West coast culture is very laid back, from California U.S.A to Vancouver B.C there is a “Cascadia vibe” a desire to move out of the mainstream. Coffee bars and micro-breweries have been the brew house of Hipster-ism.
Hipster-ism has developed and moved across the entire face of North America on both sides of the 49th Parallel. Springing up came micro-breweries. Old Brick buildings were revamped with rustic wood, sheet metal décor and low lighting.
Hipsters –ism began as a movement to be un-mainstream to seek to be an un-branded sort of cool, sipping on lattes and sleeves of hoppy beer in a relaxed atmosphere hipster-ism has now become mainstream, and become a brand.
But what does this “new brand” have to do with the church?
Let me say first…
I t is true that Christian liberty may allow you to visit a micro-brewery with its sheet metal and rustic wood and brick walls and imbibe in one of Martin Luther’s favorite beverages .
(He once praised his wife for making the best beer).
Of course that liberty, if you have it, is not to be used to hurt those with a weaker conscience by flaunting that liberty. That is sin.
Now let me say this…
We ought to take great issue with the Micro-brewery branding of the local church.
Have you seen it?
Churches now beginning as, or moving toward an atmosphere of micro- brewery like funky stylings of décor, low lighting, and it’s all too casual approach to God and His word.
The world has enough Micro- Breweries and gentrified coffee shops.
Our culture has enough of these Hip things we have enough of the Branding and posturing that goes along with self-identification with all things trendy.
What we need in ourselves as those who are Christians and what those need who are not yet Christians is an atmosphere where the intangible reality of the Holy Spirit of God dwells.
In such an environment you may feel both comforted and uncomfortable at the same time. God is merciful, God is Holy.
God is not Hip. He does not brand himself in the culture of this world.
God is Holy and where the Holy Spirit is who exalts Jesus the Son we find a Kingdom not a Culture.
We find a Kingdom that is not of this world, a Kingdom that Has a King who bestows eternal life to those who turn to Him in genuine faith. We don’t walk in and order what we want, find a comfortable seat and relax. If that’s what you want, go to the micro-brewery or the gentrified coffee shop. But don’t confuse the Kingdom of Heaven with the Culture of the world.
Our Christian liberty is extremely important but our christian liberty can never… ever… lead the way, in either our worship of God or union with Christ.
If I were an unbeliever seeking God and decided I would like to really discover this true and living God who created me, I would be very disappointed to see Him simply another Brand in a culture of over- branded-ness.
Let us never make God out to be a Brand He’s too Good for that, let us not confuse the Culture of the world for the Kingdom of God.
Do not brand your church, instead be a living body of believers repenting of sin and conforming to Christ. Carry the aroma eternity and simply speak the message of salvation through Christ that is of another Kingdom.