Uncool

Let’s be honest, Christianity is uncool. If anything qualifies as an uncool worldview, it’s being a follower of Christ. If you are living for Christ, you are not one of the cool kids.

Uncool: failing to accord with the values or styles (as of dress or behavior) of a particular groupnot accepted or admired as cool.

Regardless of where or when we’ve lived over the last two thousand years, followers of Christ are not, have never been, and will never be, a part of the in-crowd. I’m uncool, but I’m okay with that.

It’s kind of funny when I think about it; ALS has forced me to double down on my uncoolness. Being paralyzed, I can’t even dress myself in stylish clothes or brush my own hair. I’m thankful that Mary and others buy me nice clothes to keep me fashionable. After my shower this morning, Mary even sprayed cologne on me after getting me dressed. I think I’m probably one of the best dressed and sweetest smelling recluses in the world. But, I’m still uncool.

I made a commitment to follow Christ in 1983, at the age of twenty-three. This was thirteen years before being diagnosed with ALS. I knew at the time that becoming a follower of Christ was a really uncool thing to do. But, in the thirty-six years that I’ve been a follower of Christ, it’s a commitment I’ve never regretted making. Thirty-four years ago today (11/2/19), Mary and I were married. This is another commitment I’ve never regretted making. She loves me unconditionally, uncoolness and all.

“…everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33)

I heard on the news that the famous music artist, Kanye West, confessed that he has become a follower of Christ. Do you think his public confession will make Christianity seem cool in the eyes of his fans? Maybe some will listen to his testimony and choose to become followers of Christ. I sure hope so. But, if his commitment is real and lasting, the majority of his fans will think he has become uncool and follow someone’s that’s cool in their eyes. That’s just the way it works.

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19).

Before becoming a follower of Christ, among other things, I did think of Christians as uncool, but I didn’t hate them. I was pretty much a whatever kind of guy. After all, I was raised in America; I didn’t care what you believed or practiced as long as you didn’t tell me how to live or what to believe. However, it’s not that way in most of the world.

Through my work as an Online Missionary with Global Media Outreach and through this blog, I’ve had the privilege of communicating with followers of Christ all over the world. Most people don’t know about this, but the fastest growing church in the world is in – IRAN! (There’s an excellent documentary about this on YouTube).

In Iran, it’s not just uncool to be a follower of Christ, it’s also illegal. The rapidly growing church in Iran is entirely underground. They meet in small groups in the homes of brave men and women. These courageous people are risking their lives for the sake of Christ, just like the first Christians did.

But, it doesn’t matter if you live in an Islamic country or in an open society like America, living as a born again follower of Christ, is the ultimate counter-cultural life. But it’s still uncool. 

I started reading the Gideon Bible that I stole from a hotel room when I twenty-one. As I said, I became a born again Christian two years later. I’m a slow learner. Before reading John’s Gospel, I thought that the term “born again” was like “Jesus freak” – just another term to make fun of Christians. I had no idea that all true Christians are born again. I didn’t say this, these are the words of Jesus:

“Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…unless one is born of water (natural birth) and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, “You must be born again.’ (John 3:3-7)

Do you consider yourself to be a Christian, but you’re hesitant to call yourself a born again Christian?

Why?

Is it because you’ve spent years crafting an image of yourself that you must uphold?

In a sense, I suppose that Jesus is Lord over a motley crew, from the world’s point of view, anyway. It’s a group that includes those who have been humbled by life’s hardships; disease and despair, addiction and abuse, poverty, and loneliness. As the Apostle Paul wrote, Christ’s followers are viewed by many as “…the scum of the world, the dregs of all things…” Sign me up!

When I was a teenager, leisure suits and flowered shirts with giant collars were cool. You can see where I’m going with this. What’s cool today will be laughed about by the next generation. Only temporary things are cool. Followers of Christ might not be cool, but we have a permanent and eternal hope that will never disappoint.

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29).

About Bill Sweeney

In 1996, Bill was diagnosed with ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) and the doctors told him he had 3-5 years to live. He is now completely paralyzed and unable to speak, but by God’s grace, he’s still alive and through his blog shares a message of hope in Christ - Unshakable Hope!

Posted on November 2, 2019, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 79 Comments.

  1. Happy anniversary to you and Mary. 🙂 I’m also grateful for being an uncool recipient of “permanent and eternal hope that will never disappoint.” Thank you again. Bill, for reminding us why we’re blessed to be part of the uncool crowd.
    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

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  2. In my book, someone living his or her faith is very cool.

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  3. Happy anniversary!! I think you are super cool Bill, in an uncool Christian way.

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  4. Hi Bill,

    I get it. What we can do as believers is live out a life of faith. Those become unsatisfied with this world will see the entire Christian life as needful, desirous, and important. Pretty cool in the right way.

    In Christ,

    Gary

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  5. Uncool forever! And happy anniversary to you and your wonderful wife, Bill! (We were married about a month and a half before you two the same year, btw). “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” ~2 Corinthians 4:18 18

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  6. First, belated happy anniversary!!
    According to the definition of “uncool”, Christians who stick to the values or styles within their particular group are considered cool. Part of the reason Christianity is uncool is because there are several ‘particular groups’ with each having different values and styles. Part of the reason a person might not want to call themselves a “born again Christian” is because “born again” to some people, has become synonymous with a hyper-religious person, who isn’t necessarily a kind or loving one. They would rather just say they’re a follower of Jesus. I have no doubt that some Christians, under the influence of their particular group, have crafted an image of themselves that they feel they must uphold in order to carry and perpetuate the “born again” label. What one particular group sees as “the world” or “worldly”, another particular group sees as simply less conservative. Sometimes “the world” or what is worldly becomes more subjective than objective. Sadly, it’s one of the things that has caused so much division within the body of Christ, and that is uncool.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great points, Rene. I wasn’t part of a church when I became a born again Christian. In truth, I still wanted nothing to do with “organized religion” (whatever that is). For about four months I just read the Bible and that’s how my beliefs were formed. It was all so simple. I was afraid to go to church because I thought I denominations and politics… Would ruin my simple faith. I was right. So many times I’ve wanted to go back and lock myself in my little studio apartment. But there’s no going back. Life is hard and complicated regardless of what we believe, Rene.

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  7. Nope, not hesitant about calling myself a born again Christian. As you say, there is no other kind. 😊 I’ve never been cool, so why worry now, right? Great post, as always. I did not know that about IRAN. Something to add to my prayers. Your in my prayers as well. 😊

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  8. If “cool” means to be admired, then you, Bill and Mary, are two of the coolest people I know! You’ve got a whole fan base who greatly appreciate your example of faith, perseverance, positivity, and courage–cool traits to be sure. Happy Anniversary!

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  9. I’m on board! I’d rather be uncool with eternity as my prize than being temporarily cool with eternal separation from God, any day!

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  10. Beautifully written Bill. Like you, I used to have little use for Christians, As long as they left me alone I didn’t much care what they did or said. Now, 42 years as a Christian has taught me that living for Jesus will never be cool in the eyes of the world. No matter, I am perfectly fine with that!
    Have a blessed day my friend!

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  11. As a child I always looked upon those who I recognized had “faith” as being very intriguing; yet very naive to the world. They possessed a ‘calm’ and ‘peacefulness’ I couldn’t understand because to me they seemed ‘SO weird.’ How could they be so clueless and yet so happy?? DIdn’t they understand how many others made fun of them??? How could they at least not TRY to act as others did, so that they didn’t draw such judgement upon themselves. But then I found my own personal relationship with God and it clicked. I knew what it meant to be FREE of MAN’S judgement and I at long last ‘understood….’ I am now so GRATEFUL to be a Jesus Freak, a NERD for God, and any other label the cool people place onto the sticky-note-upon-my-forehead! I pray one day they’ll join us and discover the peacefulness and joy of being so UNcool! Hugs Bill to both you and Mary, may you be blessed throughout the upcoming year and may you celebrate many more Anniversaries together – cologne or no cologne!! ❤️❤️

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    • Thank you, Dawn Marie. You and I both thought Christians were naive, weird, clueless, and so much more. Every churchgoer comes to the crossroad of cool and uncool. This is the point where we choose whether we’ll please God or man. None of us wants to be viewed as weird, naive, and clueless… The temptation to turn on cool street is powerful. It’s a daily decision.

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  12. In my eyes, you and Mary are the coolest! Happy Anniversary! Always good to read your posts.

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  13. Great post Bill.
    I hope you and Mary had a wonderful Anniversary.
    I was excited to read that Christianity is growing in Iran, thank you for sharing the news!
    I remember watching the Cairo’s Cave Church singing hymns and I shed tears of joy.
    You are an inspiration to so many and that is cool 🙂

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  14. Barbara Gallagher

    Bill, makes me so happy to read this and to wish you a very happy anniversary, it’s really still a work in progress for me to not want to be COOL! Finally getting it but at the not so young age of 64, I’m a very slow learner! Thx for your messages! Barb (Sullivan) Gallagher ❤️

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  15. Your posts are always thought-provoking!
    After reading this, I discovered my goal in life is actually to be uncool. 🙃

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  16. An uplifting post, Bill. We can grow discouraged, as Christians, when confronted by repeated rejection from society. But society’s approval is not the approval that matters, or the approval we should crave. That is Christ’s alone.

    I was not aware of your involvement w/ Global Media Outreach, but it comes as surprise. You are a man who his priorities straight. Thank you for sharing your wisdom w/ the rest of us!

    Your friend,

    A. ❤

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    • Thank you, Anna. It really is all about the approval we’re seeking. Global Media Outreach is the perfect ministry for shut-ins like me. We can reach the whole world with the good news from the comfort of home.

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  17. Happy Anniversary to you and Mary! Love reading your blog! Christianity is one “click” I enjoy bring in! Cool and all! Xoxo

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  18. I laughed when I read this because just yesterday at work my co-workers were making fun of me–right in front of me. I guess thinking that I was too stupid to get it–they’re so cool 🙂
    I had shared with one of them about my book coming out and now I might as well have three heads. So I had been speaking the two scriptures, that you posted in your message, to the Lord yesterday, in response to their treatment. I am so glad I’m not cool! I just don’t have time to make fun of people that are different than me.
    So from one uncool family member to another, may I have your mailing address? I would like to gift you and Mary a copy of my first book “Comfort in the Challenge” when it comes out, that is if you would like it. I promise your address will not be used for anything other than to get you the book! Your presence on my blog has been a blessing to me and you are such a beautiful light to the world. Thank you, for all your hard work in following His call on your life. It must take tremendous strength from both of you, may your blessings be unequaled and abounding!
    You may email me at wordscroll@gmail.com
    Happy Anniversary!!!
    Lori O’Neil
    P.S. I remember my bell bottoms were red, white and blue striped with stars on the inset that made them extra belled…shudder. Oh, and I can’t forget the purple suede platform clog shoes that had 4 in heels. I fell off those walking down the hall in high school, grabbed my best friend and took her down with me. Lol those were the days my friend!

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  19. We spend so much time in this country–probably globally–crafting an image that gets us noticed and admired, winks “likes” and encourages others of how necessary we are to life that it’s easy to lose sight of what’s real and lasting. And definitely uncool. Jesus spent so much time just being with people, knowing He confused many, offended some, and really ticked off the big wigs–and yet that never lessened His love and commitment to this very broken world of ours. You’re right, Bill–following Jesus will never be cool. But there is nothing as eternally rewarding as what He has done for me and how He sees me as His own chosen child, celebrated and enjoyed like no one in this world can do. Thanks for the reminder of what my focus needs to be.

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  20. Amen! Christians are not cool when they choose to do what the Bible teaches and stand by it. We only become cool when we compromise our standards or do something extraordinary that cannot be refuted or disputed. Thank God the bible has encouraging words for us in times of persecution. Great post! This is relevant even in “Christian nations”.

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  21. At the risk of redundancy…HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!! 🎊🎈🎉
    I’ve begun to follow Frontier Alliance International. They had a big prayer meeting in Washington dc for the Kurds and are very active in Middle East – very much in Iran. So glad you’re into Global Missions – there’s no cooler place than in the shadow of our Savior! Bob and I send our love to you and Mary! ❤❤

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    • Thank you, Lisa. I feel so bad for the Kurdish people. I will be praying for them. Being Armenian, you know how dangerous that part of the world is.

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      • I am so grieved. Much of my family is from Aleppo, there from forced desert march. I still have relatives there. Now the Turks got the green light to launch in and finish the job they started in 1915. Crying out to God to confound the Turks and thwart their plans!
        Thank you brother for your kind heart, remembering the Armenians…the Kurds and Yazidis too.

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        • It’s horrible and sad, Lisa. The Turks claim that they’re going after “terrorists,” but they classify their Kurdish enemies as terrorists. I don’t like the decision to pull out the small training force America had in Syria.

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  22. Glad to be uncool with you, friend!!! I also wish I was more outspoken … and more willing to prove my uncoolness 🙂

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  23. Annette Converse

    Bill and Mary ~~ Happy Anniversary 💕 So enjoy your posts Bill. They are always encouraging. Funny ~~ Polyester, shiny Leisure Suits will always be etched in our minds. 😂
    Thank you Bill
    Annette 🙏🏼✝️

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  24. I have been a follower of Christ my whole life. Who cares about uncool!

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  25. Happy Anniversary you two! You were never uncool to me. Love you

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  26. Happy anniversary Bill and Mary! I have a confession to make. Somehow I never really thought of you as not being cool. Matter of fact, I thought the two of you (you and Mary) were really something special and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in my thinking. Cool from the world’s perspective, maybe not so much, but you’re in good company as a child of God! God’s continued grace, peace and blessings to both of you. – Bruce

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  27. Happy Anniversary Bill and Mary! Another wonderful post, Bill. Thank you. You really put things in the proper perspective. With all due respect, though, leisure suits were never cool.

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  28. You may be uncool but still managed to win the coolest chick! Happy Anniversary
    Love
    Janet

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  29. Happy Anniversary. I love being a follower of Jesus and do not care if the world thinks us as ‘uncool’. It is the best way to be.

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  30. Happy Anniversary to a super cool dynamic duo!! 😊💐

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  31. Like you, I like being uncool. Best way to be.

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  32. Great post, Bill. I’ve never, ever been “cool” in the world’s view, but it doesn’t matter. I do not hesitate to say I’m a born-agan, Bible-believing Christian. There’s no doubt about it to anyone who knows me, and I’m totally cool with being UNcool 🙂

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  33. Dear Bill and Mary, Have a blessed anniversary. What a delight to check on Reader and find you first. Usually, you have blogged long before I can get here. I am following by email from now on so that I know when you post. I am having to cut back on reading in order to finish other work. We are close to publishing Beyond a mere Christianity ~ the extreme to an uncool Christianity. Would you email your address there in Texas where I can send Mary a paperback copy? I will send the PDF copy for you to your email address. How is your book coming? Much love, prayers, and blessings.

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    • Thank you, Fran. I enjoy and my faith is strengthened by reading the posts of the friends I follow, but I got to where I was spending hours a day reading posts. I just can’t do that anymore. I am spending a lot more time offline these days. Thanks for the paperback copy of your book. I’ll email you our address.

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  34. Ya but in the long run we get to spend eternity with the coolest one of all (and be like hIm).
    Happy anniversary Bill and Mary, still praying for you!

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  35. I’ve heard that the two countries where the Church is growing fastest are Iran and China! You’d think after 2000 years people would figure out that trying to stop the spread of the gospel with persecution is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.
    We are on the same page, I think. As I said in my blog yesterday, we are not cool, never have been, never will be. It’s definitely freeing to stop trying. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  36. Happy Anniversary…..A happy life together…now that is cool

    Liked by 3 people

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