OTR – Brett McCracken

I subscribe to Relevant Magazine and last week I read an article that gave a fantastic Biblical answer to the question of how Christians should determine what movies are appropriate for us to watch. You can read a short version of that article here. The author is a guy named Brett McCracken and I was instantly intrigued by him. He works as the managing editor for Biola magazine, of Biola University in California. He also writes for Christianity Today, Relevant Magazine, and has his first book is coming out August 1st called “Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide.” He’s also a movie critic.

Brett is sending me a few autographed copies of his book to give away. Here’s how it will work. For every time you promote this interview with a link on your Facebook, Twitter, or blog, you can let us know by leaving a comment here. For every comment you will get your name entered into the drawing (up to 3 times per person – 1 twitter, 1 Facebook, and 1 blog post). So promote this interview and then let us know where you promoted it and you’ll get your name entered into the drawing for Brett’s new book that isn’t even available yet. (BTW… we are using the honor system here so if you post a link saying that you posted this interview on your Facebook, I’m going to take your word for it). I’ll announce the winners on Friday so you have till Thursday night to figure out how to get your name in up to 3 times.

hipster christianity - brett mccrackenJeremy: Tell us something odd/unique about you.                                                                                                                            Brett: No matter how hard I try, I simply can’t whistle.

Jeremy: What are 5 movies that most Christians probably haven’t seen but that you think they should because they contain truth?
Brett: The Son (dir. by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne); Days of Heaven (dir. Terrence Malick); Bright Star (dir. Jane Campion); Late Spring (dir. Yasujio Ozu); Munyurangabo (dir. Lee Isaac Chung).

Jeremy: Do you think people are born leaders or develop into leaders?
Brett: As with everything, it’s probably a bit of both–nature AND nurture. I think leadership develops first and foremost out of conviction–for a belief, a cause, an idea. The people who become great leaders are often the ones who are driven the most by something outside of themselves.

Jeremy: How can people put themselves into a position to influence culture?
Brett: Read a lot. I really think this is fundamental. If you are trying to influence culture, but are unaware of the ideas shaping it, you won’t get very far. Spend all your free time reading books, newspapers, magazines. Mostly books. Make time for it. Become educated on a diverse array of subjects–everything from history to theology to pop culture–and find an area that particularly interests you that you can go deep with. Feed yourself with ideas from others. Only after you know what has been said and done will you be able to say and do things to shape and influence the culture.

Jeremy: Why are you a follower of Jesus Christ?                                                                                                                                                                                             Brett: Short Calvinist answer: God sought me and saved me by grace. Longer Arminian answer: I choose to believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I choose to believe that because of Christ’s sinless life, death on the cross, and resurrection, the world has hope of redemption and renewal, and I–by grace–am absolved of my sins.

Jeremy: What do you do personally to fuel your spiritual life?
Brett: I try to read the Bible every day, as well as other books that contain spiritual insights. Also, because I’m a very busy person and have a hard time sitting still and not “being productive,” I’ve tried to force myself to have periods of stillness in my life, where I can just dwell on God’s glorious attributes.

Jeremy: What is your hope for the future of the Church in America?
Brett: I hope the church in America can become more unified–across denominations, across theological disputes (Reformed vs. non-Reformed), across racial and ethnic lines. Unity in the church can be such a great witness, but sadly when most outsiders look at Christianity today they see a lot of disunity. They see a lot of “progressive” Christians pointing fingers at the Pat Robertson types saying “I’m not one of THOSE Christians.” And you have Korean churches that meet down the street from white churches and the two never collaborate on any community activities. I long to see a more unified front in the church in America, and in the world.

Jeremy: Should we abandon the use of the word “Christian” for a better term? If so, what?
Brett: Absolutely not. Just because a word has some baggage doesn’t mean we should abandon it. Every word has baggage. All these “I Love Christ but not Christians” books really annoy me… you can’t have Christianity without the church, and you can’t have it without a whole lot of fallible screwups who you might be embarrassed to associate with. Luckily, the gospel can withstand all that, and Christ’s name will reign supreme in spite of his followers. I say we own the term proudly, on account of the power of the name of Christ and our humility as his imperfect followers.

Jeremy: What blogs/websites do you regularly check?
Brett: ChristianityToday.com, Lookingcloser.org, EW.com, scriptoriumdaily.com, pitchfork.com, thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/, firstthings.com/blogs/evangel/

Jeremy: Which books have shaped your thinking?
Brett: Marilynne Robinson, Gilead; Neil Postman, Technopoly and Amusing Ourselves to Death; George Steiner, Real Presences; Martin Buber, I & Thou; N.T. Wright, Surprised By Hope and After You Believe; C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory; Os Guinness, Prophetic Untimeliness; F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Anything by Dostoevskey.

Jeremy: What music moves you?
Brett: Over the Rhine, Sufjan Stevens, Innocence MIssion, Denison Witmer, Damien Jurado, a lot of classical music, anything by Chopin.

Jeremy: Any other thoughts or advice?                                                                                                                                                                                                              Brett: Read N.T. Wright’s After You Believe as soon as you can.

Read other Off the Record interviews here.

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Jeremy Jernigan

Speaker | Author | Founder of Communion Wine Co. https://linktr.ee/JeremyJernigan