Thursday, 16 June 2011

Blessed are the un-cool

Blessed are the un-cool is an article by Rachel Evans which offers some thought-provoking ideas and challenges to the way we usually do church. A key quote for me is when she writes:

Well, for one thing, 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.
Have a read and let me know what you think...


  1. Joseph McAuley16 June 2011 at 11:54

    There is perhaps the potential for 'uncool' to become the new cool. Saving grace there is that it's hard to sustain uncool as cool over the long term. It doesn't take long before what felt trendy or 'oh so much better' to actually become a real and healthy challenge that one has to wrestle with and respond to and mature into.

  2. Ah, I read the article and was just about to comment about the danger of the uncool becoming the new cool and found I was beaten to it! Cool is very sneaky thing and can pop up in all sorts of guises. Perhaps if we just keep a focus on serving God and placing high value on people (whoever they may be) it may be enough to keep us on track.

  3. Your right, this certainly is provocative! I think it would be worth note that modern expressions of worship are not unhealthy in themselves, but it is what they could lead to that might be unhealthy. The danger is in adopting of pop culture into church culture we can unwittingly accept lots of other stuff, such as elitism, hero worship etc. This is one of the many challenges that we need to be aware of and consider. I attend what would probably be considered a 'cool church', but it is also a church that welcomes and enjoys the children in worship etc. While I wouldn't claim that we are prefect, I would claim that, with work, a balance can be struck.

  4. I'm not sure the objective of this is to advocate for either a "cool" or an "uncool" church, but rather one where people are valued, and not escorted out. The objective of Christian community is to be Christian community, not to attend a show, or a monologue, but to be a part of the community, giving and receiving, blessing and being blessed. Sometimes noisy and distracting isn't good, sometimes it is. The aim however, is always that people are valued and respected, and that in and amidst all that's going on, God's voice can be heard, the Spirit encountered, and hearts turned towards the call of Jesus to embrace the world.

    Just my $0.02

  5. Joseph McAuley17 June 2011 at 11:48

    Anon, I enjoyed your $0.02. Great summary. Right on the mark

  6. mmmmmmm....... a church with average music and bad sound.... i dont think id go :-)
    I agree with the previous post " The objective of Christian community is to be Christian community" and with that comes all sorts of people at diffrent stages and walks of life but "The aim however, is always that people are valued and respected"
    on a side note, the thought of having church in a starbarks bathroom is completly Ridicules..... where would we put the drum kit?

  7. I also don't advocate intentionally bad quality music etc. There is nothing wrong with wanting to do things well. However, there will also come times when we have to make decisions about what will happen in our gatherings - and if we pursue slickness in our performance above all else then we will be tempted to sideline uncool/awkward people or 'distractions' in our gatherings.

    Surely we can pursue doing things well, while also maintaining a higher value than this - which has to do with the way we treat one another. If it comes down to one or the other (which it sometimes will) we should embrace people over style.

  8. Is it a problem that I'm uber-cool? Am I going to have to change my image? I'm so confused!

  9. I also go to a hip church recently re-branded to have a name like “Thrive” or “Be”, that has “an awesome worship experience,” and a fab fair-trade (I hope) coffee bar. We probably have an iphone app too, whatever that is. Like anything with humans in, it has flaws. Not much point listing them. Within the Body of Christ there are many members with different functions. What I have come to realise is that that this applies equally to churches as it does to individuals. So God may be using an uber-cool church to draw in the uber-cool and a church with bad sound and weird congregants to draw in those who feel uncomfortable amongst the young and trendy. Yes, of course everyone should welcome everyone else but God may just have a plan that is cleverer. We should not lament our differences but rather see our individual expression as part of a beautiful whole.

  10. Diversity is great. Some have smoke and lights while others may worship to a three string banjo. However I do get unfomfortable when our distinctives lead us into the belief that we are somehow superior to others. Those kind of comparisons are definitely not cool!


    i dont have an issue with as mentioned "trying to do things well" i mean lets face it when the atmosphere is modern and music is kool and amibient it does help to connect sometimes. I think maybe that "cool" has to do with popularity or having pop culture in other words. Surely there is nothing wrong with being relevant so that people can feel like we are aware if the world around us and arent getting to caught up in our own buzz.

    Lets face it tho, on the spectrum of "cool" i dont know if 'studying an ancient text , clapping hand, singing songs and talking about our lives and feelings falls under what we or the world would call "cool"

    but surely no one can deny it when we love and care for others without agenda, that to me is kool .