September 20, 2007

Thoughts on relevance and a cute picture

Read this article first.

How true, how true are the words of this article. Even Christians have the desire to be thought of as cool or hip. We ache for the world to look at Christianity and see that it's not just a bunch of fundamentalists who are opposed to women cutting their hair or opposed to listening to good ol' rock 'n roll. Too often, though, we lose the depth of Christianity and it becomes this cotton candy, surface "religion" that is more worried about looking good than being good or in making a difference in our own life and in those around us. When this is the case, is 'cool Christianity' any better than Joel Osteen's 'prosperity Christianity'?

I think we should also point out the fact that just because a Christian doesn't shop at Urban Outfitters or listen to Sufjan Stevens or know who Bansky is--it doesn't mean they aren't a Christian making a difference for the Kingdom. It's foolish for us to think that the way we look has anything to do with whether a person comes to know Christ. It has nothing to do with what we can do or say--it's about what Christ is doing in their heart and life. Yes, we still need to strive for excellence and for love and righteousness. But even if we're the 'perfect little Christian,' if God isn't with us, then it's meaningless.

There seems to be a big push by a lot of Christians (including myself) to show that Christianity is still relevant 2,000 years after its beginning. For many, this means having a well-designed website or letterhead or listening to/playing "good" music that is original and new. But what about people who just don't like the things that are considered aesthetically pleasing or up-to-date? Are they any less Christian or being used by God any less? If they love the Lord (with all their heart, soul and mind) and they love their neighbors as themselves, who are we to judge their "bad taste"? Yes, it would be wonderful if every church stopped using papyrus font and hired professional designers and updated their websites to get rid of their flash intros (who actually looks at those?). But God never said he would only use those people who have good taste, so why should we? There is a market out there for everybody. There are churches for the postmodern artist who wears nothing but black and red. There are churches for women who haven't changed their hair since the 80s. And there are churches for people who think papyrus font is the greatest font since Times New Roman. God loves us all, good taste or not.

And for those who are concerned with the world thinking that churches haven't changed since the 1850s--is that what we really want to be known for? Do we really want to be known for having great websites and cool youth t-shirts and great music? Or do we want to be known for giving everything of ourselves to others and for helping out the widows and orphans and showing God's love by our actions? Should we change the perception that we don't care or love
others (or that we all agree with Pat Robertson) before we worry so much about changing how we look?

Now after you've thought all of this over, go here and see the cutest picture ever.

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