Brett McCracken highlights the struggle of Christianity
An expose on the much needed dialogue between believers and the church. | Photo Courtesy of Brett McCracken
Author and Talbot student Brett McCracken has no problem talking about the important things. He spends his time as a pastor at Southlands Church as well as writing blogs, film reviews and books. McCracken finds interest in the nuances of Christianity, deeming it a necessity to talk about its more difficult characteristics, as he sees a lack of this in our modern society.
Due to his deep-rooted, passionate view on this matter, he has written three books: “Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide,” “Gray Matters: Navigating the Space Between Legalism and Liberty” and his most recent, “Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community.” His books talk of the pros and cons of “cool” churches, how to engage pop culture in a healthy way and the consumeristic approach that Christians in America have begun to adopt.
McCracken wants tough conversations to take place. He wants believers to delve into the dark and sometimes laborious aspects of the faith. In “Uncomfortable” he explores the necessity of embracing a local church even when it might not check all of our preconceived boxes.
“The book is pushing back against this consumeristic approach that we have as Christians in America where we have so many options at our disposal. There’s 50 churches in any given city, so we therefore have this excess of options that allows us to be super picky,” McCracken said.
He strongly believes this type of mentality leads to incorrect perceptions of the church and Jesus. McCracken also shared feeling too much comfortability within Christianity has been its downfall throughout history.
“It leads to bad things when believers position themselves in a way that asks, ‘How does the church meet me where I’m at?’ I don’t think that’s the right question. I think we need to be asking where we can meet Jesus at where he’s at,” McCracken said.
Alongside his commentaries on the church, the need for sacrifice and the discomforts that come with that, he also feels eager to talk about the power of film and how much it can affect our lives. His close connection with film criticism started when he began reading film commentaries in high school. As a hobby, he began to emulate what he had learned, and truly put that into action whilst writing film reviews for the Wheaton College newspaper during his undergrad experience.
“I think writing about art of any kind that moves you and has something substantive to say is just really fulfilling. As a critic, I hope to write about films in a way that’s going to help others,” McCracken said.
McCracken finds that filmmakers hold the role of making work full of intrinsic theological concepts. Film as an art talks about the big questions of this world revolving around human nature, personal motive and even creation. He hopes to facilitate a dialogue between the filmmaker and those who have watched the film.
“I see my role as a film critic as much a creative act as much as the filmmaker himself. The filmmaker is creating a story and they are wanting to say something with it. As a critic, I am adding a new layer to it, a new reading, a new interpretation,” McCracken said.
There remains so much to gain between his role as an internet presence as well as a reminding voice through his relevant books. His hope remains a pure one—a desire to make people think and undergo some much needed introspection in the specific area of their faith. McCracken’s calling seems like something a Christian audience should find themselves extremely thankful for.