A Cool Jesus Sucks

February 17, 2005 by

Don Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz and Searching For God Knows What, hits the nail on the head in this interview with the Wittenburg Door. Trying to make Jesus hip or cool is not good marketing. Distorting who or what you are is dishonest, inauthentic–and it sucks.

DOOR: How do you react to evangelicals that present Christianity as being cool and hip?

MILLER: I think the Gospel is the message that Jesus wants us to present, and we don’t need to be God’s marketing machine. We need to present the Gospel accurately because that’s what God has asked us to do. I think if somebody passes from this life thinking that Jesus was cool, that’s not very helpful. They need to know that Jesus was the Son of God who died to forgive them of their sins, and enter into a relationship with God. I think the church has bought into this idea that if we make Jesus look cool we win. But what these fellows are trying to do is make themselves look cool, not Jesus. They’re looking at a culture that rejects the idea of Jesus, they say “But I want to be a Christian and I also want to be cool so I’ll try to make Jesus cool.” That’s about you, not Jesus. We certainly need to repent of that.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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18 Responses to “A Cool Jesus Sucks”

  • CrookedBush.com Inc.
    February 17, 2005

    Jesus and Cool

    I’m guilty of using that approach. I mean, come on… who really wants to be a nerd?

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  • Tally
    February 17, 2005

    I agree with Don when it comes to “Jesus is my homeboy” advertising but I would throw in a caveat.
    Describing something/someone as “cool” is merely an expression of an affinity or comfort level. By describing the object you do not re-define it. We do not re-define Christ by saying that he’s cool. To a disciple of Christ he is cool. It’s cool that I now live in Grace. It’s cool that my friends and family may be offered hope. It’s cool to know that my life is provided meaning apart from self. These things are all cool and they’re made cool by the actions and love of our Savior. Because of this… Jesus is cool. If you’re comfortable with who Christ is you have as much freedom to express that as anyone else walking down the sidewalk.
    Our culture shouts expression everyday and if the inside of you believes Jesus is cool, say it and spray it but I agree we cannot turn Jesus into a ‘swoosh’ symbol in an effort to make the “Brand Jesus” more marketable. He’s marketable because of the gospel and from that perspective he doesn’t need our help.

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    • Derek
      June 27, 2012

      lol, i agree, i love thinking of Jesus as cool, i think just as long as the person referring to Him as cool is not being sacriligious or blasphemous in any way it’s fine. as much as Jesus was (and is), Who we depict in His ministry doesn’t mean He wasn’t fun to be around TOO!! therefore He did have some personality just as much as us (humans), if not astoundingly more lol. He may have been comedic or “cracked up” LoL! xD… I must end by saying that in Pulp Fiction when Samuel L. Jackson emphasized strongly to the robbers to “be. cool.” at the end of the movie, it implied “to do the right thing” more than “to do the wrong thing”/”rob the restaurant Sam Jackson was eating at” (another definition could be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUrqaJZH-04
      (i just watched that video before i read this….. pretty cool ;D)

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  • orangejack
    February 17, 2005

    Okay, so Don Miller says that. But what about the Doobie Brothers who say “Jesus is just alright with me. Jesus is just alright, oh yeah! Jesus is just alright with me. Jesus is just alright…do do do do do do do do.”?

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  • Subversive Influence
    February 17, 2005

    Don Miller Interview; Will that be Cool Jesus or Offensive Jesus?

    Don Miller is interviewed by that bastion of conservative evangelical publishing, The Wittenburg Door. This is not a new interview, but I just saw a pointer to it on Brian Baute’s blog (also at Church Marketing Sucks). Whether or not you’ve read Bl…

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  • tshafer.net - blog
    February 18, 2005

    The Hip Jesus?

    Found an interesting post over at Church Marketing Sucks talking about the trend of churches trying to put a \”cool\” face on Jesus when we really need to be auth…

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  • My Jesus is Cool
    August 31, 2005

    A cool Jesus sucks? Thats crazy. Jesus is cool and he doesnt suck. Young people are promoting Jesus and Christianity by wearing those T-shirts and having those stickers on their cars and notebooks. They are bringing people to Christ. Sure some are wearing Christian Tees to be cool just like some people wear those yellow Livestrong bracelets to be cool, but does that make those bracelets wrong? KEEP ROCKIN’ FOR CHRIST KIDS!

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  • corey
    September 1, 2005

    I think this raises a really good point about marketing- and faith in general. That point is that we should be CONSTANTLY evaluating our motivations for what we do- especially as an agent of the church. It’s so easy to start by thinking that Jesus is cool and move just slightly off track to a place where WE’RE cool and so is Jesus. It’s not that different, but it still acts as an impediment to the message of the gospel- and I think that just as much damage can be done in a slight aberration as in a dramatic change of course. In a marketing sense, we can start by trying to deliver the message of the gospel by socially appropriate and current means, but then end up striving to be the trendiest and most socially relevant church in town. That slight shift of focus makes a tremendous difference at the bottom line.

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  • Fred
    September 12, 2005

    God sacrificed himself to himself to appease himself = epitome of cool. Or crazy. Whatever.

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  • Jules
    December 8, 2005

    Not only does a “cool” Jesus suck – but Jesus in ANY form sucks…
    Q. Why couldn’t Jesus get into college?
    A. He got hung up on the boards!

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  • NoGodsNoMasters
    January 5, 2006

    I’d have to agree with Fred, a Jesus in any form totally sucks ass!!
    Look at all the death, hatred and confusion that has been caused by one man. You know as well as I do, if we had a second coming of Jesus today, we’d kill him again.

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    • Derek
      June 27, 2012

      (if you’ve read the history books of the B.C. times WE cause all of those horrible things you listed before Jesus was born.. Jesus came to: 1. Stop that from happening anymore.. (if that doesn’t work, since it didn’t) 2. at least “slow down” all the fighting and messed up things of our world.. if at all….possible.

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  • michael
    August 21, 2006

    Please explane to everyone how money is so powerful in this society and how does the God loving christian make a living to support his family and live in a good faith without comprimising his values..

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  • Charles Darwin
    March 18, 2007

    Jesus is dead, RIP. The vulcan good Yahweh does not exist. Allah is a myth. Satan is nothing. May Atheism reign the world.

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  • jonathan sharp
    April 14, 2007

    Fellow Christans. It is not by our doing that lives are changed by Jesus Christ. It happens because of the Holy Spirit changes everything through us. When we surrendered to do God through his son Jesus Christ he changed our destiny instantly forever. The purpose in our lives as Christans is to spread that Gospel so that others may come to know the truth. As we all know it takes a long time to go from not believing, to having solid faith and trust in Christ. God made a promise that if we train our children up in the ways of the Lord that when they get older they will not turn from it. With that being said it is of great importance that teenagers fit in. God came into my life in a certian manner and he will come into others lives in different ways as well. We do not have to make Jesus “Cool” because he aready is and has been for over 2,000 years. If you ask me the work he did in my life is pretty cool and teenagers will be spoken to just as I was. God tugs at your heart not man. He uses many methods to draw us closer. The new teen movement is a blessing. I praise God for changing lives. Nothing is cooler than that. Read your Bible son!

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  • Potato_Widdler
    January 3, 2008

    Jesus does suck. Not the man, but the idea. Like all religions, it gives a false sense of reality. I know I sound crazy to very religious people, but that emphasizes my point. Without indoctrination, it is clearly obvious that the Jesus myth, like all MYTHs, is false. So religion blinds people from reality. Even if it is a nice idea to a lot of people and makes them feel safe, it is simply not true, no matter how hard you wish it to be. How do you think you would sound telling a Scientologist that s/he is wrong? They wouldn’t believe you either. Think. Peace.

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    • Paul
      November 29, 2010

      So what makes your philosophy right then, that’s if you have one

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  • jcm
    September 16, 2008

    jesus sucks, and don miller’s ‘blue like jazz’ is part of the very problem he decries. it is the new ‘cool’ way of marketing a post-modern jesus for the christians that are intellectually embarrassed and looking for a way to reconcile their liberal ideals with their obsolete religion.

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