Wannabe-cool Christianity

Theres been some new talk about hipster culture and faith lately, especially interesting for those of us working with emerging adults (the hipster church target audience).

Author Brett McCracken has published recent articles in the Wall-Street Journal, entitled The Perils of Wannabe-Cool Christianity (shared with us by youth pastor Steven Johnson) and in the latest issue of Christianity Today, a hilarious but telling look at Hipster Faith.

McCracken notes, Christian hipsters alarm some church leaders and mystify others. But for many observers, hipster Christianity is an exciting development. It reassures them that not all young people are abandoning the church. They are just rehabilitating its image, making it their own. I havent read his new book Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide but the CT article summarizes some of its insights well.

I especially appreciate the history of cool faith section of the CT article. I was quickly indoctrinated as a young believer into the subculture of Christian cool in the early 90s. I cant tell you how many CCM cassette tapes I own (or used to ownI dont think many live on in storage). Notably, the youth ministry movement has been both instigator and perpetrator of the cool faith movement since the 1960s. McCracken ends with some good questions for us to dialogue about, especially if we serve in churches that feel the urge to get cooler in the near future:

Wannabe-hip churches are springing up everywhere these days, but what will it mean for the larger church? Will this sort of Christianity bring back the youth, or will it further alienate a younger generation fed up with being a target market?

What do you think? We might also add to the list, “Should cool be our goal?” and “What’s the line between cultural relevance and trying too hard?”

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