A few weeks ago, a friend of mine passed along an enticing blog post about Christian culture. In the post “Sexy Christianity,” author Kyle Donn argues that an edgy, radicalized image of Christianity has grown so popular that it threatens to become an idolized ego-trip. Donn criticizes a very popular image of Christians in hopes of exposing a dividing line between seemingly and genuinely radical believers, which is a good reality-check.
Of course, we all know one of these chai-drinking, bike-riding, beanie-wearing Christians Donn describes. But are they really just fakes? Donn writes, “And when our ‘style’ starts to get a little too close to our ‘heart’ our faith begins to become as skin-deep as the skinny jeans we like to wear.” Although there definitely is an appreciation for hipster style among twenty-somethings in the church, I think Donn fails to miss a critical point: popularity is not always a bad thing.
Although we always want avoid vanity and superficiality, shouldn’t we, as Christians, in some sense want the radical Christianity to be “cool”? Shouldn’t we want Christians to openly enjoy conversing about God, even if it is with a macchiato in hand? The popularity of this “Christian culture” seems to exist only within the church, making it more of an internal issue. To my knowledge, non-believers do not find eco-friendly, scripture-memorizing extremists particularly “cool”(at least not by the world’s standards).
Although I admittedly find myself annoyed with trendy Christians like these, they still may be advancing the kingdom. Donn writes, “Sexy Christianity feels pretty good until someone throws a stone at you,” and then suggests many of them would jump ship if genuine sacrifice were on the line. However, the authenticity of their heart is not marked by any brand or trend. Only God can measure faithfulness. And if our hearts are right, does it really matter if we are talking about someone who serves God wearing Toms and a diamond stud nose ring?