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AlyssaArens
Dr.KendraParker
ENGL11303
30January2015
ChristianityforDummies:TomsShoesandaGuitar
FormanyAmericans,faithisacomplextopic.Somehavegrownupalwaysbelievingin
ahigherpower,whetherthosebeliefsweretaughtwithinafamilyorculturalcontext,ormerely
discoveredoutofpurecuriosity.Othershavehadmonumentalexperiencesthathavecaused
themtorunawayfromthepossibilityofanysortofGodthatlooksoutforthem.Manypossess
suchathoroughscientificbackgroundinwhichabeliefincreationismwouldbedenyingthe
scientificfactthattheireducationsarerootedin.However,withnearly4,200religionsbeing
practicedallaroundtheworld,itcanbedifficulttopinpointwhatistrue;andtherefore,whatis
worthinvestingoneslifeinto.Christianityisclearlythemostpopularreligionpracticedinthe
UnitedStates.WhentheUnitedStatesfirstbecameanation,itwasevidentthattheChristian
faithhadalargeimpactonthemoresandnormsofsociety.Manyofthesesocialnormsand
moralexpectationsarestillseentodayinsociety,whileothersarebeginningtofade.Asthe
UnitedStatesexpandsindiversity,aninfluxofalternatereligionsandviewsonfaithareflooding
theAmericanpeople.Agnosticsandatheistsarealsoincreasinginnumber,anditseemsthatour
societyisbecomingincreasinglytolerabletothisnewvarietyofreligiousbeliefs.Althoughfaith
iscomplexforsome,themillennialgeneration,perhapsthemostliberalgenerationthatAmerica
hasseeninitsexistence,maynotseefaithassuchamindbogglingthing.Believingin
somethinggreaterthanoneselfishumbling;infact,itcouldevenbeseenastrendy.Formany

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millennialChristians,faithisnomorethandonatingsomemoneytocharities,adoptingthe
modestishottestChristianstyle,andlearningtoplayacouplehymnsontheguitar.The21st
centuryChristianlifestylefadofthemillennialgenerationhasbothintriguedandrepellednon
Christiansduetotheappealingfaadeofthelifestyleanditsquestionableintentions.
TheincreasinglypopularfadofthemillennialgenerationChristianlifestylereveals
Christianstobeplacidminimalists,leadingnonChristianstotheperceptionthatChristianslivea
simplisticandeasylifestyle.Christiansgrowingupinthe21stcenturyhaveadoptedacertain
lookthatisvisuallyappealingtomanyoutsiders.Itbeginswithstyle:theTomsshoes,
Patagoniasweaters,andtattoosoftheirfavoriteBibleverses(usuallythetypicalJohn3:16or
Philippians4:13).Theoccasionaldreadlockcanreallyaddtothelookaswell.However,more
thanjuststyle,Christiansareoftenknownforparticipatinginaparticularsetofactivities.Not
onlydotheyspendtheirSundaysatchurch,buttheyspendtheirfreetimeplayingguitar,diving
intoTheWordatlocalcoffeeshops,andtakingannualmissiontripstothirdworldcountries.
Althoughnoneofthesestyleorlifestyleaspectsarebadthings,theyarenotnecessarilygood
thingseither.Insimplerterms,brandsandhobbieswillnotgetsomeoneaticketintoheaven.
ThereisnolookthatallChristfollowersmustadhereto;neitheristhereanexistingformulaof
activitiesandaccomplishmentsthatmustbedonetoequalapleasedGod.Itisevidentthatin
everysociety,eachgroupinhibitsitsnormsandstereotypes.However,beingaChristianisnot
merelybeingapartofagroup.Christianityisalifestylechoice;andalthoughthatmaycome
withcertainactivitiesandtraditionsthatotherChristiansmayshare,therearenolifestyle
requirementsthattheBiblehaslaidout.

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Thedangerincreatingtheseunestablished,yetevidentlyexistentparametersand
expectationsforChristiansisthatitiscontradictorytowhatGodspeaksinHisWord.On
multiplebiblicaloccasions,theLordcommandsnottofixoureyesandprideuponearthlythings,
andthatthesethingswillleadtodestruction.However,forcurrentdaymillennialChristians,
styleisbecomingaviceforconveyingtheirfaiths.Simplylookingtheparthasbecomeenough
forcurrentChristians.AlthoughTomsshoescommitnoevidentharmtotheworldinfact,
theirclaimisthatwitheverypurchase,theywilldonateapairofshoestoanunderprivileged
childwearingthemisfarfromevangelistic.Goddoesnotsay,Gointotheworldandproclaim
thegospeltothewholecreation,whilewearingTomsshoes.
TheseriskystereotypesthatChristianshaveputuponthemselvesmayactuallyhavean
oppositeevangelisticeffect.NonChristiansmaybeeasilyattractedtothevisualoutside
appearanceofChristians.Tothem,theChristianlifestylemayappeartobenomorethana
brandnamepairofshoes,aguitararoundyourneck,andsomevolunteerhours.Thisresultsina
Christianchecklist.However,whenanalyzingGodstruecommandsforaChristianlifestyle,
oranylifestyleforthatmatter,itisevidentthatalifestylecannotbeconvertedintochecklist
form.Iffaithwasmerelymaterialisticandeasilytangible,thenitwouldbesimple:Patagonia
sweater?Check.Guitar?Check.ShorttermmissiontriptoAfrica?Check.Peopleareadopting
thewrongideaoftheChristianlifestyle.RatherthanclaimingChristianitybecauseoftheir
loveforGodandtopreachtheGospel,theyclaimittobeapartofanemergentlypopulargroup.
Asfarasevangelismgoes,thesematerialisticChristiansappeartobedoingnothingfortheir
religion,andnothingforGod.IfmaterialisticChristiansarepreachingtomaterialisticChristians,

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allthatresultsisabunchofTomswearing,KumbayasingingChristiansthathavenoreal
reasonbehindtheirfaiths.
The materialistic lifestyle of millennial Christians, although appealing, obscures the
underlying motivators behind a Christian faith, resulting in a skewed view of Christianity by
non-Christians. Teenagers have always been known to keep up with the latest fashions and fads.
In fact, it is human nature to go with the grain, to follow the crowd. Although this increasing
acceptance of the Christian lifestyle is encouraging to Christians of all generations, this presents
a dangerous future for Christianity. Faith has become such an egocentric thing in American
culture. It is about what that Christian is wearing or where that other Christian is going on his or
her mission trip. Christians are living out this specific lifestyle only to receive praise and
admiration of others. This causes us to take a step back and wonder why Christian culture is
becoming so widely accepted amongst millennials. One evident explanation is that the current
generation of Christians is becoming increasingly liberal. Although the Bibles truths defend
many conservative political views on subjects such as gay marriage and abortion, these do not
seem to faze millennial Christians. Rather, they believe they have the inner power to apply the
Bible as they wish, however it may fit best into their lives. The millennial generation has grown
up in a world that is tailored to simplicity and pleasure, and that is just how they view and apply
faith. So, although millennials may be in the scheme of depicting such an appealing Christian
lifestyle, it is highly possible that their actions and motives do not reflect a God-led life at all.
Another reason for the acceptance of the Christian lifestyle is that its trendy aspects coincide
with common culture. Millennial Christians embrace minimalism, caring for the environment,
and exploring Gods creation. These also are all popular topics in American culture. So, although
these new Christians are not completely aware of what a faith is, and what following God is

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meant to look like, it can be easily played off. They attach onto what can be seen: the style, the
volunteering, the hobbies, rather than a private faith practice that is intrinsically motivated.
Unfortunately, this materialistic Christian lifestyle only leads outsiders to believe that
Christianity is nothing bigger than oneself.
Although the lifestyle of the millennial Christians is not necessarily sinful or selfharming, it is not being aimed towards evangelism and furthering the kingdom of God. Rather, it
has become an egocentric phenomenon that aims only at achieving a certain look.
Unfortunately, the results of this Christian lifestyle has the tendency to go against much of what
is said in the Bible, by putting undeclared expectations and regulations amongst Christians. It is
questionable whether or not the acceptance of the Christian lifestyle is merely due to the trendy
Christian lifestyle which is based upon materialism and promoting oneself through good
deeds. Although the popularity of living a Christian life is increasing and may be more accepted
by the increasingly liberal millennial population, it lacks roots of reason for having a faith. If the
Christian lifestyle really is just a fad, there is concern for the future of Christianity when it is no
longer seen as being trendy.