Interesting blog post on a blog pointed out to me via Twitter: http://praxishabitus.blogspot.com/2009/09/instant-cool-explaining-diffusion-of.html
His point about what this says about network and presentation is correct, but I think about it in terms of shaping our view of the gospel itself in this culture. I pastor a church that has near zero “instant cool” and I am troubled by the implicit associations created by this vocabulary of images. I’m really not so sure how far it is from some sort of a health and wealth gospel not of money but of hip and chic. As often happens I browsed this while musing over Revelation 13, that dramatic chapter about the unholy trinity of the dragon and his two beasts. On one hand it is clear that these churches are producing a sort of art, something powerful and evocative whose power these churches are generously sharing with church plants and smaller groups that via see this power and hope to leverage it into their desperate desire for attendance, mindshare and coolness. Everyone knows marketing is all about the control and manipulation of expectations. An Ipod may not sound any better another mp3 player at a fraction of its cost, but what you purchase with your Apple tax is participation in cult of the white headphones, black turtlenecks and bars that serve up geniuses. You want to create an undertow that draws people in, part of it is connecting to legitimate longings all of which are powered by the God-shaped vacuums of our hearts, yet the marketing images are so deeply associated with our present idols of youth and the accoutrements of the now. I fear a whiplash inducing “bait and switch” moment when the chicness-seeking spiritual consumer discovers that the Christian life is no walk in the mall (or glowy world-saving sojourn into multi-identity, greenish self-expression) but rather a relentless crushing of all idolatrous dreams into a life of simultaneous suffering and joy.