My friend Kester wrote a very insightful post here about the new emphasis on cool that most young Christians tend to have.
As Kester notes, in earlier generations Christianity was conflated with power and moral authority. In reacting to that, younger people have imagined Christianity as a reservoir of hip, where a seeker can find a handful of truths and creeds, which, out of their context, seem dreamily archaic.
These two positions (power and cool) have established an unnerving spectrum in churches. You already know what the positions are, and you already know the debates. You could play through them in your head if you wanted. And because power and cool are the factors that matter, it guarantees that discussions will always miss the point, because the terms we use are not Christ. In seeking to be hip, the cool generation missed the opportunity to critique the preceding generation’s lust for power in a way that would actually have saved that generation.
Now, opposition to hip Christianity often looks like a return to power Christianity. Which is why people leave churches because some vote for Obama, the child-killing Muslim, and why others leave because they can’t stand that fellow congregants believe that Obama is a Muslim and feel awkward condemning abortion. This is disturbing enough as it is, without thinking about all the lost time spent on a bad debate. And without thinking that we still don’t have (even though we always have) a solution.