Hipster Christianity

Last week Brett McCracken, a 27-year-old evangelical, wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal entitled “The Perils of ‘Wannabe Cool’ Christianity.” In his piece, he talks about the efforts of pastors to stop the flow of young people out of their churches. He cites a 2007 study that states that 70% of young Protestants between the ages of 18-22 stop going to church.

What have church leaders infused in their services and programs to appeal to youth? Coffee lounges, “the emerging church” with a cool, countercultural image, cutting-edge technology, even open discussion of sex. I found these paragraphs especially interesting:

“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.”

Here’s an idea: try teaching what Jesus taught. Love, tolerance, and peace never go out of style.

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