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Crafting Frumpy Theology for a “Gucci Gang” Zeitgeist

Sam Martinez and Bart Patton

Lil Pump’s 2017 hit, “Gucci Gang,” was a smashing success, maxing out at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 and garnering two parodies on Saturday Night Live. But a critical success the song is not. Pump repeats the titular phrase 53 times in his song. It’s a veritable vapid word–or more accurately, syllable–salad of couture brands, drugs, and hating school. Still the tune influences youth and young adults. What does “Gucci Gang” tell us about the spirit of our time? “Frumpy theology” plays with teachings, beliefs, and themes steeped in history, ragamuffin by design, and quotidian in orientation. Beyond a trend, this is the broken-in stuff with staying power. We’re calling for approachable, “wearable” theology–something for everyday life, that is faithfully constant in addressing the real needs of Gen Z. Join us as we ask, answer, and dream: what are key elements to creating comfortable environments for deep, sustaining theological dialogue with young people?


Bart Patton

Bart Patton serves as Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministry Education at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He has served the church as a preacher, teacher, youth minister, worship leader, writer, and pastor in Texas, Arkansas, and New York for the past 20 years. He is most passionate about teaching, preaching, and writing to resource the local church. His blogs and articles on practical ministry have been featured by Youth Ministry Partners (Abingdon) and HuffPost. His youth ministry curriculum has been published by Youth Ministry Partners (Abingdon). Bart was born and raised in Arkansas, where the Ozark mountains give way to the Mississippi Delta. He learned how to fish on the Little Red, play harmonica on the curbs of Beale, and tell stories on the lap of his great-grandfather, Richard Harley Bartlett. He collects Pez dispensers, foam fingers, vintage Hebrew grammars, great recipes, and Batman comics.

142 Frumpy Theology

Sam Martinez

Sam Martinez recently received an appointment as Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and is completing his PhD at Yale University in Religious Studies. The son of a teacher and a Pentecostal pastor, Sam loves the intersection of the academy, the church, and public life, especially after serving in local church ministry for over a decade. A native of Scratch Out, Arkansas, Sam’s lived in Dallas, New Haven, Brooklyn, and New Orleans, and now Atlanta. And he’s equally at home discussing trinitarian metaphysics, playing Gospel tunes on the piano, hunting ducks on an old slough, and listening to Mahler at Lincoln Center.

142 Frumpy Theology

Session #142

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