Downward Mobility is not Cool

The way of the Christian leader is not the way of upward mobility in which our world has invested so much, but the way of downward mobility ending on the cross.
Henri Nouwen, In The Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership, 62.

Just yesterday I was in two conversations on topics related to discipleship, coolness and downward mobility.

Bottom line: We tend to live in a culture where we all want to be cool. So much so, that the Church often tries to find cool ways to bring people to Jesus and into the Church.

And let’s admit it, we all want to be cool, there are just sometimes varying degrees of it. People in Los Angeles really want to be cool, and try very, very hard at it….and yep I live in Los Angeles.

We try to wear cool clothes, hang out at cool places, attend cool churches and be in small groups with cool people.

But I’m left here scratching my head thinking to myself: “I can’t think of anything cool about following Jesus. Giving your life away, carrying your cross and following Jesus to the cross is just not cool.”

So what are we doing then by trying to make Jesus and Church cool? Takes us nowhere and leaves us empty.


  1. by Tyler on May 28, 2008  5:15 pm Reply

    I think there a fine line between trying to be fresh and relevant to culture and trying to be cool. To an outsider it is probably the same thing. I think the difference is probably the heart of it.

  2. by Rhett on May 28, 2008  5:27 pm Reply


    I agree. Very fine line at times. The other day we were talking about the fine line between trying to be cool, and make Jesus and a life of discipleship attractive.

    It seems that we just need to get out of the way, and that Jesus speaks for himself. Obviously as disciples we have a role, but we don't need to "dress him up" or anything....

    Know what I mean?


  3. by Chum on May 28, 2008  7:43 pm Reply

    A lot of people try to be "cool" in the ways you describe above, because they want to belong somewhere, get affirmation from those around them, or be part of something beyond themselves.

    So if though Jesus, people can feel part of a loving community, be encouraged by others, and be part the life He has in sore for us, then this version of cool is not so bad verses what the world deems "cool".

  4. by Cynthia on May 28, 2008  8:03 pm Reply

    Reminds me of a revelation I recently had when listening to Shane Clairborne speak. Wow, he's really opted out of the whole dress up and be a cool Christian thing I thought.

    Then I realized, we'll make that the new cool.

  5. by Syd on May 28, 2008  10:52 pm Reply

    loved this post,'s so easy to get sucked into the need for approval from others and being cool.

  6. by Syd on May 28, 2008  10:52 pm Reply

    loved this post,'s so easy to get sucked into the need for approval from others and being cool.

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