Who are these new Urban Christians? What's up with the afros, long hair, grunge or gangster attire? Have you been to a Christian rock concert? You can hardly tell the difference between it and a Rolling Stones Concert - there are crowds of long-haired teens and young adults, swaying to the music, holding up lighters. Have you been to a Gospel concert? It's just like going to see any popular R&B artist - everybody's in their nicest clothes (which includes low riders and midriff tees), fur coats are front and center and people drive up in Hummers, Navigators and Escalades, bling-blinging away. Are these really 'Christians' or has this generation of believers simply lost its way?
Before we get too carried away, we must remember that each new generation of Christians brings a new flavor, a new style, and a new way to worship God. Pastor Rick Warren, author of the popular 'Purpose Driven Life', pastors his church in khakis and polo shirts (and, for him, that's dressing up!). Go to any large congregation, and you'll be treated to part-sermon, part skit, part video presentation and lots of contemporary music. Is this a bad thing? I have to believe the answer is no. Ask any teenager or young adult worshipping in these services if they know who God is, and they will say yes. As a matter of fact, ask any American if they are believers, and they will say yes as well (even if they haven't seen the inside of a church since grade school).
The question we really have to ask ourselves is whether or not the Christian message is getting out there. Does the average person feel like they have a relationship with God and do they feel like knowing God makes a difference in their lives? The answer is invariably yes. Are people less 'tuned in' to traditional religious beliefs than in previous times? That answer is yes as well. But, this is only natural in this booming information age we live in. There is so christian mysticism churches information about different spiritual beliefs, it is only natural that someone seeking enlightenment will sample Buddhist, Zen or mystical practices. Is this a good thing? Maybe.
One line of thinking is that the exploration of spirituality (of any sort) will enhance a person's interest in seeking a Higher Power, which will lead them to knowing God. Another line of thinking is that exploration of other religions and spiritual practices will confuse people and lead them to take on a hodge-podge of beliefs and value systems. What do I think? I am happy that people are seeking God, even if it sometimes takes them on a different path than the one that I have chosen. My hope is that, when this thing we call Time comes to an end, it will all be made clear. And we will discover the One who is the center of all these spiritual and religious beliefs.
So, who are these Urban Christians? They are a lot like you and me. And they are a lot like our parents and grandparents. They are people seeking to know God in their own way, with their own music and in their own fashion. So accept them. Sing along when you go to church or attend online. After all, we were all created in the same image and that should serve as our bond with one another.