Jesus, I think of the horrible, horrible past.

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Thom Hunter

posted December 7, 2009 at 5:24 pm

I have seen so many people seek the church because they were so burned out on “cool” and wanted “warm.” The cool churches miss the point altogether with their slap-happy approach that makes you wonder where you were when you leave and hit the week ahead. Give me a church that believes in the unchanging Word of God and that reflects the lives of its members rather than a church that is trying to reflect the ever-changing culture in hopes of attracting members. Members who are attracted to that bright light will be like the June bugs flailing about on the sidewalk in the morning.
Substance beats cool every time.

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posted December 8, 2009 at 2:51 pm

It’s hard for a group to be cool if its essential membership premise is that everyone who joins is a pathetic screwup.
It’s made worse by a conformity in which everyone has to pretend to be winners on the outside- the other side of which is that members always have to publicly confess to being hopeless pathetic screwups whenever the group demands it. Which makes for this nauseating mix of superiority and inferiority behaviors, the bullying and triumphalism as well as the pretend martyrdom and the cracking up.

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Rollo Tomassi

posted December 8, 2009 at 2:54 pm

As a Christ-Follower (cooler than “christian” from what I understand), an advertising professional and a Floridian (more churches than fast food joints here), I can tell you that the push for coolness or relevancy is really little more than a fight for competitive dominance in a closed market. It’s the “economics of salvation” with each franchise fighting for the same limited resources – patrons & parishioners.
Of course there’s the effort to pull in fresh resources – new converts and renewed salvation – but by and large there are more churches than established resources so marketing is necessary. Add to this the mega-church phenomenon and the pool is even more diluted. If you’re a well-to-do affluent Christian, and your Christian kids want to go to the ‘hip’ church they and all their friends attend, well, odds are that will become your family church at some point by default.

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Adam G

posted December 8, 2009 at 11:01 pm

That syringe one has to be one of the creepiest pieces of advertising I’ve seen in a while.

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posted December 9, 2009 at 10:15 am

cd: Well put. It creates a real soap opera atmosphere that absolutely turns my stomach.

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posted February 25, 2010 at 8:09 pm

“I can tell you that the push for coolness or relevancy is really little more than a fight for competitive dominance in a closed market.”
“It’s hard for a group to be cool if its essential membership premise is that everyone who joins is a pathetic screwup.”
Great insights!

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