The Verdict is In: I Am Hopelessly Uncool

In fact, I am so uncool I don’t even know if the term “cool” is cool anymore.  Maybe there’s a more fashionable word that describes a person who is totally hip and with it.  Or are “hip” and “with it” outdated, too?  See what I mean?  Whatever the current term for “cool” is, I am definitely not it.

I know this because:

Everyone but me seems to love Anne Lamott’s writings.  I keep hearing how deeply spiritual and insightful she is.  Some of my friends claim her as their favorite writer.  And yes, I’ve read enough to know she is a great intellect and superior wordsmith.  But, silly me, I prefer to read someone who doesn’t use the F-word when writing about the life of faith.

I know I am uncool because:

I actually believe that in the darkest of times, it’s a good idea to give your problems to God.  Among the cool folks “Give it to God” is known as a platitude…a saying so shallow as to be an embarrassment on the same level as wearing brown shoes with a black tuxedo.  But, silly me, I still believe in casting all my cares on Jesus and suggest that others do the same. (1 Peter 5:7)

I know I am uncool because:

I actually believe that God has a plan.  I have been told that this is another one of those shallow platitudes you absolutely must not say to a hurting person if you want to be counted among the ranks of the cool.   People who are hungry, thirsty, homeless, or persecuted do not want to hear that God has a plan.  But, silly me, I keep running into Bible verses that talk about God’s unchanging plan (Ephesians 1:5), his secret plan (Ephesians 1:9), his eternal plan (Ephesians 3:11), his mysterious plan (Revelation 10:7), etc.  And so, sealing my reputation as one who has lost complete touch with coolness, I continue to tell suffering people that God has a plan.

I know I am uncool because:

I would prefer not to feature an interview with a foul-mouthed, unbelieving celebrity during our Sunday morning worship service.  A church I’ve been reading about has recently done this to enthusiastic reviews.  Apparently, a lot of unchurched people made it to church that day and have returned in subsequent weeks, a fact for which I rejoice.  Call me uncool (and I know many will), but I’d rather take my chances with a good Gospel sermon. (1 Corinthians 1:18)

I know I am uncool because:

I love that awful thing cool people disdainfully refer to as “organized religion.”  Yes, of course I understand that a personal relationship with Christ is paramount, but, silly me, I still get a kick out of a well-organized ministry effort, whether it’s a labor-intensive mission trip or a creatively-planned Vacation Bible School or a well-rehearsed worship band or a community-wide service project.  I have friends who have turned up their noses at the stench of “organized religion” and set off in search of a house church where, I assume, some utopian force-field prevents human imperfection from ever rearing its ugly head.  I wish them the best.

Trust me, I could go on, but I have already written beyond my self-imposed limit for this blog.  I guess that’s fitting since there seems to be no limit to my uncoolness.  Or whatever it is people are calling old fuddy-duddies like me these days.

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12 Responses to The Verdict is In: I Am Hopelessly Uncool

  1. Bob Tremblay says:

    Mark,Fonzie was cool..I don’t care if others think I am cool ,or not..God knows..

  2. Ruthann Ciochon says:

    Mark,
    If you are uncool, as well as a ruddy ruddy, then I am thrilled to be one too! I see no need for vulgarity anywhere, especially in religious speaking or writing, nor in the church at any time. So if you are OUT of it, do nothing to “correct” the situation.

    • Mark says:

      I agree, Ruthann. I don’t know where this notion comes from that it’s okay to have profanity in worship or the F-word in a faith-based essay. What if the owner of a strip club stood up and led a prayer before introducing the pole dancers? Wouldn’t someone say, “Hold on a minute…that makes no sense!” To me, the inconsistency is the same. What fellowship has light with darkness?

  3. Kevin Purdy says:

    I found it coincidental that I read the following quote right before I read your blog post.

    “The world does not need more cool, hip, culturally savvy, irrelevant copies of itself. That is a hoax that has duped thousands of young Christians. They think they have to be hip, cool, savvy, culturally aware, watching everything in order not to be freakish. And that is undoing them morally and undoing their witness.” – (A quote from John Piper regarding what Christians watch for entertainment purposes).

    The world needs “Christ-like” a whole lot more than it needs “cool.” I love reading your posts! Thanks.

    • Mark says:

      That’s a powerful quote, Kevin. Thanks for sharing it. I couldn’t agree more. And thank you for the encouragement.

  4. Peggy Greenwood says:

    Hooray for the Uncool. I turn off movies that use offensive language and would not read books that use it.

    I pray and will admit sometimes ask for a particular outcome but preface it with “this is what I’d like to happen” however I am leaving it to your plan and in your hands. I have had rather quick results to prayers and some that have not been answered because it was prayer for people who have to change their ways – I can’t make it happen, nor can God until he has cooperation from them.

    Bill and I are fuddy duddy Christians and that is okay with us.

  5. I want to join the Uncool Club with you!

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  7. Phil says:

    Nice try Mark, but sax-playing preachers are the definition of cool.

    • Mark says:

      I was once introduced at a church camp as “Mark Atteberry and his sleazy sax.” I think the speaker was alluding to the fact that I play jazz. At least I hope so. I walked to the mike and said, “Um, I prefer ‘sanctified’ rather than ‘sleazy.'”

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