What I’m about to say might prompt some angry emails from youth pastors, but I’m going to say it anyways.
Christianity isn’t cool.
Christianity is beautiful and powerful and fascinating. But it’s not cool.
No one can become a Christian until they get to the point that they recognize the perfection of God and then look at themselves and see how miserably they fall short. There’s no smooth, attractive way to come to Christianity. We all get there broken, or not at all. And that is a decidedly uncool thing to talk about.
Yet we try so hard to make Christianity seem cool. We upgrade from hymn books to multimedia displays. We use more jokes, less fire and brimstone. Church youth groups think they need to be flashier than the Disney channel. If the media is doing something that people seem to like, we think, how can we use this at church?
It’s as if we think that Christianity is such a hard sell that we have to package it in something more trendy to make it appealing. But that’s like thinking that we could really improve on the Mona Lisa if it had more 3D effects. It implies that there is something lacking in the original.
Christianity is the story of a God who created the universe and then, against all odds and reason, entered the story of fallen humanity. It’s the story of Jesus, who was God wrapped in human weakness, walking on earth with those He created. Befriending them. Healing them. Teaching them. Dying for them. It’s about a perfect man taking on the punishment that we all deserved. All because He loved us. No strings attached. No small print.
Do we think we can improve on that? Why do we try to dress it up, sell it as something trendy and cool? Does God need our help promoting Himself?
How arrogant we can be sometimes, to think that we have to drag the Gospel into the modern age. The story that has carried Christianity from ancient times to today, through two millennia of history, is the same as it has always been. It has never gone out of style. This “true myth,” as C.S. Lewis called it, is wonderfully timeless.
But this idea of cool? Cool is poodle skirts and avocado green countertops. It’s big hair and puffy sleeves; butterfly clips and face glitter. Cool is transient. It’s constantly shifting.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17 NIV)
I think sometimes we just need to step aside and let people see the raw beauty of the story that we get to be a part of. And it is so much bigger than our ideas of what people want to hear right now.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV)
“All that is not eternal, is eternally out of date.” -C.S. Lewis