Monday, August 23, 2010

Cool Catholicism

Is it important to be "cool" in order to spread the Faith?  I thought that this article from The Wall Street Journal on "Hipster Christianity" made some valid points. To quote:
If the evangelical Christian leadership thinks that "cool Christianity" is a sustainable path forward, they are severely mistaken. As a twentysomething, I can say with confidence that when it comes to church, we don't want cool as much as we want real.

If we are interested in Christianity in any sort of serious way, it is not because it's easy or trendy or popular. It's because Jesus himself is appealing, and what he says rings true. It's because the world we inhabit is utterly phony, ephemeral, narcissistic, image-obsessed and sex-drenched—and we want an alternative. It's not because we want more of the same. 
 Catholic author Danielle Bean adds to the discussion, saying:
While this article happens to be about evangelical churches, I think the lesson here applies to Catholics as well. I am all in favor of Catholics “re-branding” and keeping up with technology in order to bring Christ to wider audiences, but we do need to follow up the “branding” and “cutting edge” with something solid.

Fortunately, our Church has that. Over 2,000 years’ worth of the “real deal” of Catholic teaching and tradition, to be precise. It’s easy to get caught up in the “cool” ideas of tweeting, facebooking, and otherwise broadcasting a “cool to be Catholic” message to the masses, but we need to be sure that we follow up the flash and the fluff with substance.
 I remember the teachers whom I respected the most were the ones who were not trying to be buddies with the students.  There is nothing more pathetic than seeing someone in their forties or fifties trying to act cool for the benefit of  the younger generation. Young people need role models, not older versions of themselves. Reflecting upon my own experience,  there are many times in my youth when to have been "cool" would have meant compromising my values. Sometimes to being faithful to Jesus means being uncool, at any time of life, and swimming against the current rather than being swept along by it. Share


Julygirl said...

I think it is helpful for one to be current in delivering the Gospel message, but should avoid slang or language verging on vulgarity.

Stephanie A. Mann said...

Didn't the Pope describe the ultimate coolness in his recent catechesis "about martyrdom, the way of total love of God"?

To quote: "Once again, from whence comes the strength to face martyrdom? From profound and intimate union with Christ, because martyrdom and the vocation to martyrdom are not the result of human effort, but the response to an initiative and a call from God, they are a gift of his grace, which makes one capable of offering one's life for love of Christ and of the Church, and thus of the world. If we read the lives of the martyrs, we are amazed by their serenity and courage when facing suffering and death: The power of God is manifested fully in weakness, in the poverty of the one who entrusts himself to him and places his hope in him alone (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:9)."

elena maria vidal said...

I agree, Julygirl!

Stephanie, thank you for the quote!