God of the uncool, friend of the socially challenged…

I noticed this on FB the other day (Thanks Ian Emery.)

…when the Gospel story is accompanied by a fog machine and light show, I always get this creeped-out feeling like someone’s trying to sell me something. It’s as though we’re all compensating for the fact that Christianity’s not good enough to stand on its own so we’re adding snacks.

But more importantly, I want to be part of an uncool church because I want to be part of a community that shares the reputation of Jesus. Like it or not, Jesus’ favorite people in the world were not cool. They were mostly sinners, misfits, outcasts, weirdos, poor people, sick people and crazy people.

I liked it because (and I know this might be a surprise to some of you) I am not cool.

I never have been cool, and never will be a trend setter. Thankfully, there comes a point in life when you do not care much about coolness any more. We sink into the stew of middle age and bob like dumplings. In case you needed evidence-

Now don’t get me wrong, I am sure Jesus loves cool people too, but I sometimes wonder if it might be easier for camels to pass through the eyes of needles than it might be for cool people to…. you get my point.

Emerging church became Missional church, and some folks wanted to stay out on the trendy edge, using words like ‘Hipster Christians‘ and ‘Christian pirates’ but it left me rather cold- and I think this is why-

We have one place for the uncool people—our ministries—and another place for the cool people—our church services. When we actually bump into one another, things can get “awkward,” so we try to avoid it.

The truth is we’re all guilty of thinking we’re too cool for the least of these. Our elitism shows up when we forbid others from contributing art and music because we deem it unworthy of glorifying God, or when we scoot our family an extra foot or two down the pew when the guy with Asperger’s sits down. Having helped start a church, I remember hoping our hip guests wouldn’t be turned off by our less-than-hip guests. For a second I forgot that in church, of all places, those distinctions should disappear.

The article is from an American church situation, but this seems rather familiar.

We are all guilty of seeking significance for ourselves, our ministry and our ‘art’. But it is good to be reminded that these are not the measures of fruitfulness used in the New Kingdom. Paul preferred to describe ‘Fruit of the Spirit’, which emphasise things like love, kindness, gentleness, peacefulness, self control.

No mention of coolness.

3 thoughts on “God of the uncool, friend of the socially challenged…

  1. Sorry Graham- you taste in music is far too hip. The only way to de-cool yourself is to go right this minute and buy some Graham Kendrick and a couple of Cliff Richard’s finest…

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