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Cool Christianity

nathansgirl1908

Well-Known Member
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111704575355311122648100.html#mod=djempersonal



y BRETT MCCRACKEN

'How can we stop the oil gusher?" may have been the question of the summer for most Americans. Yet for many evangelical pastors and leaders, the leaking well is nothing compared to the threat posed by an ongoing gusher of a different sort: Young people pouring out of their churches, never to return.

As a 27-year-old evangelical myself, I understand the concern. My peers, many of whom grew up in the church, are losing interest in the Christian establishment.

Recent statistics have shown an increasing exodus of young people from churches, especially after they leave home and live on their own. In a 2007 study, Lifeway Research determined that 70% of young Protestant adults between 18-22 stop attending church regularly.

Statistics like these have created something of a mania in recent years, as baby-boomer evangelical leaders frantically assess what they have done wrong (why didn't megachurches work to attract youth in the long term?) and scramble to figure out a plan to keep young members engaged in the life of the church.

Increasingly, the "plan" has taken the form of a total image overhaul, where efforts are made to rebrand Christianity as hip, countercultural, relevant. As a result, in the early 2000s, we got something called "the emerging church"—a sort of postmodern stab at an evangelical reform movement. Perhaps because it was too "let's rethink everything" radical, it fizzled quickly. But the impulse behind it—to rehabilitate Christianity's image and make it "cool"—remains.

There are various ways that churches attempt to be cool. For some, it means trying to seem more culturally savvy. The pastor quotes Stephen Colbert or references Lady Gaga during his sermon, or a church sponsors a screening of the R-rated "No Country For Old Men." For others, the emphasis is on looking cool, perhaps by giving the pastor a metrosexual makeover, with skinny jeans and an $80 haircut, or by insisting on trendy eco-friendly paper and helvetica-only fonts on all printed materials. Then there is the option of holding a worship service in a bar or nightclub (as is the case for L.A.'s Mosaic church, whose downtown location meets at a nightspot called Club Mayan).

"Wannabe cool" Christianity also manifests itself as an obsession with being on the technological cutting edge. Churches like Central Christian in Las Vegas and Liquid Church in New Brunswick, N.J., for example, have online church services where people can have a worship experience at an "iCampus." Many other churches now encourage texting, Twitter and iPhone interaction with the pastor during their services.

But one of the most popular—and arguably most unseemly—methods of making Christianity hip is to make it shocking. What better way to appeal to younger generations than to push the envelope and go where no fundamentalist has gone before?

Sex is a popular shock tactic. Evangelical-authored books like "Sex God" (by Rob Bell) and "Real Sex" (by Lauren Winner) are par for the course these days. At the same time, many churches are finding creative ways to use sex-themed marketing gimmicks to lure people into church.

Oak Leaf Church in Cartersville, Georgia, created a website called yourgreatsexlife.com to pique the interest of young seekers. Flamingo Road Church in Florida created an online, anonymous confessional (IveScrewedUp.com), and had a web series called MyNakedPastor.com, which featured a 24/7 webcam showing five weeks in the life of the pastor, Troy Gramling. Then there is Mark Driscoll at Seattle's Mars Hill Church—who posts Q&A videos online, from services where he answers questions from people in church, on topics such as "Biblical Oral Sex" and "Pleasuring Your Spouse."

But are these gimmicks really going to bring young people back to church? Is this what people really come to church for? Maybe sex sermons and indie- rock worship music do help in getting people in the door, and maybe even in winning new converts. But what sort of Christianity are they being converted to?

In his book, "The Courage to Be Protestant," David Wells writes:"The born-again, marketing church has calculated that unless it makes deep, serious cultural adaptations, it will go out of business, especially with the younger generations. What it has not considered carefully enough is that it may well be putting itself out of business with God.

"And the further irony," he adds, "is that the younger generations who are less impressed by whiz-bang technology, who often see through what is slick and glitzy, and who have been on the receiving end of enough marketing to nauseate them, are as likely to walk away from these oh-so-relevant churches as to walk into them."

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.

Mr. McCracken's book, "Hipster Christianity: Where Church and Cool Collide" (Baker Books) was published this month.
 

luthiengirlie

Well-Known Member
May I state that its not the flashes that draw people in that makes em stay.

It is the steadiness of a fruit producing church that is intense about God and makes no apologies for it.

It is lives DRASTICALLY. And STEADILY changing and taking upon the character of Christ.

It is remaining HUMAN and admitting that its leaders can/do make mistakes and transparent and asking for forgiveness.

It is an authencity about itself.

THAT is what will make the youths stay!
 

phynestone

Well-Known Member
Those years are a time of experimentation for a lot of people, myself included. I questioned many things I was taught, but eventually "came home." I think the problem is Christian leadership tolerating and justifying certain things that are not Godly, sweeping them under the rug and condemning others for engaging in evil acts while being perpetrators themselves. How can we hold anyone to a standard that we don't reach ourselves?

I understand some preachers have their own style and way of reaching the flock, but I sometimes question their methods as well.
 

nathansgirl1908

Well-Known Member
Those years are a time of experimentation for a lot of people, myself included. I questioned many things I was taught, but eventually "came home." I think the problem is Christian leadership tolerating and justifying certain things that are not Godly, sweeping them under the rug and condemning others for engaging in evil acts while being perpetrators themselves. How can we hold anyone to a standard that we don't reach ourselves?

I understand some preachers have their own style and way of reaching the flock, but I sometimes question their methods as well.

I think this has more to do with your last statement. They are trying to make Jesus cool by thinking that they need to use things that young people like. But in the end, the excess isn't necessary.
 

SND411

A True Soldier Never Dies
So the person of Jesus, who fought and gave His very life for the downtrodden, isn't enough?

This is stupid.
 

Prudent1

Well-Known Member
Cool Christianity is the true art of keeping it REAL. That's it. No gimmicks (although I love to be in the sanctuary with my mocha and laptop, kindle, etc while the message goes forth:giggle:)are needed. Why? TRUTH is able to stand on it's own. We all know many (self included) who have fallen short. The difference is ppl are tired of being deliberately mislead and vote with their feet. On the flip side, when ppl find a church home where Truth is being told and the facade of the perfect Christian is gone and replaced by the I'm really pressing on and transparent Christian, there is no mass exodus. I understand their concern and frustration. Some of those ppl who leave will suffer all kinds of needless pains. Some will perish prematurely and eternally. Who would wish that on anyone? If we each start with ourselves and change from the outside in there will be no concern for the exodus.
John 12:32
32But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."
 
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luthiengirlie

Well-Known Member
So the person of Jesus, who fought and gave His very life for the downtrodden, isn't enough?

This is stupid.

-bingo. It IS stupid! YAHBOOO $500 TO YOU! That's EXACTLY what these youths think. Its ob vious that some are trying too hard. They don't see authencity. So "its stupid" n teens aren't stupid
 

Poohbear

Fearfully Wonderfully Made
In his book, "The Courage to Be Protestant," David Wells writes: "The born-again, marketing church has calculated that unless it makes deep, serious cultural adaptations, it will go out of business, especially with the younger generations. What it has not considered carefully enough is that it may well be putting itself out of business with God.

"And the further irony," he adds, "is that the younger generations who are less impressed by whiz-bang technology, who often see through what is slick and glitzy, and who have been on the receiving end of enough marketing to nauseate them, are as likely to walk away from these oh-so-relevant churches as to walk into them."

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.
I agree with this section I quoted from the article.
 

PinkPebbles

Well-Known Member
Nathansgirl - thank you so much for posting this article.

This 'cool christianity' has been heavy on my heart. I see it with my own eyes how the church is bringing in secular music/beats and then try to outdo the streets. Their methods are sad and shameful.

Whenever a church feels as though they have to strategize, plot, and plan how to bring in a particular group of people they focus too much on pleasing people instead of pleasing God. Eventually the leadership will stray from the principles of God and then they will wonder why the devil is busy.:rolleyes:

As Prudent quoted - when God is lifted up all men are drawn unto Him. This is the bottom line and sadly most churches that I experienced in Atlanta have forgotten about this scripture. :sad:



http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111704575355311122648100.html#mod=djempersonal



y BRETT MCCRACKEN

'How can we stop the oil gusher?" may have been the question of the summer for most Americans. Yet for many evangelical pastors and leaders, the leaking well is nothing compared to the threat posed by an ongoing gusher of a different sort: Young people pouring out of their churches, never to return.

As a 27-year-old evangelical myself, I understand the concern. My peers, many of whom grew up in the church, are losing interest in the Christian establishment.

Recent statistics have shown an increasing exodus of young people from churches, especially after they leave home and live on their own. In a 2007 study, Lifeway Research determined that 70% of young Protestant adults between 18-22 stop attending church regularly.

Statistics like these have created something of a mania in recent years, as baby-boomer evangelical leaders frantically assess what they have done wrong (why didn't megachurches work to attract youth in the long term?) and scramble to figure out a plan to keep young members engaged in the life of the church.

Increasingly, the "plan" has taken the form of a total image overhaul, where efforts are made to rebrand Christianity as hip, countercultural, relevant. As a result, in the early 2000s, we got something called "the emerging church"—a sort of postmodern stab at an evangelical reform movement. Perhaps because it was too "let's rethink everything" radical, it fizzled quickly. But the impulse behind it—to rehabilitate Christianity's image and make it "cool"—remains.

There are various ways that churches attempt to be cool. For some, it means trying to seem more culturally savvy. The pastor quotes Stephen Colbert or references Lady Gaga during his sermon, or a church sponsors a screening of the R-rated "No Country For Old Men." For others, the emphasis is on looking cool, perhaps by giving the pastor a metrosexual makeover, with skinny jeans and an $80 haircut, or by insisting on trendy eco-friendly paper and helvetica-only fonts on all printed materials. Then there is the option of holding a worship service in a bar or nightclub (as is the case for L.A.'s Mosaic church, whose downtown location meets at a nightspot called Club Mayan).

"Wannabe cool" Christianity also manifests itself as an obsession with being on the technological cutting edge. Churches like Central Christian in Las Vegas and Liquid Church in New Brunswick, N.J., for example, have online church services where people can have a worship experience at an "iCampus." Many other churches now encourage texting, Twitter and iPhone interaction with the pastor during their services.

But one of the most popular—and arguably most unseemly—methods of making Christianity hip is to make it shocking. What better way to appeal to younger generations than to push the envelope and go where no fundamentalist has gone before?

Sex is a popular shock tactic. Evangelical-authored books like "Sex God" (by Rob Bell) and "Real Sex" (by Lauren Winner) are par for the course these days. At the same time, many churches are finding creative ways to use sex-themed marketing gimmicks to lure people into church.

Oak Leaf Church in Cartersville, Georgia, created a website called yourgreatsexlife.com to pique the interest of young seekers. Flamingo Road Church in Florida created an online, anonymous confessional (IveScrewedUp.com), and had a web series called MyNakedPastor.com, which featured a 24/7 webcam showing five weeks in the life of the pastor, Troy Gramling. Then there is Mark Driscoll at Seattle's Mars Hill Church—who posts Q&A videos online, from services where he answers questions from people in church, on topics such as "Biblical Oral Sex" and "Pleasuring Your Spouse."

But are these gimmicks really going to bring young people back to church? Is this what people really come to church for? Maybe sex sermons and indie- rock worship music do help in getting people in the door, and maybe even in winning new converts. But what sort of Christianity are they being converted to?

In his book, "The Courage to Be Protestant," David Wells writes:"The born-again, marketing church has calculated that unless it makes deep, serious cultural adaptations, it will go out of business, especially with the younger generations. What it has not considered carefully enough is that it may well be putting itself out of business with God.

"And the further irony," he adds, "is that the younger generations who are less impressed by whiz-bang technology, who often see through what is slick and glitzy, and who have been on the receiving end of enough marketing to nauseate them, are as likely to walk away from these oh-so-relevant churches as to walk into them."

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.

Mr. McCracken's book, "Hipster Christianity: Where Church and Cool Collide" (Baker Books) was published this month.
 
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LovingLady

Well-Known Member
I am speechless. The word of God doesn't have an expiration date. In order for the church to become more relevant they are going to have to follow the sinful nature of the world. People want to the truth not one big party.

Oak Leaf Church in Cartersville, Georgia, created a website called yourgreatsexlife.com to pique the interest of young seekers. Flamingo Road Church in Florida created an online, anonymous confessional (IveScrewedUp.com), and had a web series called MyNakedPastor.com, which featured a 24/7 webcam showing five weeks in the life of the pastor, Troy Gramling. Then there is Mark Driscoll at Seattle's Mars Hill Church—who posts Q&A videos online, from services where he answers questions from people in church, on topics such as "Biblical Oral Sex" and "Pleasuring Your Spouse."

To be honest I think these class are fine if your married. In order to be involved in classes like these you should be required to show your marriage license upon registration.

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.

Thank you.


Nathansgirl - thank you so much for posting this article.

This 'cool christianity' has been heavy on my heart. I see it with my own eyes how the church is bringing in secular music/beats and then try to outdo the streets. Their methods are sad and shameful.

Whenever a church feels as though they have to strategize, plot, and plan how to bring in a particular group of people they focus too much on pleasing people instead of pleasing God. Eventually the leadership will stray from the principles of God and then they will wonder why the devil is busy.
:rolleyes:

As Prudent quoted - when the word of God is lifted up all men are drawn unto Him. This is the bottom line and sadly most churches that I experienced in Atlanta have forgotten about this scripture. :sad:

It is interesting that you mentioned this. Freecurl posted about this pastor and in one of the videos he talks about holy hip hop. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/user/actsministries777#p/u/6/zRsJlXyBv_c. It is a great video and it goes along with the article.
 

SND411

A True Soldier Never Dies
Another thing, doesn't Scripture say most "believers" will fall away anyway?

Only few choose the narrow path?
 

luthiengirlie

Well-Known Member
Another thing, doesn't Scripture say most "believers" will fall away anyway?

Only few choose the narrow path?

Oh they'll fall away... many like thier ears tickled..not producing fruit. there are some that realizes that the Church has been preaching deception about some doctrine.
ie revelation... that'll cause people to fall away

some people are ito Christianity for what they can GET not waht THEY CAN do for YHWH.
 

Laela

Sidestepping the "lynch mob"
Well said.... I'm glad you touched on transparency.... that was on my heart this morning and this is confirmation that I need to say this:

People online just love to decide who is "transparent" and who is not based on what someone chooses to (or not to) share. Transparency is above and beyond that. It isn't about telling all who will hear all my problems and business. We are instructed by God's Word to be more wise than that.
Transparency is about being true and honest with myself and being wise enough to discern whom to share my problems with. Transparency has a purpose: growth and development. It's not to benefit people's selfish desires to be nosy - because not everyone who is willing to hear has the desire to care nor the ability to help!


I'm sure this is also in churches...which is why a personal relationship with God is so important. I'm inclined to believe that every church has goats and sheep.


Cool Christianity is the true art of keeping it REAL. That's it. No gimmicks (although I love to be in the sanctuary with my mocha and laptop, kindle, etc while the message goes forth:giggle:)are needed. Why? TRUTH is able to stand on it's own. We all know many (self included) who have fallen short. The difference is ppl are tired of being deliberately mislead and vote with their feet. On the flip side, when ppl find a church home where Truth is being told and the facade of the perfect Christian is gone and replaced by the I'm really pressing on and transparent Christian, there is no mass exodus. I understand their concern and frustration. Some of those ppl who leave will suffer all kinds of needless pains. Some will perish prematurely and eternally. Who would wish that on anyone? If we each start with ourselves and change from the outside in there will be no concern for the exodus.
John 12:32
32But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."
 

luthiengirlie

Well-Known Member
Whoo! I love Ruach Ha Kodesh.

This world is full of fakeness and deceptions and BLING! Deep down inside these YOUTH know its false. Their souls are crying for AUTHENCITY! Authentic Christ, love, kindness and service. To be accepted for who they are even if they're(gasp) gay. Its our job to worship Adonai in Spirit and Truth, Love and accountability. As Prudent stated. As His name is lifted up. People will be drawn to Him. Let YHWH work on destroying and breaking and reshaping the things He finds disgusting in them. But LEt us share His love. Our greatest mistake in converting people is trying to do YHWH'S Job in changing hearts. That's not for us to do. Our Job is to be obedient, worship in Spirit and Truth, Walk in Love towards others. Be a SERVANT. We would be His Mighty Vessels! WHOOOO!!!!
 

LatterGlory

New Member
1Co 3:4-11
(4) For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
(5) Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
(6) I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
(7) So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
(8) Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
(9) For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
(10) According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
(11) For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.


Gal 3:1-3
(1) O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
(2) This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
(3) Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?



1Co 2:1-4
(1) And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
(2) For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.(3) And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
(4) And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
 
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Vonnieluvs08

Well-Known Member
I definitely agree that is about authenticity and transparency with a Christocentric focus. All of Creation is about Christ, the Triune God is about Christ, we are about Christ. He is the enter of it ALL. That's what keeps me in Church. The teaching of Christ and how everything comes from Him and is going back to Him. When my pastor(s) gets up there and speaks to us using examples from real life to show the work of Christ so that it is easier to understand in todays context I don't focus on his street dress or use of slang I hear him teaching the Word of God, explaining what the words are in the original language, referring to scripture after scripture to help explain what God wants us to know. This is what keeps me in the church. The emphasis on walking with God first and walking with others in a local body to have further teaching and accountability this Keeps me at church. It's cool that my pastor like Christian hip hop, and keeps up with regular stuff and says so during his sermon but he will always take it back and relate it to the Gospel and Jesus.

The Gimmick at my church is that: Jesus is real. He was both God and Man. He came and lived a life without sin, but became sin on our behalf, died on a cross and rose on the 3rd day. Why? So that we could be reconciled to God. The Bible is our guide on how to live a life with Christ at the center. This is why I stay at my church.
 

Poohbear

Fearfully Wonderfully Made
How many of us Christians would rather die for Christ and make it into heaven over doing some "small" sin and keep on living in this world?
I would rather die and go to heaven than to do some sin and keep living in the world.
 

Guitarhero

New Member
How many of us Christians would rather die for Christ and make it into heaven over doing some "small" sin and keep on living in this world?

This question is not meant to be pontificated upon on LHCF, but for us Christians to know where we truly stand in Christ.

Php 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.


Great question. I'd rather keep on trusting in His mercy, whether I sin or not, and I would rather continue to enjoy the physical world which He still loved as part of His creation. It is all interconnected.

For me, to die is not physically, but to one's own desires that are not in alignment with His will. It's a lengthy process and only reminds me of that quote I recently read:

"Perfection is wholeness, not flawlessness"

Where I am with Him? Eternally addicted and entrusted to His mercy. I've put away the fear of failing Him, for the most part, because however I will, whenever I will, it's all been known beforehand. I take myself off the perfection hook in order to see Him, not to be frightened of Him.
 
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