Then & Now - Week of September 9

Hipster Christianity
John 15:18-27

Brett McCracken wrote a book I wish I would have written. Hipster Christianity has made some waves recently, because it has called out the American Church on its incessant need to chase cultural popularity.

I haven't read the book, only the Wall Street Journal cliff notes of the article. And I'm not sure I'd agree with every conclusion in Brett's book. But I will say that he has stumbled upon a great issue in the American church.

We want to be liked. We want the culture to like us, we get upset when other religions mock us, and we wish the media would write more glowing pieces about our work. But this it at odds with Jesus words of warning to the disciples in John 15-16. Essentially Jesus said that if we're with Him, we won't be very hip.

Now granted, there are a lot of ways Christians attract the scorn of the world, ways that have nothing to do with Jesus call to radical discipleship. Legalistic Phariseeism, political knee-jerkism, and foolish Koran-burning are a few.

But still, even if we never did any of those things and the church was a model of perfection, the world system would still not be very fond of us. Following Christ, Jesus said, will never be cool, because the cross isn't cool. It's scandalous and radical. It condemns the religious and offers grace to the heinous. People don't like that very much.

So here's the thing. Don't be surprised to get flak when you take up Jesus' radical call to discipleship. Don't be surprised when some people think you're extreme. Don't be alarmed if your buddies don't suddenly embrace you're newfound faith.

Instead, embrace your persecution as a badge of honor, a way to identify with the sufferings of Christ. And know that the scorn of the world gives you more reason to trust the sovereign Savior, who knew, allows, and isn't surprised by your suffering.  

Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, follow on him on Twitter at, or check out his website:

Originally published September 09, 2013.