Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Keep A Close Watch On Your Wardrobe and Your Relevance

Not quite Paul's admonition to Timothy.

Darryl Dash on the mortal sin of pastoral unhipness:
I attended a conference this week - more on that in a few weeks. One of the speakers was Earl Creps, author and pastor. Creps led the conference in a liturgy of confession: "I am not cool. I don't get it. I'm not relevant."

Confession is good for the soul. I looked around the room and had to admit that it's true. I didn't see too many cool or relevant people. I'm certainly not one of them.

It's tempting to want to fix this. I get a magazine for pastors - I won't mention names but it's probably not the one you're thinking of - that is all about chasing what's cool and relevant. We scour magazines and books and attend conferences in pursuit of the cool factor. It doesn't work. People trying to be cool just aren't cool.

There's another group of people I find myself increasingly drawn towards. They don't even try to be cool, and they're not. The trends they follow are centuries old. They read old stuff by dead guys and talk about concepts from dusty theology books. The funny thing is that they end up being more relevant than the next new thing.


What we need are more "cool" ministers (like me!*) saying this same stuff. Otherwise it just sounds like uncool people pleading for the irrelevance of coolness. I mean, I think those people are cool, but if the popularly appraised cool people also pleaded for the irrelevance of coolness, this whole vain pursuit of coolness might just cool down. Cool?

(HT: Transforming Sermons)

It is Easier For a Camel to Go Through the Eye of a Needle Than for a Cool Man to Enter Heaven
A Gospel Rant

* Just kidding!


Seth said...

It's painful to watch someone who isn't cool try to be cool. Problem is, cool changes daily in a pop culture, so it's a pointless pursuit. Authenticity will always trump cool.

There are multiple issues here though. That doesn't mean we should cease to be aware of cultural trends, nor does it mean we should cease to be learners. Some people who are thought of as uncool are simply people who get stuck in a way of thinking and a mode of communication, one that ceases to realize that history goes further back than the history of America, and that the Church is worldwide.

Daniel said...

I attended a conference in the past year and this was one thing I was immediately struck by. It was like 'The Cult of Cool' in full effect. It left a bad taste in my mouth. Problem is, everyone looked exactly the same (and this is coming from someone with a shaved head and goatee, so I recognize the irony here.)

Milton Stanley said...


Earl said...

Thanks for the mention in your blog. I'm coming to the conclusion that almost no one is really cool. There are just people who know this and those who don't. So in a strange way, being uncool is what holds us together--sort of. My new book on Reverse Mentoring has a chapter on cool. Will be out this fall from Jossey-Bass/Leadership Network.