Jesus Was A Hipster? 7 Funniest Ways Christian Churches Are Trying to Get Hip With the Kids
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5) “Broing” up the Gospels. There’s widespread concerns among evangelicals that young men reject religion because it’s not manly enough and so they continuously try to highlight the abundance bros within their ranks. It’s always a losing battle, as evidenced by the rushing enthusiasm for the Christian band Creed that was followed by the amazing letdown that was Scott Stapp’s gross personal behavior. Now all the hopes are being pinned on Tim Tebow as a role model to prove to young men that being a Christian doesn’t mean being a drip, but sadly, Tebow’s irritating personality plus his below-expectations performance as a football player are quickly deflating his appeal.
6) Trying to appear accepting of gay people while not being very accepting of gay people. Millennials hate the anti-gay thing, and dislike of conservative Christianity homophobia factored heavily in Pew’s research into why young people turn away from religion. The response from conservative Christians is to try to have it both ways, to both disapprove strongly of gay people living their lives openly while also claiming to be accepting and tolerant of gay people. The results can be incredibly strange, such as the case of Josh Weed, a young Mormon who has decided to self-identify as an openly gay man who nonetheless is married to a woman and living the supposedly God-instructed life of heterosexual marriage. His pitch seems to be that you can have it both ways, both be an out gay man and not have to defy church prohibitions against living as a gay man. It got him on a reality TV show, but in terms of convincing people that they can reconcile a pro-gay stance and conservative Christianity, it leaves much to be desired.
7) Coming up with the term “relevant.” Within Christian circles, attempts to be hip and attractive to young people are often described as “relevant,” and will advertise themselves as such. Christian writers Stephanie Drury and Joey Sanchez mocked the movement with this description: “Pastors vie to be as relevant as possible. Distressed jeans, brewery T-shirts, wireless headset mics and thin Bibles that they hold rolled up in their hand whilst preaching are a must.” The intention was to draw young people in by making church seem hip, but instead these efforts have simply turned into a cliché. Now a bad goatee and spiked hair with frosted tips signals “uptight fundamentalist church” just as surely as big hair and ill-fitting suits did in days of yore.
All these attempts by Christians, especially conservative Christians, to attract young’uns by aping what they imagine to be cool attitudes and hip fashions aren’t just failures, but only end up reminding their intended audiences how cool conservative Christianity isn’t. At the end of the day, the real reason that churches are bleeding members isn’t their lack of preachers in fashionable shoes and monitors blaring good-enough imitations of indie rock music. It’s because young people have turned away from the ideological values that conservative Christianity has worked so hard to embody: homophobia, hostility toward science, misogyny, sex-phobia, and support of regressive economic policies. Becoming more open-minded ideologically would do them a whole lot more good than becoming more fashionable, as no one has ever really joined a religion in order to improve their cool quotient.
But for conservative Christians, giving up right-wing ideology will never happen, meaning they’ll be watching their membership age and die off while they keep trying to come up with the “hip” new ad to bring in people who have no use for their belief systems, no matter how dressed up in faux-modernist drag they are.