Just so you know, “too cool” is a song from Disney’s Camp Rock, where Meaghan Jette Martin’s character sings
Yeah I’m too cool
To know you
Don’t take it personal
Don’t get emotional
You know it’s the truth
I’m too cool for you
Too cool is also a tag team in professional wrestling.
And sadly, it’s also the mantra of the post-emergent church, where indie music and sermons about sex are the wrong answer to the question about declining interest by young people.
In The The Perils of “Wanna be cool” Christianity, an article in the Wall Street Journal, Brett McCracken says the young people pouring out of the church are the cause of this, a crisis that dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. 70% of young Protestant adults between 18-22 stop attending church regularly, he says.
Except it’s not true. Over at his blog, pastor Kevin DeYoung says the numbers to support such a claim are skewed, or at least misunderstood. The actual study says 70 percent of young adults 23-30 who attended church for at least a year in high school stopped attending church regularly for at least a year from age 18-22.
That’s not the same thing at all. (DeYoung also examines larger attendance trends very thoughtfully in his important book Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion .)
But McCracken, whose new book is Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide, still says stuff we should consider. References to Stephen Colbert and Lady Gaga, church sponsored screenings of R-rated films, and pastors with skinny jeans and $80 haircuts may not actually be what young people are looking for, he says. Such churches appeal to a narrow demographic, and it’s proponents are often smug and condescending, too cool for those who take the Scripture seriously.
If the evangelical Christian leadership thinks that “cool Christianity” is a sustainable path forward, they are severely mistaken. 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.
Good for him.
It’s certainly possible, and even probable, that many churches are too cool for their own good, and for the good of their people, regardless of age or demographic.
The gospel itself is offensive, crucifying our pride and pointing us beyond ourselves and our pretensions.
And the cross? Well, there is nothing phony, ephemeral, narcissistic, image-obsessed or sex-drenched about that.
- Trying to make Christianity cool (geneveith.com)
- “A Great Article On The Perils of “Wannabe Cool” Christianity” and related posts (puttingoutthefire.blogspot.com)