As we live our lives there isn’t a person out there who doesn’t want to be cool. No matter how mature we are, or how far along in our walks with God we might be, we are all pulled toward a desire to be liked and accepted by others.
In Paul Grant’s book, Blessed are the Uncool, he looks into the allure of being cool and how cool-ness can derail our ability to live authentic lives. Grant describes the rebellion that comes with projecting a cool image and the toll that cool-ness takes on our relationships and our spiritual development.
This was an interesting concept and in the second part of Grant’s book, he was especially able to unpack the impact of image on our culture and on our interaction with others. At the same time, however, I found Grant’s description of what being cool really means to be a touch more shallow than I would have expected. As the concept of cool was presented, being disrespectful to authority is where cool-ness seems to reside in Grant’s thinking, whereas a more general concept of inauthenticity or trying to fit in might have served the reader better and made this book more helpful. It has been a long time since I blew off a teacher or I mouthed off to my parents, but there are countless other ways that I try to be cool that compromise relationships and my spiritual growth. Grant’s work was well written and provided and interesting look into how we interact with people, but I felt that he relied perhaps too much on anecdotes to establish what it meant to be cool, and, at times, missed the mark of really getting to the core of the inauthenticity that keeps us from living great lives.
When you think of the influence others have on you, it is remarkable (when we are really honest with ourselves) how influential the opinions of others are in defining us. We all want to be cool… But, more than being cool and gaining acceptance, we want to be ourselves, and it is here that Grant has succeeded in his book and where Christians need to succeed if we are going to live authentic lives.