But one of the most popular—and arguably most unseemly—methods of making Christianity hip is to make it shocking. What better way to appeal to younger generations than to push the envelope and go where no fundamentalist has gone before?
-- From "The Perils of 'Wannabe Cool' Christianity" by Brett McCracken, posted at The Wall Street Journal 8/13/10
Recent statistics have shown an increasing exodus of young people from churches, especially after they leave home and live on their own. In a 2007 study, Lifeway Research determined that 70% of young Protestant adults between 18-22 stop attending church regularly.
Increasingly, the "plan" has taken the form of a total image overhaul, where efforts are made to rebrand Christianity as hip, countercultural, relevant. As a result, in the early 2000s, we got something called "the emerging church"—a sort of postmodern stab at an evangelical reform movement.
"Wannabe cool" Christianity also manifests itself as an obsession with being on the technological cutting edge. . . .
Sex is a popular shock tactic. . . . many churches are finding creative ways to use sex-themed marketing gimmicks to lure people into church.
. . . probably the first and only pastor I have ever heard say the word "vulva" during a sermon.
But are these gimmicks really going to bring young people back to church? Is this what people really come to church for? Maybe sex sermons and indie- rock worship music do help in getting people in the door, and maybe even in winning new converts. But what sort of Christianity are they being converted to?
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