I am in the middle of reading Hipster Christianity by Brett McCracken. He spends a lot of time talking about the definitions on terms like “cool”. I have discovered through reading the book that I will never be hip or cool.
There was definitely a time in my life when I aspired to coolness. I went out and bought cool clothes. I grew my hair out. But being cool is just too much work, and I have other things I need to be doing.
That is really the first thing I wanted to blog about on the subject of coolness.
Being “cool” is just too much work.
The cool people spend outrageous amounts of money on clothes and grooming and aesthetics. They have to read the right blogs, have the right apps on their smartphones, have to update the right stuff the right way. It is hard work.
Being cool has it’s rewards, I am sure, but it takes a commitment I am simply not ready to make. I would much rather buy a pair of jeans at Wal-mart for $10 than spend $100 for them at whatever the hip store is at the moment.
Just figuring out which store is hip at the moment is too much work for me!
This is not to take away from those who ARE hip by nature. There are inherently stylish people in the world – artists and poets who make the world a better place with their off beat presence. But there are a lot of fakes too. These are people my friend Ang calls faux artists. These are people who see the trends and try to adapt to them.
Pastors are wicked prone to this. The same pastors who twenty years ago were sporting mullets as youth pastors are wearing soul patches and talking about existentialists. Fifteen years from now, they will be adapting to whatever trend they think is BIG at the time.
Why the desire to be cool? Because hipsters are what we consider “counter culture.” For some reason, we believe you have to be cool in order to reach people.
For my answer to this, I remind people that Jesus did not adapt to the trends of his day. The hipster trend of his day was to be a Pharisee or a Herodian, both groups he opposed.
My friends, don’t follow culture. Lead the culture. Don’t conform (I think the Apostle Paul once wrote something about that).
At the same time, don’t be intentionally counter-culture. Don’t reject things just because they are part of the culture. Although Jesus was the ultimate iconoclast, he was not intentionally counter culture. He was counter culture because of who he was – being counter culture was not who he was.