On Being Cool

Have you noticed that for a large segment of our population, the greatest virtue has become "coolness?"

We base what we have to say on whether it sounds "cool" or not.

We base what we wear on whether it looks "cool" or not.

We hopefully drive a vehicle that we believe makes us appear to be "cool."

We go to places where the "cool" people go.

We try to hang out with "cool" people.

We may choose our recreation and hobbies on the basis of what the "cool" people seem to be doing.

We may even vote for a presidential candidate on whether he seems to be "cool" or not. ("Who really cares about where he stands on the issues if he looks and sounds cool?")

If someone or something happens to get labeled "not cool," then we will likely try to avoid it (or them) like the plague. To be "not cool" is the kiss of death.

We want to affirm "cool" movies, "cool" music, "cool" celebrities.

What’s this all about? How did "coolness" come to be the supreme virtue? And what is "coolness" anyway?

Well, of course, it’s a vague word. And it can mean a lot of things.

But perhaps the word has certain connotations that may turn out to be… well… "not so cool."

A lot of us use the word to simply mean, "something I can approve of" That’s cool. We can live with that definition.

But the word can become more sinister when it becomes a goal, a desired end, an outcome we strive to obtain, or a virtue that seems to trump other values.

When "coolness" becomes a virtue, it is clear evidence that we have lost our Biblical moorings (that is, assuming we ever had Biblical moorings in the first place).

Jesus said, "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way." (Lu 6:26)

The false prophets were cool.

The apostle John wrote, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1Jo 2:15-17)

Paul wrote, "For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ." (Ga 1:10)

To strive to be "cool" is to be occupied about what other people might be thinking about us. It’s ultimately a miserable way to live.

There is a much better way. Paul writes about it to the Colossians. "Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth." (Col 3:1-2)

There are plenty of warnings like this in Scripture. Let me give you one more. Hold on to your socks…

"For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace," (Ro 8:5-6)

Let that sink in for a moment. So many things that so many people think are "cool" are, according to Scripture, death. And death is not so cool.

Are lots of the things that you do or say or wear not so cool? Don’t sweat it. You may be the cool one after all!

Do you understand what I’m trying to say? Well, cool!

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