I appreciated some of the concepts presented by The Perils of ‘Wannabe Cool’ Christianity in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago. Here is a sample from the article:
“As a twentysomething, I can say with confidence that when it comes to church, we don’t want cool as much as we want real. 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.”
I resonate with the desire to experience a faith community that is real and not cool. It doesn’t even have to be cool, if it is real. A local church should strive to be real and authentic. Represent who the community actually is in any communications, remind people of who you want to become in every gathering of the people and always seek to become like Jesus.
7 replies on “Should a Local Church aspire to be “Real” and “Cool”?”
Whenever I read articles like this I’m reminded of Jesus’ temptations.
I think Henri Nouwen did a great job of translating the first temptation of stones to bread as the temptation to “be relevant”. I’m sure it’s not always the case but I think a lot of people get suckered into that one.
I know I’ve failed from time to time to resist it. Thanks for the reminder of the ‘real’ goal Andrew!
Ben – I had not heard of that particular interpretation of Jesus’ temptations. Will you say more about how it connects?
My memory is that it comes out of “In the name of Jesus”. Nouwen suggested that one of the challenges of Christian leadership going into the 21st century is the temptation to be “relevant”. Within his original context I recall him specifically talking about the desire to fulfill people’s physical needs as a way of feeling like we have impact.
– Okay – I went and dug the book out.
I think the temptation I was thinking seemed most relevant to the link was about the second “Temple Base-jumping” temptation. Nouwen calls it “the temptation to be spectacular”. We could probably rephrase that pretty easily to the temptation to be cool, known or celebrated.
His discipline for confronting this temptation is confession and forgiveness – as a way of keeping our feet on the ground. To put it another way (and steal from one of my favorite books) “They can build you a pedestal, but don’t you dare climb up on it”.
Wow, Andrew, I somehow missed that article. But I love the quote you shared. Thanks for sharing it. I’ll go read the rest now.
Rob – I am glad that you enjoyed it!
Amen to that!
‘do not be conformed to this world……’
Should a church become secularized? Hell no! pun intended
Sorry, I could’nt resist
I gave this article to Connie Stella to read. Haven’t heard a word back. I thought it was a very good article, and I’m a now sixty year old church lady.