cool is fiction
cool is an interesting word. in every dictionary ive opened it is defined in such a way as to essentially mean average or moderate. the different uses of this term vary but theres no definition that counters the general idea of moderation.
in excercise terms cool refers to the body getting back to its normal temperature and heart rate etc. its no longer heightened – its back to moderate.
in food terms cool refers to cooked food returning to room temperature. its no longer hot or warm but moderate.
in every other example i can find cool refers to a movement toward the moderate. yet for some reason in almost every form of cultural slang cool means hip or fashionable. this stretches the idea of moderation when we consider that:
the latest vampire movie is cool.
the newest app for iphones is cool.
the hit song on the radio is cool.
some actor or actress is cool.
a particular brand of bluejeans is cool.
pastors drinking lattes is cool.
blogging about cool is cool.
in all these instances cool means the thing that is currently in favor. its trendy. its stylish. its whats good right now. this is all based on opinion and in the fast-paced world we live in opinion is in the pole position.
and thats why it disturbs me that so many pastors and christians today are trying to make the gospel seem cool. i admit ive been guilty of this as well. using technology to the extent that the worship service would be near impossible without it is one example. thinking special graphics on announcements of our programs will draw a crowd is another. and what about making the gospel into a cd that people can open on their computers bc its innovative and cool?
as i look at how cool everything is becoming i am disturbed. bc the truth is that the gospel is not cool. it cant be bc it is neither moderate nor trendy. it doesnt fit any definition of cool.
it is the very antithesis of cool.
viewing the gospel as moderate devalues the power of jesus statements and actions. viewing it as trendy places the entirety of its meaning in the context of popular opinion. and the accounts we have dont do either.
read the gospels. look at how they describe the situations. was jesus drawing people bc of his trendy moderation? or was he drawing people bc of his willingness to speak to a leper and a tax collector and a buncha stinky fishermen?
jesus didnt hype his new galilean crusade with mailouts and fliers. he went walking. and along the way he spent time relating with the least of these. and this is what he taught his followers to do and for centuries after he left this is what they did.
but we have been enticed by the catchings of a cool world and drawn into thinking that jesus was really a cool hip trendy guy who would own an xbox and wear oakleys and listen to the killers on his ipod. and we think he would sip coffe at starbucks and talk about obama and the new u2 album.
and i fall into this as well bc this is what i want to do. i want to live a cool life and go to cool places and meet cool people and have cool conversations. i want to think this stuff is really important and that spending my time and money on it is good stewardship. but theres one big glaring problem…
cool is fiction.
its based on trends and popular opinion. its subject to change and variance. its fluid and temporary. and this is certainly not any way to think about the gospel or jesus.
so in our efforts to follow him may we not be drawn into thinking that doing so will ever be cool. may we recognize the cool versions for the watered down hype they are and persue jesus passionately at the expense of everything our world thinks is cool.
and may we be jesus to the uncool.