I recently picked up Brett McCracken’s Hipster Christianity (2010) to see what he had to say about the notion of “cool” in conjunction with following Christ. I’ve never been able to join those two together, myself (as I understand “cool”). I’m still working through the book and must reserve judgment at this point, but I found a followup post that McCracken put up a couple of years back that engages the categories of media ecology in connection with his topic, and he gets a lot of things right. Some excerpts:
I think it’s naive for Christians to suggest that medium is something separate from message; they are intertwined. The architects of the great cathedrals in Christian history understood it; composers of sacred music like Handel and Berlioz and Tavener understood it. And yet contemporary evangelical Christians seem to have lost the inextricable connection between form and content.
Because most Protestant evangelicals don’t recognize a meaningful connection between form and content (e.g. “the medium may change but the message remains the same!”), the church can only throw up its hands in surrender to the postmodern standard of “individual preference” or “whatever works” pragmatism.
How can we simultaneously embrace a sacred view of time, and a valuing of tradition, when we’re so compelled by the ever-changing contours of cool and disposability of trendiness?
The perpetuation of strict separation between form and content will only exacerbate evangelical Christianity’s current identity crisis.