Cool vs. Christianity

7-5-2010

To celebrate the fact that in about a month (on Aug. 1), Hipster Christianity will finally be released, I thought I’d post something that, in a sense, summarizes one of the main points of the book. Over the course of my research and writing about “hipster Christianity,” some have questioned my assertions that “cool” doesn’t really go well with Christianity. Just as we are beginning to crawl out of our fundamentalist ghettos and gain legitimacy in the eyes of culture, why am I spoiling the party by saying we (Christians) shouldn’t be cool? Can’t Christianity be both hipster AND soundly biblical? Well, yes, in some rare cases (see Ch. 12: “Authentic Christian Cool”). But there are far more points at which cool and Christianity clash. In fact, there are very few attributes they share in common. No wonder “cool Christianity” frequently becomes so awkward and ugly! It’s like mixing oil and water.

Read the following list of juxtaposed attributes of “cool” and “Christianity,” and tell me if you think I’m wrong to suggest they are fundamentally contrary ways of being.

Cool: Self-obsessed
Christianity: Selfless

Cool: Vain/narcissistic
Christianity: Giving/altruistic

Cool: Self-sovereignty
Christianity: Submitting to God

Cool: Exclusive club
Christianity: Inclusive/open to all

Cool: Elitist/arrogant
Christianity: Humble

Cool: Alienating
Christianity: Inviting

Cool: Transient
Christianity: Transcendent

Cool: Focused on Now
Christianity: Eternal

Cool: Style is king
Christianity: Substance is king

Cool: Cutthroat
Christianity: Trustworthy

Cool: Ironic
Christianity: Earnest

Cool: Hedonism championed
Christianity: Asceticism/sacrifice championed