Is Orthodoxy cool? Something Donald Miller was playing with in his Blue Like Jazz book made me ask that question for the first time. In a recent late night read I had the pleasure of polishing off Heath & Potter’s chapter, ‘From status-seeking to coolhunting’, in Nation of Rebels: Why counterculture became consumer culture. They were wrestling with what ‘coolhunting’ looks like in American culture. It made we wonder what coolhunting looks like in our churches.

Being cool is something most of us value, even the idea of not caring about being cool is a cool in itself. But what does this word cool mean? How do people hunt for what is cool? Is there a key to cool-hunting? Heath & Potter suggest there is and this it;

The key to coolhunting, then, is to look for cool people first and cool things latter, not the other way around. Since cool things are changing, you can’t look for them, because the very fact they are cool means you have no idea what to look for.”

Cool-hunting lands on people first and cool things latter. So finding cool is more about finding the right people rather than finding cool things. What could this look like in the church? One way of answering this is by considering how polemicist in the Church go about identifying and judging another person’s orthodoxy. There are things that are pretty standard, like: the Trinity, Christ’s humanity and divinity, the Bible as God’s word; but just outside the standard there’s a second role that values go by, which they use to acknowledge someone’s orthodoxy. For instance today many times its what people believe about hot issues, like: the New Perspective, the Emerging Church, or certain leaders.

Evaluating and identifying orthodoxy is a way of being cool, and telling others that they are cool too. Now its more than this, but its not less than this. And as cool goes it can come in different proportions. Some of the ‘really orthodox’ types have a lot of cool weight to throw around, while others just want to latch onto them because its a way of being socially in, so and so is in my PDA or cell. Still there are others in seeking to be counterculture to the ‘really orthodox’ types, they throw stones at the heavy weights, for them the way to be cool is to not be aligned with valuing orthodoxy – which in itself doesn’t make them less orthodox just not in.

Since orthodoxy is a way of being cool there is a danger that the power that accompanies being cool might turn those who are orthodox, and heavy weight’s in it,  into bully’s. Be careful here though, the problem isn’t orthodoxy per se or pointing out those who aren’t orthodox and warning others which is actually a good thin, the problem is how believers can use their orthodoxy, their cool, to bully others who are also orthodox but may not be on the inside of our paticular traditions community. And the problem of bullying in the Church isn’t going anywhere…as long as there is orthodoxy there will be cool culture in the church, and the people we first identify with it will generally tell many of us what issues are cool and which ones are not.

So if you’re orthodox, you’re cool, but are you the kind of cool person who loves mercy more than judgement? Do you realize that being cool can sometimes puff you up and cause you to forget that you may be judging another cool person who’s just further out from you little cool nich? Are you the kind of person that realizes your cool is based on Christ’s grace toward you? Have you bullied someone with your orthodoxy? Has someone bullied you? With the power of orthodoxy cool comes the responsability of caring for the body, and glorifying the “I Am”…