How to Be Salt in a Hipster World


In the fifth chapter of the book of Matthew, Jesus laid out some pretty clear guidelines for how we future Christians should walk our walk and make a difference in a struggling and dying world. And He gave us some subtle thumps upside the head, too—just in case we were to start thinking that blending in  with our culture might be the more prudent course.

“You are the salt of the earth,” Jesus said while sitting on a mountainside with his disciples. “But if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

Ouch. For us Christians, that can feel like quite a slapdown. Let’s face it, we already feel like a class of perpetual outsiders: the kids in school who never get to sit at the popular table and chat up the jocks and cheerleaders. Who wants to be salty all the time? Besides, “Why will anybody listen if we’re not cool, too?” we reason.

So, just in case you’ve been wrestling with some of those thoughts—and think tasteless-salt and hidden-light analogies are a little too old-school harsh—the comedy duo John Crist and Aaron Chewning have taken a more grin-worthy approach to illustrating our plight. Take a look at what they suggest is necessary to become successful pastoral salt in this hipster world.


Who wrote this?

Bob Hoose is a senior associate editor for Plugged In, a producer/writer for Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey, a writer of plays and musicals and one-half of the former comedy/drama duo Custer & Hoose. He is a husband, father of three and a relatively new granddad.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Jerod Jarvis 23 days ago
Holy moly the one thing I did not expect to find here was a bunch of people ragging on John Crist, haha. A Christian comedian providing relevant and meaningful satire? Better stamp that out! Can't have someone roasting our sacred cows, now can we? Nope, we better stick with people who don't actually make us think too hard about our culture.

For my part, I love this guy. I enjoy Tim Hawkins, Mark Lowry, Ken Davis, all those guys - but Crist is doing something different. He's doing actual satire, and he's making comedy that actually says something. It doesn't just amuse, and it's not more preaching to the choir - there's a place for both of those things, but comedy can be a much more powerful tool.

Good comedians can speak truth in a way that makes people think about things they normally would avoid. They can cut right to the heart of the matter and cut away all the dressings we put up around our sacred cows. That's what makes sites like the Babylon Bee and The Onion so successful - they don't just make (most of) us laugh, they point us to deeper truths. Secular comedians do this all the time to say things about the world they view as true and important - why on earth wouldn't we want a believer out there doing the same thing with actual Truth, about things that are eternally important? 

If you don't like his style, or don't get his humor, by all means skip his videos. But for heaven's sake, don't try to shut down one of the best Christian comedians the church has produced in years. We need more Crists right now, as our culture fights harder and harder to shut us out, to insist that the church has nothing relevant to say about the world. Guys like Crist make that harder for people to believe - so I say God bless him and all the laughs he's given me.

And for the record, the guy has a huge following, and tons of people find him funny. I think most of the ones who don't must have all congregated here.

- Jerod Jarvis
Inkfeather1 . 22 days ago
I didn't dislike the video because of the guy's message. I love SayGoodnightKevin on Youtube, and he's a Christian who's not afraid to poke fun at the terrible state of Christian media. But these guys just weren't funny. They didn't make me laugh even once, I was just bored. And I think that's what everyone is talking about here.
Anonymous 22 days ago
I understand that this video was meant to be satire. It was just...well, as others have said, unfunny. I'm one of those people who laughs/grins at almost everything, and I didn't even smile at the video. It hit too close to a sore spot for me personally (it's a long story). He wasn't mean-spirited or overly sarcastic or hurtful in his comments. Others might find him hilarious, and that's fine. For me personally - and, it seems, for a number of others - it just wasn't funny.
bobed 22 days ago
That's a very long winded way of saying "I'm offended that someone dared to find my idol unfunny."
Inkfeather1 . 22 days ago
Or, maybe he likes this guy and wanted to explain why. Doesn't mean he idolizes the man, just that he has a different sense of humor than us and there's nothing wrong with that. 
bobed 24 days ago
It seems lots of people agree with me that this guy is just unfunny. If you are looking for decent Christ-centered comedy, may I recommend Tim Hawkins, a truly funny and entirely NON mean-spirited Christian comedian? He pokes gentle humor at church culture and always makes me laugh. I'd recommend his video on hand raising - hilarious! He's not mean-spirited and "too close to real" like this John Crist guy is.
Inkfeather1 . 22 days ago
While I agree the video was definitely unfunny, was there really anything "mean-spirited" in there? I didn't really find it offensive, just boring.
bobed 22 days ago
As someone who has seen many of his videos, 90% of them, including this one, poke mean spirited fun at millennials. I wasn't sure exactly how old he was and I assumed he was a millennial himself, making fun of his own generation. I was surprised to find out he's a very youthful-looking 62. Which makes me think his constant ragging stems from a sense of superiority. This is coming from a 40-something, by the way.
Inkfeather1 . 22 days ago
Woah, he's 62? Well, he aged well :) I've never seen any of his other videos, and it's possible I was too bored to get offended by this one :P
jake_roberson 22 days ago
For clarity's sake, for any who may miss bobed's joke here, there is a difference between the 60+-year-old retired Olympic decathlete named John Crist and the solidly-Millennial-aged stand-up comedian John Crist. The Wikipedia page is wrong to combine the two. =D
Inkfeather1 . 21 days ago
Thanks for clearing that up! I couldn't find any source telling his age, so I just assumed Bobed was correct :)
Anonymous 24 days ago
I'm a little stunned that there was no follow-up commentary.  I didn't find the video funny at all.  You are left with a slimy  feeling that you have been somewhere you shouldn't be,  Romans 12:2 says "Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." 

Anonymous 24 days ago
I'm trying to understand why this John Crist would use his time and energy to display his very apparent spirit of arrogance, and even more so, why Plugged In is featuring his "course joking" as something desirable that we should even be looking at...? 

 Sorry to say, but this guy (John Crist) really gives me the CREEPS —the church that I attend has also played some of his short video clips on the big screen during certain church functions, and there was silence instead of laughter, uneasy and awkward silence, rather than having a good laugh after seeing/hearing something funny and insightful... 

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Ephesians 4:29 NIV
Anonymous 24 days ago
By CbinJ
This article asks great questions and, then, provides zero answers. It just made me long for the days when PluggedIn published actual articles on media discernment and culture. 
By CbinJ
Caroline Oncken 24 days ago
I'm with Bobed. This was more scary than funny. Too close to real and the 'pastor' sells out.
Airship Prodigy 25 days ago
So glad this guy keeps popping up in here. I love his work.
bobed 25 days ago
Not to be the crusty old spoilsport in the room, but I'm rather tired of hearing the name John Crist. In Christian circles it seems that his name and his videos pop up every five seconds, and yet I have never found him funny in the least. Maybe I'm simply too old to understand what makes his humor humorous. 
Anonymous 24 days ago
By CbinJ
I've never heard of John Crist, but after watching that video I have to agree...he's not very funny. It's definitely not your age because I'm 25 and I didn't get it, either. Was that video supposed to have a point?
By CbinJ
Anonymous 24 days ago
Posted by Peggy Carter

It's satire - he's making fun of modern churches that don't preach the Bible and use funny stories to draw unbelievers and amuse Christians so they're not left feeling "uncomfortable" by what Scripture has to say about sinners. Ever heard of the Babylon Bee? :P
Anonymous 24 days ago
By CbinJ
I have heard of the Babylon Bee--the difference is the Babylon Bee is actually funny and clever. John Crist's video, in my opinion, is poorly executed. And as I said above, what bother's me most about this post is that I only clicked on it because I thought it was actually going to talk about the balance between cultural relevance and the command to be salt and light.
By CbinJ
Anonymous 24 days ago
We fully understand the "intention" 
...the problem is that he is 
JUST  N O T  F U N N Y !!!

Also, it's wonderful to have fun & be joyful, but Jesus calls us to "die to ourselves" and take up our cross daily...

...Amuse Christians so that they're not left feeling "uncomfortable" is not really inline with what Jesus said in 1 John :

“And we can be sure that we know Him if we obey His commandments. 
If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love Him. That is how we know we are living in Him. 
Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when He returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from Him in shame. 
Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God’s children.”

1 John 2:3-6, 28-29 NLT,28-29.nlt

...I'm just saying...
Anonymous 24 days ago
Posted by Peggy Carter

I totally agree that sometimes satire can be in bad taste. And I do NOT support that kind of "feel-good" preaching in church at all, just to clarify. :)