Meet some persecuted Christians, some hipsters Christians and those who want to wear bikinis to church

Saturday 1 August 2015

We’ve rounded up some of the most interesting things our Eternity team have read this week, for your weekend reading list: 

The rise of the “hipster” has not left churches unscathed. Indeed there are some churches that have sought to capitalise on it, by buying into the hipster cult of cool. Brett McCracken, author of a book called Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide says that young people don’t come to church to be cool, they come to be real: “Christianity’s true relevance lies not in the gospel’s comfortable trendiness but in its uncomfortable transcendence, as a truth with the power to rebuff, renew and restore wayward humanity as every epoch in history. If we are interested in Christianity in any sort of serious way, it is not because it’s easy or trendy or popular. It’s because Jesus himself is appealing, and what he says rings true. It’s because the world we inhabit is utterly phony, ephemeral, narcissistic, image-obsessed and sex-drenched—and we want an alternative. It’s not because we want more of the same.” Read more here.

On April 2 this year, gunmen opened fire on students at Garissa University in Kenya. The attack was aimed at Christians and 147 people were killed. This week, a large number of students and staff workers involved with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) have gathered in Mexico for the World Assembly. Amongst the attendees are four survivors of the attacks on Garissa University. Watch their testimonies here or below. Bring tissues.

Speaking of persecution, we were surprised to find this series of testimonies on The Guardian‘s website about what it’s like to be a Christian in some of the scarier parts of the world. For example, China: “Despite a period of severe repression in the 1990s, Christianity has blossomed in China. There were only about a million Christians in China when the communists took power in 1949. Today, the country’s state-controlled Protestant and Catholic churches claim at least 23 million members, according to conservative official statistics. Add to that many thousands of unregistered and technically illegal “house” churches, such as Xu’s, and some believe the true figure is nearer 100 million.” Read the testimonies here, and praise God.

We got a chuckle out of this notice a parishioner at St Charbel’s Catholic Church, Punchbowl, in Sydney’s South West posted to the church’s Facebook timeline. It reads: “After much study, our finance committee has determined it would not be feasible to construct an indoor swimming pool in our church. As a result, we can now announce with certainty that those who have been arriving for mass as if dressed for the pool need not do so. Also, we hope to keep the air conditioning cranking all summer long, so you do not need to wear shorts, halter tops or bikinis to Mass.”

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