“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not "perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:16-17)
“In the relation to God, unconditional exclusiveness and unconditional inclusiveness are one. For those who enter into the absolute relationship, nothing particular retains any importance—neither things nor beings, neither earth nor heaven—but everything is included in the relationship. For entering into the pure relationship does not involve ignoring everything but seeing everything in the You, not renouncing the world but placing it upon its proper ground. Looking away from the world is no help toward God; staring at the world is no help either; but whoever beholds the world in him stands in his presences…” (from I and Thou
“When I attempted a few minutes ago, to describe our spiritual longings, I was omitting one of their most curious characteristics. We usually notice it just as the moment of vision dies away, as the music ends, or as the landscape loses the celestial light… For a few minutes we have had the illusion of belonging to that world. Now we wake to find that it is no such thing. We have been mere spectators. Beauty has smiled, but not to welcome us; her face turned in our direction, but not to see us. We have not been accepted, welcomed, or taken into the dance. We may go when we please, we may stay if we can, no one cares. Now, a scientist may reply that since most of the things we call beautiful are inanimate it is not very surprising that they take no notice of us. That, of course, is true. It is not the physical objects that I am speaking of, but that indescribable Something of which they become for a moment the messengers. And part of the bitterness which mixes with the sweetness of that message is due to the fact that it so seldom seems to be a message intended for us, but rather something we have overheard. By bitterness I mean pain, not resentment. We should hardly dare to ask that any notice be taken of ourselves. But we pine. The sense that in the universe we are treated as strangers, the longing to be acknowledged, to meet with some response, the bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality, is part of our inconsolable secret.” (from The Weight of Glory
Days of Heaven
The Thin Red Line
The New World
“Truth is the truth of Being. Beauty does not occur alongside and apart from this truth. When truth sets itself into the work, it appears. Appearance—as this being of truth in the work and as work—is beauty. Thus the beautiful belongs to the advent of truth, truth’s taking of its place. It does not exist merely relative to pleasure and purely as its object.” (from “The Origin of the Work of Art.”)
“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (I Corinthians 13:12)
“All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered.” (from The Medium is the Massage
And in my best behavior
I am really just like him
Look beneath the floorboards
For the secrets I have hid
(from “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.”)
F. Scott Fitzgerald
“And as I sat there brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s long dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it, He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.” (from The Great Gatsby
“All representations, even the most abstract, infer a rendezvous with intelligibility or, at the least, with a strangeness attenuated, qualified by observance and willed form. Apprehension (the meeting with the other) signifies both fear and perception. The continuum between both, the modulation from one to the other, lie at the source of poetry and the arts.” (from Real Presences
“What is the nature of a being that is able to produce art? Man is finite. He is, as one could say, mixed of being and nonbeing. Once he was not. Now he is and some time he will not be. He is not by himself, but thrown into existence and he will be thrown out of existence and cease to be for himself. He is delivered to the flux of time which runs from the past to the future through the ever-moving point which is called the present. He is aware of the infinite. He is aware that he belongs to it. But he is also aware that he is excluded from it… Out of the anxiety, and the double awareness that we are finite and that we belong to infinity from which we are excluded, the urge arises to express the essential unity of that which we are in symbols which are religious and artistic.” (from On Art and Architecture
“Poets have, indeed, often communicated in their own mode of expression truths identical with the theologians’ truths; but just because of the difference in the modes of expression, we often fail to see the identity of the statements.” (from The Mind of the Maker
Over the Rhine
What a beautiful piece of heartache this has all turned out to be.
Lord knows we've learned the hard way all about healthy apathy.
And I use these words pretty loosely.
There's so much more to life than words.
(from “Latter Days”)
“He will grant thee a hiding place within Him, and once hidden in Him he will hide thy sins. For He is the friend of sinners... He does not merely stand still, open His arms and say, 'Come hither'; no, he stands there and waits, as the father of the lost son waited, rather He does not stand and wait, he goes forth to seek, as the shepherd sought the lost sheep, as the woman sought the lost coin. He goes--yet no, he has gone, but infinitely farther than any shepherd or any woman, He went, in sooth, the infinitely long way from being God to becoming man, and that way He went in search of sinners.” (from Training in Christianity
“In what belongs to the deeper meanings of nature and her mediation between us and God, the appearances of nature are the truths of nature, far deeper than any scientific discoveries in and concerning them. The show of things is that for which God cares most, for their show is the face of far deeper things than they; we see in them, in a distant way, as in a glass darkly, the face of the unseen. It is through their show, not through their analysis, that we enter into their deepest truths. What they say to the childlike soul is the truest thing to be gathered of them.” (from The Voice of Job
The Bustle in a House
The Morning after Death
Is solemnest of industries
Enacted opon Earth –
The Sweeping up the Heart
And putting Love away
We shall not want to use again
“In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love. When a man comes to die, no matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror.” (from East of Eden
He woke up, the room was bare
He didn't see her anywhere.
He told himself he didn't care,
pushed the window open wide,
Felt an emptiness inside
to which he just could not relate
Brought on by a simple twist of fate.
(from “Simple Twist of Fate”)
“What is the malaise? You ask. The malaise is the pain of loss. The world is lost to you, the world and the people in it, and there remains only you and the world and you no more able to be in the world than Banquo’s ghost.” (from The Moviegoer
Lost in Translation
“Church is to be participated in and not consumed. The point is not what one gets out of it, but the worship of God; the service takes place both because of and despite the needs, strengths, and frailties of the people present. How else could it be?” (from Dakota
“Whenever I think of Edward, I think of playing catch in a hot street and that wonderful weariness of the arms. I think of leaping after a high throw and that wonderful collaboration of the whole body with itself and that wonderful certainty and amazement when you know the glove is just where it should be. Oh, I will miss the world!” (from Gilead
“Preaching the gospel means announcing Jesus as Lord of the world; and, unless we are prepared to contradict ourselves with every breath we take, we cannot make that announcement without seeking to bring that lordship to bear over every aspect of the world.” (from What Saint Paul Really Said
It's weird to think of all the things
That have not been keeping up with the times
It's ten o' clock the sun is down
Just begun to set the western hills on fire
I hear that you don't change
How do you expect to keep up with the trends
You won't survive the information age
Unless you plan to change the truth to accommodate the brilliance of man
The brilliance of man
(from “Letter From a Concerned Follower”)
“Gazing at some detail like a bird or a cloud, we can all ignore its awful blue background; we can neglect the sky; and precisely because it bears down upon us with an annihilating force it is felt as nothing. A thing of this kind can only be an impression and a rather subtle impression; but to me it is a very strong impression made by pagan literature and religion. I repeat that in our special sacramental sense there is, of course, the absence of the presence of God. But there is in a very real sense the presence of the absence of God. We feel it in the unfathomable sadness of pagan poetry; for I doubt if there was ever in all the marvelous manhood of antiquity a man who was happy as St. Francis was happy.” (from The Everlasting Man
Gus Van Sant
"I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor--it is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him. That which is has been already and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by." (Ecclesiastes 3:10-15).
“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing?—it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” (from On the Road
"Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee..."
“Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen."
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
My favorite authors are GK Chesterton & Flannery O’Connor….guess I’m a hipster! ;)
Although, I enjoyed “Wild at Heart” and Braveheart…I thought I had a fairly good idea of what a “Christian hipster” is, but I’ve never heard of this stipulation! ha
So, being British, I didn’t really have much idea of what a hipster was. I thought it was more about wearing clothes from American Apparel.
Turns out I’m a hipster too! Although I thought that not liking Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson was mostly common sense.
Being Scottish though, I’m in love with Braveheart!
Oh, I love me some O’Connor…and those cathedrals, too…but, no piercings or smoking…
All it seems you are doing is creating a new moniker/category despite that labels like evangelical left and evangelical right still apply just fine.
Christian Hipsters=Obama followers.
no, not really. i don’t like obama, have voted green ever since i turned 18 (nader twice and cynthia mckinney last election), and would consider myself a hipster.
I’m confused as to why liturgy, incense, lectio divina, Lent, and timeless phrases like “Thanks be to God” or “Peace of Christ be with you” are specifically Catholic, with the caveat even if they are thoroughly Protestant. The Protestant Church is filled with liturgy, incense, et al., and has been since the reformation: This whole ‘low church’ thing is a fairly recent development. Do Lutherans, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, several Methodist congregations, etc. etc. not count as Protestant anymore?
No everybody who wants to start a church is a protestant!!!!
Oh my goodness, that’s me down to a T! Should I seek help?
Here’s my problem.
You don’t have to be a “Christian Hipsters” to recognize that things like TBN, 700 Club, and mimes suck pretty bad.
You don’t have to be a “Christian Hipster” to read theology, philosophy, and all around good writing.
I’m probably a Christian Hipster to some degree, and I know some who definitely are not “hip” in any way, who would fit into the second list better than the first.
This is difficult.
Sounds dead on to me, Brett.
I’m looking forward to the book.
“Or maybe you are, and you’re just intrigued by the whole thing (like I am!).” Are you admitting to something here? I knew it!
Crap…I’m about 97% of the characteristics you’ve listed. I guess I’m a Christian hipster, whether I like the label or not.
We also like independent coffee roasters, fine wine, microbrews, Leo Tolstoy, and modish beards. We also hate Walmart and everything it stands for, but to distinguish a “Christian” hipster from a “secular” hipster, we hate Walmart for theological reasons. And by we, I mean me.
So pretty much if you’re not a fundamentalist, you’re a hipster?
It seems “hipster” has lost all meaning if used in your context. My grandfather would be considered a hipster by this definition.
agreed, I was going to say the same thing about many of the far-older-than-30 Christians I know. what’s the point of such a category as this anyways? are we as Christians trying to adapt to the secular “let’s mock hipsters” crowd? why do we always have to make a “Christian version” of everything?
co-sign. what was listed just seems like regular stuff that most people enjoy. movies, music, and other arts that are well-respected by their respective artistic communities? come on, man. there’s a bajillion communities in the arts. everything is guaranteed to be liked or disliked by one person or another. as far as the books you’ve listed…..i enjoy chesterton and lewis (like any generic christian does). can’t stand wright. more of a piper fan myself. and i despise postmodern philosophy and think it doesn’t do a good job of explaining anything. i know plenty of people of different ages that work in para-church/church organizations. feels like you need to be a little more specific in your hipsterisms.
im in agreement with the majority of the list of dislikes. however they are all for theological reasons why i reject those things and not on the basis of being “hip”. if the basis for christians to be in agreement/disagreement with something are based merely on being “cool” or “hip”, then that is a sad state of affairs.
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Yea I guess this makes me pretty dang close to a Christian hipster. I was all there until the last paragraph, which I suppose is the most “out there” or “hip” part of the list. So maybe I’m almost a hipster.
I would argue with the comment that “Christian hipster=Obama follower” How so?
Some of them like smoking a lot of different things.
Haha! Very funny.
…… I love how everyone is admitting to being hipster. Which makes me wonder, would an actual hipster care enough about their hipsterishness to ever blatantly admit to being one? Or is it only those who aspire to being hipsters (in some sort of woeful search of an ‘identity’) who rush at the chance to proclaim they are one, when in fact the very proclamation negates itself? I’m not accusing anyone of this, just mulling it over in Starbucks with my C.S. Lewis book at my side. How hipster of me. Ba-dum, cha!
I’m really looking forward to your book, Brett.
Ooo…cloves. I could go for some of that right now.
By this definition, I’m certainly a Christian hipster (although, like, I suspect, most other Xian hipsters, I talk about liking a lot of those books a lot more than I’ve actually read them), but the down I live in (Decatur, IL) is not a very hipster kind of town.
I went to a Jeff Tweedy show recently. I began to hate myself for having a beard and a drivers cap like those dudes (the hipster vibe was nearly overwhelming).
hahaha this rings true in many respects. i’m a recent wheaton grad (dec ’08); these types are a dime a dozen there. i am guilty as charged on some counts. however, i must say it’s definitely no longer hip to dig “St. Clive” there.
hipsters of the wheaton breed also like: existential crises, vinyl records, moleskine journals, photography classes, feminist theology, belmont area of chicago, breaking the covenant…
Clever Christian hipsters drop Sufjan Steven’s name in tag lines to attract other’s without actually mentioning Sufjan Steven. That’s hip…
I’m so far beyond hipsterdom that I’m not even gonna comment.
P.S. Christian hipsters like irony.
David Sedaris? The man is a brilliant comic but I have yet to read anything he’s written that is “ancient and/or philosophically important.”
What about the super-conservative hipsters who belong to mega churches?
“they could do without weird and awkward evangelistic methods including…sign language…”
I have a deaf cousin. She is rather unable to do without sign language. Most of our family would find it far more weird and awkward to exclude her by omitting her language from the conversation, evangelistic or otherwise, and we would certainly never do so because of someone else’s judgment about the hipness or un-hipness of the way some people have used sign language.
Written this way, these likes and dislikes seem to be another way of finding a line to draw between one group of people and another in order to create an in-group who gets it and an out-group who doesn’t. This doesn’t seem like a way to celebrate different gifts as much as as a way to elevate a different group.
I get this definition, though it seems a bit like a remix of the “emergent” Christian label.
I hope Christian hipsters truly are more sincere and idealistic than their secular counterparts, since so much of what drives hipster culture is an obsession with trends and fads. It’s a race to see who can come up with the latest and greatest style, taste, and beliefs.
I’m surprised that nobody has asked the question: Would Jesus Christ have been labelled a Christian hipster during His mortal ministry? Or am I just being overly serious?
phew. I’m glad this was done with humor. Otherwise, as am empathizer with the “hipster” label(hahaha), I might be flustered at the assumption lists can be made about categories of people. but, no. poking fun will do.
If by “modern dance” you mean dancing with scarves in figure-negating tunics… Real modern dance, on the other hand, would be quite at home in many hipster churches.
its hip to bash hip.
We like Sparks too.
how about we focus more on loving Christ and less on being cool. Paul never was about being hip, but had a greater desire to change the world for Christ in a far greater way than smoking pipes and dressing goth is ever going to accomplish
You forgot the one where Christian Hipsters hate to be pigeon-holed in any way, and find it to be a bit ridiculous that we have to be labeled.
Haha! This is awesome!
I’m pretty sure I’m a hipster!
But no mention of an affinity towards online churches/campuses? That’s not an indication of the hipster? I’m also surprised the modern equivalents like Don Miller and Rob Bell aren’t mentioned? Maybe I’m not a hipster :)
So… Christian hipsters are basically post-modernists who like to sample trends and traditions from various other (often contradictory) belief systems? By very nature, wouldn’t that make them NOT Christians?
While I see the attempt at irony and humor in the article, the truth is overwhelmingly disappointing: “hipsters” do not actually follow Christ Himself, who denied himself and served others to the extent that it cost Him His life.
I think it’s very possible to have many of the likes and dislikes mentioned above, but not be a part of the post-modern/emergent ideology. I could be wrong, but most of the items listed don’t suggest the “Christian hipster’s” biblical interpretation, etc. In other words, I think it’s perfectly possible to be a theologically conservative hipster. ;)
This is just a natural progression of post modern religious thinking and the post modern ego working to motivate people to be different and cool, which might be topic of interest to you, but it would be a shame to distill it down to a label like hipster.
Hipster is a put down because it’s usually used in a superior context… as if to say I know you’re a hipster, but you don’t see it–so let me tell you about you. That’s why people don’t like being called one. If you want to get a boner over labels, here’s one: meta-hipster, someone who goes around identifying hipsters.
You’ve made an admirable attempt at defining what a Christian Hipster is, but what is your definition of a Christian?
Mark- Christians are people who believe and live this.
I think I can sum this up more quickly: A Christian hipster is a Christian you encounter about whom you don’t instantly think “What an asshole!”
So… Christian hipsters are basically post-modernists who like to sample trends and traditions from various other (often contradictory) belief systems? By very nature, wouldn’t that make them NOT Christians?
While I see the attempt at irony and humor in the article, the truth is overwhelmingly disappointing: “hipsters” do not actually follow Christ Himself, who denied himself and served others to the extent that it cost Him His life.
I’m pretty sure Brett is making a cultural distinction, not a philosophical and epistemological distinction. Your assertion that Christians can’t be hipsters because of their social mores applies equally well to anyone belonging to any cultural demographic.
So.. I’m still trying to convince myself that you’re being sarcastic about this whole thing. And I’m hoping you don’t go further in your effort to create another lame-ass label pedestal that “hipsters” can hop on top of and look down on all of us “normal people” who don’t follow the incoming and outgoing trends that would give us hipster status.
And besides. This Christian hipster malarky will only provoke more ostracism from Christians, hipsters, (and now) Christian hipsters. There’s already enough of that.
Wow… it’s like you followed my friends and I around for a month and then wrote about us. God, I swear you did.
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The Hipster Handbook by Robert Lanham was published in 2003.
I was raised in the church – a church trying to be “relevant”, maybe even “hip” – and they were constantly trying to jump on bandwagons that had left them in the dust years before. The problem with Christians trying to copy mainstream culture – or in this case indie culture – is that they never manage to do it as well. Give up on the book and quit while you’re ahead…or perhaps while you’re not yet so far behind.
I have silently admired your writing – enlightened by your perspective and finding that I agree with so much of what you have to say. Its refreshing.
I know that this is only an excerpt, a humorous one at that (so I’m not sure how serious I’m supposed to take it). I’m starting to think that ‘Christian Hipsters’ take cultural image too seriously… must we be so deliberate in trying to seem ‘hip’?
I must be one, although I still don’t really know what a hipster is, I just know what they like and don’t like.
You forgot one thing, Brett: we aren’t fond of the words “Christian” and “hipster.”
:) Can’t wait for the book. Hope you are doing well, man.
“They are, on the whole, a little more sincere and idealistic than their secular hipster counterparts.”
if christian hipsters are only a -little- more sincere and idealistic than secular hipsters i’d suggest that christian hipsters are fairly useless. secular hipsterism is constructed entirely around the notion of being utterly insincere and cynical about as many aspects of your life as possible. i would hope that a christian hipster would have more or less nothing in common with them.
So if a “Christian hipster” would never read this post, then why are all these comments by people claiming that very title?
If the Mars Hill Church in Seattle is any indicator, Christian Hipsters also don’t think women should have jobs.
Sadly, the first signs of NOT begin hip are:
– Making a list of things that make people hip;
– Thinking that you qualify based on that list.
But then, the first thing I thought of when I read the phrase “Christian Hipster” is Kramer’s “Hipster Doofus”.
There must be a 12 step program to solve this problem.
Hipsters need to move beyond navel-gazing generalizations about their “culture” into concrete practices of faith, justice and solidarity. We are not that special.
As a former student of Stanley Hauerwas, I can only reply along the lines of what I imagine his response would be….” ‘Hip’ is not a theological category.”
And I do find it more than ironic that Yoder’s (as well as some of the others listed) call for the Church to be counter-cultural is now, in fact, culturally acceptable!
Go ahead and call us “post-counter cultural hipster Christians.”
You’ll sell more books if you do (which, of course, is the ultimate irony given that the goal of writing such a book is not to speak truthfully, but to sell as many as possible for the purpose of making a profit!)
Bravo!!! Your wish to embody Foucault is now complete.
Exit stage left, please….
how did you manage to parlay writing clueless music reviews for the wheaton college record into an equally clueless yet exponentially more pretentious blog?
Maybe the “hipster” trend isn’t about making a (corporate) statement or starting a trend. Maybe a number of Christians simply saw flaws in the Christian subculture in which they were raised and sought (independently and without labels) to change it in themselves. Personally I think that Christians should be ashamed of the quality of most of their “art” (etc.) and since I have gone to art school, I happen to be more aware of (and interested in) what’s out there. Does that make me “hipster”? I don’t know. I also think that people judge too hard by what people are wearing. I have always liked the gothic look (even in my preppy Christian school–though I was too scared to wear it there.) and so now I wear it… because I like it. Does this make me “hipster” too? Maybe Christians are simply learning that ITS OK to take your personality with you when you get saved. Tagging us “hipster” just gives the media a convenient title. That way no one has to take us seriously or think about why we’re doing what we’re doing.
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Guilty as charged, but, does this mean I have to go buy the hipster’s trademark white belt and move to Portland, OR?
You seemed to described a lot of Anglicans as hipsters, but they are quite far from it.
Brett, I say this with the utmost concern for you as a person and as a writer: Fuck. This. Shit. You can do waaaaaaaaaaay better than this book.
I came here because I was so pissed off that Andrew Sullivan was putting a label on me.
I’m mostly nailed, but I’m not into high church ritual (the opposite). I don’t attend a club meeting. And the last paragraph sounds like people in search of an image. Back in college I may have been there, but not now. But I am involved in compassion and justice work with nonprofits.
And I prefer “Jesus following” hipster, but only if you’re snarky about it.
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5 People who are Christian Hipsters or Christian Hipster icons, in no particular order;
1)-Link Wray, badass guitarist, inventor of distortion, only person to have an instrumental banned (“Rumble”)
2-Jack White of the White Stripes
4-John Coltrane (his “A Love Supreme” is arguably the apotheosis of modern jazz)
5-Al Green (the only preacher cool enough to have been covered by Talking Heads)
I’m curious what such a deconstruction of the Charismatic Renewal/Jesus Movement of the 1970’s would look like?
I guess I’m building along the lines of sadeyedartist’s comments. Perhaps these ‘hipster’ trends are driven by a genuine dissatisfaction with the current ‘church establishment’ and a hunger for an authentic meaningful experience of Christ (i.e. exactly what the Jesus Freaks were doing).
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Bleh. This is so tiresome. Every youth group has a few cool kids that sit at the back and make fun of the rest.
Christ did not die to make men hip. In fact, the very notion of hip is antithetical to the life of holiness Christians are called to. It is the very definition of the “false self” that C.S. Lewis wrote about. You have been deceived.
uhm, so i got here via some blog on the atlantic monthly website. hi all.
i didn’t read all the comments and something like this must have been said, but…
contemporary evangelical christianity *is* something of a huge mess. that young people sometimes want to distance themselves from it; that they may be somewhat charmed by the more austere, less lowbrow catholic culture; that they’d rather read flannery o’connor than tim lahaye… well, i don’t know what’s so darn reprehensible about that, you know?
it’s easy to be cynical about hipsters. it’s the done thing. bashing hipsterdom = beating a dead horse. the web abounds in articles — some years old — meticulously deriding the culture.
hipsters can be a little ridiculous, sure; christian hipsters moreso, as this “christian + any subculture” deal tends to be.
whatever. one’d rather be above this incredibly silly “hipster vs. mainstream” dichotomy, i guess. but if i had to choose, why, i can’t say the mainstream is terribly appealing either.
i’d surely rather listen to sufjan than the latest hot ccm band. sorry if that makes me a little obnoxious.
i’m typing from the far, chilly southern reaches of brazil, btw. not many christian hipsters proper down here. there’s churches with surf boards atop the pulpit and gimmicks like that, but it’s no megachurch jesusland i guess.
having been raised by evangelicals, though — which isn’t tragic, but can have a few small unfortunate implications –, i’ll always be a little sympathetic to disgruntled youth group hipster kids (a little).
(i’m on a commenting spree, sorry, but: i was glancing at the sidebar and noticed the blogger himself seems to be something of a hipster. which probably means the post isn’t meant to be as derisive as i thought. oh well.)
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I feel like the term “Christian hipster” just kills itself. Before I read this blog I figured I’d fit the description – but little of that was accurate for me. I’m just a regular old artsy type college kid, trying to fit in and not fit in at the same time, and also trying to figure out where my faith fits into that. So basically, if you write a book on the topic (which I definitely think could be really cool), I would be sure to address the difference in the stereotypical “Christian hipster” that you just described – who, by the way, does not sound like someone I would ever want to hang out with – versus a possible hipster who happens to be a Christian.
p.s. You should also definitely read Donald Miller’s book Blue Like Jazz…it’s amazing, you’d probably love it AND I think it would fit your hipster profile haha
It is decidedly uncool to have to write a blog post describing how cool you are. I am unconvinced.
Your description of the christian hipster sounds awful superficial. But that might more reflect you own superficial understanding of other people and their beliefs.
I was reading through the comments and got about halfway through and found the approximate time (March 3 @ around 5:00 p.m.) when this post was linked to by a decidedly non-hipster-friendly blog…
I’d volunteer that the concept that you’re all grasping at is that “hipsters” (an ill-defined term by any means) are more concerned with substance than self- or group- identification, which makes the idea of marrying that with a positive identification completely moot. You will never find someone who fits the hipster stereotype who will call himself one.
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I defnitely agree with some of the points. I agree up to the 5th paragraphs. I don’t even know what’s up with acting Catholic, but for the most of it, this made me laugh. quite cool you are. the two paragraphs at the end… made me doubt your definition. but.. oh well.?
Hmm…I don’t think I am. I’m just me. But I’m glad I was curious enough to read this and look at some other stuff. I like your blog, the quotes & sources, movies mentioned, general approach.
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Absolutely not!!! Now I know you may not approve this comment, but here it is anyways.
WHAT IN THE WORLD??? No, literally!?! What in the world? I read the whole blog but you lost me at “…don’t like door-to-door evangelism…alter calls…”
Really? Does it matter what you like or dislike? Do these “hipster’s” care more about the new secularistic church than the “church” that Christ is trying to unite through men who these hipster’s don’t like?
Honestly, this is just flat out craziness! This is how you know it is crazy when “christians” (who at least profess to be), don’t want to be called “christians” but “christ followers.” “Yes…I would not like to be called an ‘American’ but ‘A Person who lives in America’ please!” WHAAAATTT?
If you are even reading this blog on the internet you could be a “hipster.” You shouldn’t be reading this. You are tooo hip. Really? Seriously? C’mon! I think “hipster’s” should get hip to the Word of God before getting “hip to their respective artists” and what not.
You might also add Christian Hipsters are seemingly innately full of themselves, I mean I took from this article hey, look at us we like Jesus but we’re not those crazy bible thumping nuts and at the same time we are deep and fascinating people because we read poetry and watch certain films and read these books but not these. Anyone who has to profess that they are hip automatically nullifies themselves from being so.
I define myself as agnostic with Daoist leanings though I find aspects from various religions which I like and have woven into my own spiritual belief system, like Shintoism’s ikadakimasu. I take a Jeffersonian view of Christianity, that churches have basically screwed up the greatest moral message ever delivered to man by trying to wrap the deliverer in the divine and feel you should aspire to be as moral as Jesus but at the same time keep your relationship with God personal and private.
I take this passage from Micah to heart:
“And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8
In the end, God really doesn’t care what books you read.
You are talking more about an generationally confined ex-evangelical cultural movement that you are a hipster category. Its much more of a sociological phenomena than you describe and is more of straw-person of the 18-30 somethings than a true cross section of this ‘religious’ demographic.
Christian Hipster also share the characteristic lack of a logic center that allows them to devote their lives to the supernatural protagonist of a 2,000 year-old novel.
In other words, a Christian Hipster is like a Star Trek Hipster, but is further detached from reality in misunderstanding their fictional fetish as being real in someway.
This is actually true of most of my friends and i am not in the 18-30 age group category but am 52. this kind of revolves around certain tastes (or lack of it from time to time.) but its also about finding your way without compromising your ideals or your politics or your common sense.. And being able to hang out with people who are not christians ( or whatever you can say there) without seeing them as potential converts, or thinking they have nothing to speak into your life just because they aren’t ‘christian’.
however, having said all that useless stuff, i laughed really hard. we do tend to form little lemming groups, don’t we.
Thanks for this post and looking forward to the book. I used your article as a base for a blogpost today.
Would enjoy keeping in touch.
Why not just keep it really real and question Benny Hinn, who is a liar, a cheat and a crook. I love Jesus, but I have a huge problem with Benny Hinn, and that is a normal combination.
Also, you don’t have to label this category, because then it is too easy to define for people who don’t want to think. I think you should just go with the long explanation of who you are and lose the title, because it empowers people who don’t think, allowing them to say “Oh, you’re one of those”.
I’m a middle-aged, balding, poor, overweight mainline pastor and you’ve described me to a T. I never knew that I was “hip”. Following Jesus Christ into the places where the world is at pain and/or broken is anything but cool or romantic. Are you sure the kingdom needs your book?
Perhaps, you should change it to anything sold at the Family Christian store.
To “Westcoast” and “Steve”
You are making cruel accusations. Not every “hipster” is TRYING to be “hip”. I am the epitome of uncool. This has always been true of me. I couldn’t be cool, even if I tried. Do I read real literature and like art to be “hip”? No way. I do those things because those are my genuine interests. I’ve been “hip to the word of God” my whole life… and I’ve wondered why more people who are “Bible believing Christians” don’t have genuine interests beyond raising a family and flower arrangements. If I’m hip, trust me, its accidental. I think its unfair to say that people who like things that HAPPEN to be in vogue are “trying to be cool.” (If so, my dad is the hipmeister, because he was into philosophy LOOOOOONG before it was cool. Maybe he was the trend setter.)
Not ALL Christian Hipsters like Sufjan Stevens, however. I have found the biggest gap between me and others that fit into this category to be musical. Almost none of the people you describe listen to the same stuff I do. That could be due to a number of different factors, though.
I only intersect with this description in certain ways…I think many of these people are just looking for things to latch on to that are more real (which is something megachurches and flag-waving James Dobsons are NOT).
I’ll have to second Credo’s comments above. Then, I’ll have to point out that Falwell and Dobson are vastly different, and that vile quote was made by the former and should have been much more distanced from the latter in the article.
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So if I’m Catholic who likes Sufjan, am I de facto a Christian hipster?
It seems like people are trying to be ‘cool’ or ‘ironic’ or what-have-you because there is a sense of shame at holding traditional Christian beliefs. Either that, or it is the same superficial Evangelical/nondenominational repackaged in its newest marketing gimic.
I’m trying but can’t see how this book is going to be helpful or challenging in the way you propose. And I don’t say that with any angst or sarcasm. Just as a genuine statement of questioning.
It doesn’t do any good to paint with so broad a stroke and reduce people down to their external loyalties and activities. Why a person may prefer one thing is hardly obvious by comparing it to, or grouping it with, everything else that person likes. Nor is it helpful to draw conclusions of this sort based on the shared likes and interests of other individuals.
There’s nothing especially hipster about most of the things you list. Liturgy, drinking from the common cup, the burning of incense, icons, etc., are the heritage shared by all Christians (though not embraced by all today, obviously). These threads run through the history of the Church and only in the low-evangelicalism and modern Protestant innovations have these things given way to simpler, unadorned forms. And, not that it fits with these items, as you’ve placed it, the poetry readings thing is really just a stereotype, a caricature. Any that I’ve been to weren’t filled with what some would call hipsters.
It’s awfully assuming of you, Brett, to think that any of the list items in this excerpt are pursued by so-called hipsters–or anyone, for that matter–simply because they believe such things will make them cool, or because those things are cool in themselves. How could you possibly know why a person might distance himself or herself from any of the don’t-likes you mention? I ask the same about the do-likes. Unless you’re allowing for this categorization to include the 50+ crowd (and I don’t think you are), the name “Christian hipster” doesn’t mean a whole lot. I’m sure there’s a good number of both men and women well beyond their 20s or 30s that you’ve described perfectly who are in no way “hip” in the way you imply (as some of the comments here suggest). Doesn’t that indicate a flawed premise?
The number of possible reasons for the “Christian hipster’s” preferences, I’m sure, are as numerous as the people you’d like to sweep into this category. Why one person may like Eastern Orthodox churches could be very different from another who also likes smoking cloves, listening to Sufjan, or reading Thomas a Kempis. That’s obvious enough, isn’t it? A person may be “acting Catholic” and admire the Pope, and may only remain “thoroughly Protestant” at present because he hasn’t yet decided whether or not he will convert for family reasons, or because he is, as yet, still unsure about a few points of Roman Catholic doctrine. You never know.
Mainly, what you have decided is Christian hipsterism, so it seems, appears to be a group of people looking for substance, lack of gimmickry or paltry imitations/adaptations of what’s going on “out there” in the secular world; perhaps they’re people looking to transcend a too-small view of God that acts as if His kingdom could only come through clever marketing and politics and faith-based entertainment.
The issues behind all of the choices you’ve collected are more complex than it seems a book of this kind can do justice to. The trouble is that you’re making observations about all different kinds of “whats”–music, film, Church preference, and whatever else you come up with–and you’ve decided that the main “why” is that these things bring coolness or already embody it.
I can see that you’re trying to put some heart in this and make a difference. But, again, I have to ask, how is this going to help anyone? I just can’t see it. Lastly, I have to ask how you know that Christian hipsters are only “a little more sincere” than their secular counterparts? Who are you to say?
This just got picked up by Paste magazine’s daily email. (Via conversantlife.com)
Brilliant observation. I read the post, wondering why a label like “hipster Christian” even existed. And then I wondered why it mattered.
It’s my first time at this site, so I’m curious to see more about this “cool Christianity.” So far, I agree with C in that this mostly seems to be a labeling exercise, not something that talks about the whys and how it could possibly be shaping the religion.
are you being a Christian douche? If you were attempting to be funny, you failed. If you were attempting to be ironic, you may want to look up the word.
So, get me straight, if you like things outside the mainstream CCM Christian ghetto you are a hipster. You are following trend to trend while the rest of the world and its Christian subculture is not?
Find a better word. The brush you paint with is so broad that it loses its effect. It would be a good observation if you did not just grab assorted stuff that many people like because it is of higher quality than the drivel spoon fed by the church machine.
Sad from a good blog. I won’t be getting that book.
It strikes me that hipster is the wrong term entirely, and so is Dreher’s spin “radical” which quite unintentionally implies fundamentalist (at least to my mind.)
Perhaps “Christians of the Earth and Ages” though that is long-winded. Of the Earth, because rather than isolating ourselves in the superfluousness of Christian music and culture, we recognize that Christianity was always meant to be a part of the wider world. Isolation from the secular world is not so much defeat, or defense, but certainly denial of a vast swath of existence.
Of the Ages, because we recognize the long history and tradition of the faith. This may be why these “hipsters” are drawn to Catholic worship or the Pope, or candles and icons. “The New Monastics” as they’ve been termed. This is also why many of these hipsters are, in fact, Catholic…
That post was surely one of the most accidentally hilarious things I have ever read in my life. As if no one who goes to a megachurch or liked “Fireproof” reads Chuck Klosterman.
What a nervous tightrope walk each day must be for someone so self-conscious.
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Nothing like (poorly and inaccurately) ripping off “Stuff White People Like.”
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I’m afraid I like Mega-Churches and James Dobson.
But I did get my nosed pierced and I can’t stand the term “non-denominational”…
Oh what am I??? hehe probably not quite a “hipster”
great article. I don’t fit all of these – unfortunately I think the reactionary parts of this is TOTAL NONSENSE like being into catholicism and unbiblical crap like that.
Anyway, I really just stopped by to say that I sent you 428 clicks to this blog via my owly link on Twitter! You’re welcome.
I’m not a weirdo after all. I agree with most of what you said. Not a big fan of poetry readings… I would rather read books by Brennan Manning or listen to Rich Mullins.
Awesome list! I’m definitely a Christian hipster (and of course now don’t want to be). Another sign: Lover of independent music. I think most hipsters can’t deal with popular radio or CCM.
Thanks for the fun idea!
Christian Hipsters do not like Tolstoy, Joel Mayward. I think I speak for the entire Christian Hipster community when I say that Tolstoy was a hack. The first sentence of Anna Karenina is a lie. And you know he is one of the only famous writers in history to hate Shakespeare? He wrote pamphlets about it. What a creep!
Anyway, it’s Dostoevsky all the way. He should have been on the list next to Kierkegaard.
Also Christian Hipsters have really strong opinions.
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Word. I love Braveheart though.. and i dont smoke or care for the pope but i do work in a church, hate mega churches (unless they are done well)… i do play for a band and like music, movies, and books that are well-respected by their respective artistic communities… like Lil Wayne.
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This blog is disgraceful.
I comment only because my conscience compels me to say that “Christian hipsterism” is just the pendulum swung to the other side, friends. Jesus is the center. Why not talk about him? He has done way more awesome things than (insert newly rediscovered mystic) or (insert French existentialist writer) or (“countercultural” new church planter with a new church and 7 books about how great it is).
When it comes right down to it, Christian hipsters are douchebags just like non-Christian ones are. J
Jesus matters, and this dishonestly self-indulgent blog doesn’t.
Ok, maybe “douchebag” is a bit innapropriate. Insert whichever synonym you like.
I riffed off this post in my new review of the new Flannery O’Connor bio by Brad Gooch…
A recent viral internet post has declared Flannery O’Connor among its list of “Stuff Christian Hipsters Like.” While I can understand why such Christian Hipsters would be attracted to her dark, grotesque stories of sin and redemption, I am more convinced than ever – after reading Flannery, Brad Gooch’s authoritative new biography – that there is little in Flannery herself that such trendy folks would find “hip.” A sheltered, southern woman from an aristocratic family, with “medieval” sensibilities and a cultural racism (334) befitting her situation in mid-twentieth century Georgia, she hardly fits the bill. Gooch, however, spins an engaging narrative that is sure to draw in all its readers – hipsters or not.
why write a book about this though?
I hope in your book you will devote at least one chapter to the Christian hipster’s arch-nemesis, the Christian bro. Several distinguishing characteristics:
1. Lists “The Bible” as the first, if not only, book on his/her facebook profile.
2. Only reads other books if they’re written by John Piper.
3. Quite possibly authors a blog, which frequently features quotes from John Piper’s books and sermons, and posts links to all of Mark Driscoll’s youtube videos.
4. Thinks he/she understands irony, but really doesn’t.
5. (Frequently, as a result of #4) Posts polemical comments on hipster Christians’ blogs that may include colorful language (which both hipsters and bros think is cool–a rare point of agreement), but only if said colorful language is written in utmost sincerity. I.e. bros only say “damn it” if confronted by a particularly damnable heresy on a hipster’s blog, and only call a hipster a “douchebag” if the bro believes–quite sincerely–that the hipster is ontologically equivalent to a bag of shit.
6. Secretly wishes the hipster would post equally polemical comments on his/her blog in order to dialogue further, and is always disappointed, since the hipster is simply too busy being hip to bother with such “petty” theological disagreements.
The list was fun to read, but left a weird taste in my mouth. The comments made me realize why.
I am a little disturbed by many of the people here expressing their half-masked delight at fitting into the category of hipsterdom, “speaking on behalf” of the hipster community, and ____. Brett, you probably summed it up by calling it “cool Christianity” in the intro. It appears as though we youngish folk are more eager to please others and look/sound/dress cool than to follow God. I don’t want to aspire to be in the “cool Christian” club.
I want to read Lamott, Nouwen, and Lewis because I believe they help me to understand God and our existence better. I want to be disappointed at Falwell and Robertson because I believe they are hurting the church. I want to read liturgy, practice lectio divina, and explore spiritual disciplines because I believe they are profound and spiritually enriching. I want to pierce my ears because the Bible says… just kidding.. I just want to pierce my ears to express myself.
But I don’t want to do these things to find my identity in the Christian hipster label. Please count me out.
If you are a Christian hipster, you might like our website, http://churchsignrevival.com. Sorry for the blatant promotion. Oh and one other thing: why are Christian hipsters necessarily more sincere than secular hipsters like myself. I am not sincere, ha, but a lot of my atheist hipster friends are and I think it just depends on the individual. Ok, now I sound all pissy.
Whoops wrong url there: churchsignrevival.tumblr.com.
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We really need another label? so someone is in and someone is out. please. we need to do away with divisions not emphasize them.
Ooh, I like this! Although a lot of the things you cite, I think, are from the USA, I do recognise some of them and generally understand the concept. Getting really excited at the thought that I might be somewhere approaching being a Christian Hipster ;-) I shall have a go at reading the other stuff you’ve blogged and…..here comes the blatant advert, please come and visit my blog about How to be Rubbish (mainly at being a Rubbish Christian). Thnks for a great read. The Dyce.
Oh My Lord.. I can’t believe it – but other than the whole Roman Catholic/Orthodox thing – and Thomas Merton – I guess I am a Christian Hipster! Scary and sort of wonderful at the same time.. since it’s good to know that in addition to the fact that “I am not alone” with regards to being a bad mixture of TCK and CCK…I have a lot of “brethren” out there… Is it inappropriate for me to use “brethren” when I mean to include the “sisters” too? I have three “mother-tongues” – so that’s my excuse.
I do dislike most of the “dislikes”. But I don’t identify with many of the “likes”.
Does this make me half hip?
Just realised I spelt ‘thanks’ ‘thnks’ – appalling on my part! ;-)
they like Sermon on Mount, electronic music and to read Dietrich Bonhoeffer…..
You had me, right up until the point where you said they, “love thinking and acting Catholic, even if they are thoroughly Protestant. They love the Pope, liturgy, incense, lectio divina, Lent…”
Nope. I have a thorough dislike for just about all thinkgs Catholic. Sorry folks. Just too much wasted pomp and circumstance, too much Dogma, not enough Bible. Too much tradition, not enough Biblical evidence.
And it just went downhill from there. You made it out to sound more like a “Christian Socialist” than a Christian Hipster…
@Andy, perhaps I should have simply wrote “Russian authors with Christian undertones in their writing.” And I disagree with your Tolstoy assessment, but I too like Dostoevsky and your comment made me smile, so well said.
Also, to all the folks who are writing long diatribes about the uselessness of Brett’s book or even this conversation: Christian hipsters don’t take themselves too seriously.
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I think I’m half hipster. It’s fun how hipsters are into breaking taboo’s, but all the hipsters I know including myself are too into themselves breaking taboo’s. We think we are so cool
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Christian hipsters write books about christian hipsters :)
From “Why the Hipster Must Die” from Time Out! New York, May 2007 (Christian Lorentzen)
“Under the guise of “irony,” hipsterism fetishizes the authentic and regurgitates it with a winking inauthenticity. Those 18-to-34-year-olds called hipsters have defanged, skinned and consumed the fringe movements of the postwar era—Beat, hippie, punk, even grunge. Hungry for more, and sick with the anxiety of influence, they feed as well from the trough of the uncool…
Of course, hipsterism being originally, and still mostly, the province of whites (the pastiest of whites), its acolytes raid the cultural stores of every unmelted ethnicity in the pot… these aesthetics are assimilated—cannibalized—into a repertoire of meaninglessness, from which the hipster can construct an identity in the manner of a collage…”
It’s no surprise that so-called “hipster culture” has found root in the church. In the same way that secular hipsters “cannabalize” trends to amalgamize their “defanged” aesthetic, so Christian hipsters subsume all that they perceive as “cool” about the historic church -and with similar result. Go to the local rescue mission in your city (I do) and look for a Christian hipster. At least in my city, you won’t find one. Where you will find him is at the Prince Street Cafe, sitting by a window by himself with his Macbook and his TO WRITE LOVE ON HER ARMS t-shirt and a copy of “Rich Christians In An Age of Hunger,” blogging about how unhip everyone else in the Church is.
If hipsterism is a paradigm which salvages loose bits of marginalized subcultures to create a hodgepodge aesthetic, and if it’s primary purpose is (ironic) self-aggrandizement (evident in the excitement with which most of the respondents to this blog have embraced their label) then the question we should be asking is this: does “hipsterism” have a place in the Kingdom? At the risk of being labeled a “bro” (whatever that means) or worse, NO!
As a future church planter, I even see this trend in the tons of guys that are suddenly “called” to plant churches in the city. And of course, these aren’t going to be like any church you’ve seen before, oh no. Think post-post-modern. Think ancient. Think shoegaze. No meat at this potluck, thanks. And of course what happens is they come in, rent a cool space, talk about ending the war and about acceptance and about egalitarianism, light some candles, and in a few years they are gone. Or worse. Google the topic “emergent/emerging unitarian universalist church” to see what I mean. When you strip the exteriors and the habits and lose the core of the message, that is the remainder. And a lot of people are going to hell (uncool) as a result.
I think that kingdom minded Christians everywhere need to resist becoming empty, fad-chasing narcissists and focus on the gospel, on loving our neighbors as ourselves, and on practicing a simple obedient faith.
It’s not to say that Christians shouldn’t read Nouwen or drink microbrews or download the new Mates of State album or buy local produce at market. Those are fine things. I do all of those things! But my identity is not found in them, and those activities do not intrinsically make me wiser or more mature or more “cultured” than Christians who read Max Lucado and bake cookies for church newcomers. However uncouth I might find a jowly southern TV preacher in a bad suit, I cannot discount his worth to God or the value of his steadfast obedience -however misguided or “culturally irrelevant” I might find his method. I became a believer through the ministry of a man that would be rejected outright by hipster culture. He loved me like a son and placed his priority on being Christ to me and not on trying to act cool, and had it been any other way I probably wouldn’t have given him the time of day from my Urban Outfitters watch.
Wisdom comes from knowing who we are, and knowing who God is, and responding correctly with worship. Wisdom does not come from smoking American Spirits or artfully dangling a bandana out of your back pocket. Wisdom comes from thoughtfully examining our past and learning from the ones who came before us. Widom does not come from namedropping or from creating a caste system of christian culture and placing ourselves at the top.
Am I a Chrstian who listens to indie music and owns a pipe and reads Dostoyevsky and sometimes doesn’t watch his mouth and reads books about social justice etc. etc.? Yes. Does that mean I am part of some fake subculture waiting to appropriate the next faddish style into my cool collage of a life? No.
Resist the label, but more than that resist the temptation to whore yourself out to every trend that comes down the Pitchfork pipeline. Take everything but Christ in moderation, and don’t let anyone tell you you have to do anything but worship him to be an acceptable Christian.
Amen. And Amen. And Amen. Do you hear cheering?
Note: to all those who are complaining about long responses, polemics, etc., why don’t you pull the bandana out of your right back pocket and dry your eyes? When you put your words into the wide world and make statements that qualify people based on their outward appearance or habits and when you begin attachingthings to/removing things from “acceptable” Christian practice -which is actually precious to some people beyond its novelty- you are going to get a passionate response. You can’t expect to have freedom to voice your thoughts and then deny it to others. That is very unhip. Free Tibet!
Brett, hipsters only shop at Trader Joe’s if there’s one nearby and eat “organic” food even though they can’t verify that the food is organic and don’t forget the lofty participation in food co-ops.
Please add felt boards and evangecubes to your list of “weird and awkward evangelism messages.”
Ooops, meant “methods.”
You forgot a few things that set them apart from “regular hipsters” and, by and large, make Christian Hipsters quite congruent with the Jerry Falwell types. Christian hipsters, at least the ones I know, have massive problems with the gay population (although abortion is still top dog). Many do not believe in global warming. Many voted for Bush multiple times and for McCain–and did so because of social issues. In short, they are largely frauds–pretending to be enlightened on one hand, while not deviating from the behavior patterns of their parents that is consistently turning more and more people away from Christianity.
Oh, and about the job thing–why do these types always say they work for a non-profit when they really work for a church or religious organization? Put the word out there, they rest of us aren’t buying that at all.
I’d say Christian Hipsters are also totally down with the gays. the transfolk too. and are kind of into breaking the gender binary. I’d say Christian Hipsters are all about going back to the basic roots of Christianity of love and inclusiveness. and living simply. but we could be talking regionally?
Thanks Dave May/Christian Lorentzen.. for things well said and thought out. Going back to the basic roots – yes… but can those be defined… IF we try to do what some churches think they are doing to get back to basics.. we’d have to get back to living as if we were in the first century. God is infinite and yet chooses to meet us in our finite and linear time frame. Can I hear God through the music on an ipod? I definitely think so. Is this blog causing me to think and to resonate with brothers and sisters from all over …. That is a resounding “YES” coming from me!So – what does back to the basic roots mean?I’d like to know… To do justly and to walk humbly with God? To love my neighbour as myself? To love God with all my heart, mind, body and soul? Possibly…. ? To reach out to all around me in love and inclusiveness? Yes… I think Jesus sets the example.
This is silly! You’re not talking about hipsters, you’re talking about …
Yup, every single trait can be found in your garden-variety Episcopal church.
Is there a garden variety “hybrid”? Episcopal-Hipster? Yale is supposed to be Episcopal.I’ve applied there… Maybe that’s next for me…a “transplant”… but I am multi-cultural, “foreign”, etc. Won’t the cold, hard soil, and wasp weather KILL ME?
Shouldn’t Barth be on the Xn Hipster’s reading list?
Also, speaking as a spineless Canadian Christian Hipster (with a just a soupçon of Anabaptist Street Cred): I wonder how this post might read if you substituted “Things they are profoundly embarrassed by” for “Things they don’t like”?
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might want to just delete this chapter 5 from your book, bro. it’s completely inaccurate, ridiculous, and…from what hole did you pull your nonsensical information? maybe you should switch to writing repetitive praise choruses. there’s a real lack of those things floating around.
ps – instead of bashing n.t. wright…try reading a few of his books or listen to his lectures. enlightenment is hip!
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This is, on the whole, a little more vague and subjective than anything else I’ve read in at least a good long while.
Also, it is quite possibly one of the more offensively narrow things posted to the internet recently.
I tend to not bother leaving comments on blogs, but I couldn’t resist the urge to leave a kind-of ironically wishy-washy comment.
I’m sure I don’t really have a big problem with you personally.
I’m probably just generally a little annoyed that anyone bothered to write a blog post listing their likes and dislikes, and attaching both “christian” and “hipster” to the title- in an effort to frame a social category around yourself.
Possibly your book should try to encourage people not to “hate” anything, or not to “act like” things they aren’t.
Also, promoting smoking and drinking isn’t exactly uplifting, but do your own thing I suppose.
Good Grief……This is completely insane..curious as to why there always has to be a cliche of defining a name or type for a christians affirmation of how they are to be seen in the publics eye…usually with they themselves not having a pure defining moment or accumilating effort of their beings themselves….oh fun!!! Insane……completely. So funny what a gentlemen up top writes….Gee-wizzzz brothers….shall I seek help or check in??? lol…….lol…….lol…..”Rahab”
…I say clear they way for the leaders to approach the bench or curiousity in defining the “Who are You
Really in God’s eyes”?????? yipes….each one marching off into a balivion of mass confussion and embarrassments—huge! Oh fun…….
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Having read your description of what a christian hipster is and the blogs following I have this to say – your book would be for christian hipsters and no-one else because to God what does it matter? Anything written, recorded, filmed etc is useful if it brings a soul to the knowledge that God is truth, God is their saviour. You say this person or that person is hip or unhip but I see little mention of Jesus. What is the difference between a Christian and a Jesus follower? NONE!!!The bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. I would rather be wise than hip. I am not aginst hip culture in itself but I would question those who identify with being Christian hipsters as to where their priorities lie. Is it more important to be hip than to be a follower of Christ. The second commandment Jesus gave – which covers the best part of the original ten was “Love your neighbour as yourself”. Does this exclude the people you profess to dislike?
God sees the heart and it is the heart within that is important not the outward show. God wants true worshippers, however that may manifest itself, be it mainstream or alternative or WHATEVER!!!
As a light-hearted piece this is quite entertaining but I agree with some others about the danger of dividing instead of uniting Christians. Jesus is the head of the Church and it doesn’t matter where you come from so long as He is the centre.
I don’t mean any disprespect by this, but rather some critical feedback. You and your readers (current & future) deserve better.
There is no need for yet another tawdry label. My blood’s temperature starts to rise when I read this; I find it more aggravating than humorous and more divisive than informative. There are a couple notable remarks in the comments, but sadly there’s more substance there than in chapter 5.
Yours isn’t a very thorough or equitable sociological study. There are (at least) two sides to the term “hipster” that deserve attention. (I hope in your book you dig into these and more, and don’t settle for a piddly laundry list of surface-level observations.)
The first side to hipsterdom is a youthful, trend-conscious sector of evangelical culture. Probably raised in the church and seeking (as most youth do) a lifestyle to delineate themselves from the preceding generations. This is a natural part of being young. While possibly shallow, it’s the innocent process of connecting with one’s own emotional state and a journey toward finding a voice which articulates it. Everyone deserves to travel the road toward self awareness, sometimes floundering, in an attempt to understand how faith intersects with individuality.
The second seems to simply have a grip on what it is to be human. They gravitate back to the old, the historical–toward tradition. They’re attracted to the timeless and foundational community that is humanity–the spirit of our forefathers. Liturgy and literature, pipes and whiskey; these are all outward signs of an inner movement. That movement is toward a deeper enjoyment of and participation in life (smoking, drinking, fashion, social justice). It is the urge to learn from what came before us (literature, art, philosophy), an intrigue that drives us toward the mystical and to know the God that is greater than us.
A couple people mentioned in the comments that low church is a fairly recent phenomenon. My personal bias is that low church doesn’t offer the substantive spirituality or religion that its proponents think it does. What this list tells me, if nothing else, is that there are people who are beginning to listen to their spirits and not simply to the popular majority. There is good reasons to pay attention to this small crowd and the direction in which they’re headed.
What should matter is not a banner, title or catchphrase but rather what good people are doing for the world, how people are becoming more Christ-like. Let people be people. And let Christians be human. The emphasis in your study shouldn’t be on superfluous terminology but on the promotion of Christians living lives worthy of Christ. The banner over us isn’t “Hipster”; the banner over us Love.
Maybe the book as a whole will be more informative and insightful that chap. 5? I sure as hell hope so.
You are absolutely stupid.
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i think another name i have heard for these people (with whom i include myself, from your description) is “post-evangelical.” this is definitely a less fun name and more dry (which is to say academic), but i think it might do a better job of conveying the broader trend.
Haha, John Elderidge’s book is ridiculous, Sufjan Stevens is awesome, and its not my fault that Catholics do some things a lot better than Protestants, and I would advise everyone to have a higher respect for Communion, I guess St. Augustine would be a hipster… oh darn…
Nice blog.. I never thought there are “christian hipsters” hehehe..
You know, it’s hard for me to say whether I’m a Christian Hipster or not. I wear skinny jeans, artsy shirts, and listen to indie rock, sure. But I don’t drink Pabst Blue Ribbon (or any beer, for that matter), drive a one-gear bicycle, or care about various left-wing social issues. Politically, I describe myself as Libertarian, which I suppose is vaguely hipsterish. Go Ron Paul!
Theologically, I’m pretty much a straight-up evangelical. I find the whole Emergent Church thing snotty, arrogant, counterintuitive, and largely based on people trying to look cool and be different from “Mom and Dad’s Christianity” just for the sake of it. I really love apologetics and take much of my theological influence from guys like William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, Ben Witherington, and other similar figures. I often find the modern church anti-intellectual, especially when it comes to the Emergent movement, which seems to be more about exploring your feelings than searching for objective truth. In theological matters I’m quite old-school. Not what you’d expect from a 21-year old, perhaps.
Most of the people I know who are Christian Hipsters just dress (skinny jeans, v-neck shirts, long bangs, etc.) like it, and they’re generally the guys who play in the praise and worship band at various churches. Many Emergent types I’ve run into don’t really fit this formula, as they’re the ones who constantly blab about things like global warming and fair trade or whathaveyou.
The main problem is that “hipster” is a vague term that is used to describe such a wide range of people that it means barely anything. Hipsters are commonly stereotyped as being snotty or arrogant, but I’m not like this and most of the hipsterish people I know aren’t either. Oddly enough, I don’t really like hanging out with other hipster types – I’d rather be with the geeks, really. I doubt this would be much of an issue with me at all, were it not for the way I dress, which will naturally cause people to assume I’m a hipster. Bottom line is that you can’t assume people act a certain way based on how they’re dressed, something that I see in virtually all Internet hipster hate-rants. The same thing should apply to those within Christianity.
Honestly, I don’t care how other people dress. It’s just fun for me, and I think that’s really the point. Just wear whatever you like – I don’t think Jesus would be too pleased at people who feel like they have to be cooler than others in church. My whole identity isn’t wrapped up in my clothes from Urban Outfitters or my Arcade Fire and Sonic Youth albums, for Pete’s sake. Those things are just incidental. In fact I’m vaguely afraid to mention these sorts of things to people because I’m afraid they’ll assume I’m a hipster and make all sorts of weird judgments about me! This label’s a curse, not a blessing, and I’m sure as heck not trying to “fit in” with the alleged subculture!
By your definition, I guess I’m pretty much a Christian Hipster. I love Chuck Klosterman. I read God’s Politics and was a little disappointed. I’m vaguely intrigued by the ideas of hookah and environmentalism. Many Christian hipsters I’ve encountered are interested in the Peace Corps, but I’ve never really been too thrilled with it.
Someone probably already said it, but I think Donald Miller might be the quentessential Christian Hipster.
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How has no one yet mentioned the correlated phenomenon of Crunchy Conservatives?
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Do we really need another book to divide the body of Christ? Really? Do we really need another reason to point fingers at one another and say that they are not loving G-d the way the other person wants them to? Do we really need more people sitting on pedestals and thinking of themselves as better than other Christians? Do we really need more judging, more anger, more sadness, more separation, more cliques, more country-club-esque memberships?
If I remember correctly, Jesus loved everyone. Jesus sat with sinners and tax collectors, prostitutes and lepers. I’m pretty sure if he was here, he would still love the “christian hipsters” and the non-hipsters. As a body of christ, I think we should do less finger pointing and more loving.
I’ve never read any of your other blogs, and someone linked this blog to me. But Sir, I’ll ask you… is your book going to just cause more finger pointing, more judging, more division? If so, I really don’t believe that the Christian community needs another book like this. There is enough out there already.
I think i fit hipster by a lot of these traits, though i don’t think anyone would consider me a hipster… But the fact that i work at Boeing negates me from ever being a hipster no matter what my other characteristics were… Someone please shoot me now. It is impossible to be a hipster and to work in a place that makes missiles. I am having a small crisis right now. HELP!
I just found this delightful post. I fit the profile almost word for word, until the last paragraph (no tattoos or clove cigarettes for me) and I am surely the squarest person God ever made. Am I cooler than I thought, or did I need that last list of items to fully qualify?
Who are we to judge lest we be judged… How can we call ourselves Christians unless we love ALL man no matter of their beliefs or ideals? Do unto others my fellow lovers of Christ…
This is super awesome. You’re right on.
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Yawn, another modern christian updo. Christianity has been remade how many times into man’s image of what we want it to be? Yuck. Exclusionary niceties. Christianity itself has lasted all these years because it follows the hard slog to believe when it’s tough not to. Dogma and ritual isn’t BS. It’s value are surviving the times when someone comes along and says, “I don’t like that. It isn’t hip enough.”
Pat Robertson will far outlive your Christian Hipsterism. What a farce.
Stop reselling this crap to me. It’s okay to want your music and burn cloves. Just don’t sell it as Christianity in any form. “Hipsters love Catholicism, Orthodox or protestants.” Whatever. Do they love Christ? Do they believe Christ is divine? Do they accept Christ above all others? Do they love Muslims, Hindus and Budhists? Do they accept or allow for those beliefs AS they do their very own?
Hope your book does well.
I agree with the many that there really isn’t a need for more labels, more ‘redefinitions’ of Christianity, more reasons that “this way is the best way to worship!” But, minus the whole part on Catholic tendencies (although I do lean toward general iconic/tradition-like tendencies), I’m pretty much your standard ‘Christian Hipster’ to a tee… I suppose.
However, a simple documentation on this occurrence of hipsterism in Christianity would probably suffice. But writing a whole book on it? What is it to prove? Who would gain from it? Why a book, and not something to actually benefit this group of people more? Truthfully, from reading this small blurb I have gained insight that there are other Christians out there like me, but that doesn’t mean I’d pay or even read a whole book on what some random person’s definition of that lifestyle is.
Anyway, God bless and good luck with your ventures.
To add to the list of Christian Hipster Icons:
Moe Tucker (drummer for the Velvet Underground)
The idea of Tucker playing with VU Saturday night at some Andy Warhol happening and then going to mass the next day is too cool for words…
This reminds me of the site “what white people like” except it’s “what Christian hispsters like”. In fact, I think Christian hispsters would probably like that website. It’s funny – although I don’t agree with a lot of Catholic theology, I am enamored with the candles, wine, etc… Never realized that was part of being a hipster. This hits a little close to home…
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The real problem for the Christian-wannabe-hipster is that most believe that God has already given a detailed outline for how life ought to go. The whole indie/alt/whatever is rooted in philosophies that reject the notion of the given ie Nietzche, Heideger, Sartre, et al and is a rejection of orthodox Christianity. So, it becomes a matter of fashion or wanting to be cool for the Christian. I used to be a Christian with just this problem. No offense, because I did it too, but the feigned reluctance to identify one’s self as a hipster is really kind of pathetic.
Know the publishing of the book is a ways away, but I’m really interested to hear your commentary on the cons and “unorthodoxies” of Christian hipster-dom. I’m afraid I myself fit the mold (and strive to fit the mold) of the hipster Christian, and it causes me a bit of concern. “He who marries the spirit of the age” and all that… I’m unsure whether or not dressing up my faith in clothes from the Gap and forcing it to drink lattes while I read it excerpts from “Miracles” and “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” is missing the point. Are we too “cool” for our own good?
Of course, like any generation, I’m sure that we hipsters have our pros as well (I could guess at some), and I’d love to hear those praised as well. And then there’s just the “fun stuff” that is not necessarily good or bad, but just “is”. Anyway…
I’m a life long Catholic that is very liberal. I love horror movies, indie rock, and literature. I went to a very liberal school (UCLA) and had my faith tested often, but nothing could ever quite dissuade me from my savior.
I have had a really hard time dating. I love punk rock, metal, and hardcore. I always meet girls that are super into the scene but always leave when they find out I’m Christian. I REALLY want to meet a liberal girl that has faith and charity at the core of her being. Us Christian hipsters walk a tough path. So tired of being lonely!
I’ve finally decided to come to terms with my hipsterdom this past year… how hipster, say you? Well, I am writing this on my Apple Computer (first read it on my iPhone), being looked upon by my wall of icons, under the glow of my IKEA lamp, wearing a cotton henley, Levi’s, a pair of TOMs Shoes, all while I toss my head aside to keep my bangs out of my eyes and I occasionally scratch at my well-grown beard… oh, and I’m listening to David Bazan, too!
With that all being said, I like what you’re doing and am looking forward to the book. However, (and this might have already been covered on your comments section… didn’t read it all) there is a point of clarification that might need to be made. It seems to me that for you Christian=Evangelical. The notions of “Christian Hipsters” liking liturgy, et. al., isn’t so much a matter of hipsterishness for Episcopalians like myself. It’s just everyday stuff (though, to be fair, I was once an Evangelical Hipster who found the “smells and bells” to be enticing at one point… only I made a switch to be in a church where that has been a long part of the tradition). And your comments on “Christian Hipsters” liking the old-school evangelists doesn’t really apply to Christians in my tradition (or Catholics, Orthodox, Lutheran). It applies to Evangelicals, to be sure. But not everyone in Christendom.
This is something that a lot of people in the Church are guilty of. RELEVANT magazine, for example, makes this same assumption. It’s important to remember that just because it is common among Evangelicals, it might not be among the rest of the Christian faith.
I think the problem with the Christian Hipster is that he/she is desperately trying to be hip (and judging other Christians’ lameness) by following trends that were popular six years ago, thus making themselves lame.
Also, the excited self-identification as ‘hipster’ automatically precludes one from hipness. And yes, the term ‘hipster’ was tired in 2004. Anyway, judging from the current lag in trend adoption, I predict that they’ll be interested in American Apparel by 2010, Arcade Fire by 2012, and taxidermy and speakeasies by 2014. You’ll see!
christians are just now latching on to the term hipster? i knew you guys were a few years behind but this is just too funny
First a disclaimer: I pastor a church full of “Christian hipsters”. So with that said, here’s my thoughts. There is such an oxymoron in this whole new Christian fad! What I’m discovering that there is such a difference between Christian hipsters and Gen X Christians. Christian hipsters definitely looks the part, (hip in all) but don’t necessarily have the ability to hear others journeys and questions concerning life and faith. They are actually more conservative/judgmental than their parents, but they just have more piercings and tattoos! They necessarily don’t like Dr. James Dobson, but they actually live and believe as he does. i.e. hot topics like gay marriage and immigration. Thoughts?
This should be a South Park episode.
What is wrong with this post? Any takers?
If any of us were beginning with Wisdom: the fear of God over anything else, we wouldn’t be even THINKING about idiotic terminology and what sect of High School, I mean, Dogma we belong to. This crap is so narcissistic. “I’m emo-rasta-punk”. “OH yeah? Well, I’m goth-raver-jock”. I mean, Seriously.
Try a little research on the competitive nature of icons and fanshionistas; sink your teeth into ancient Greco-Roman philosophies; and follow up with a little Revelation of Jesus Christ.
Or just spend more time indulging the tabloids & make notes.
p.s. sock puppets rule.
Sounds like “holier than thou” meets “cooler than thou” . . .
i’m over hipster. seems like a some people being themselves, enjoying the world in a good way and also loving jesus alot, which is now turning into a dark pit of too cool for school; the ‘natural’ drift from freedom to un-freedom. moved cities and from a rather hipsterish church (which i loved!) to one that isnt (which i love!). While fully claiming these as my issues, only noticed, post, the sense of freedom of not being respected for being able to quote nietche and the insiduous expectation of cool. Which (well obviously) shouldn’t be in the church.
Brett, enjoying nosing around your blog. provoking thoughts that there is of lots of thinking to be done! love it.
I’m deliberately not correcting my spelling misstake which shows me up. thats how much i’m not a hipster. or how much i am. oh flip.
I google searched “christian hipster” in search of Christians like myself. Although i don not fall into the “Do’s” category too accurately, I do share a distaste for all things christian (besides christ). Write about me in your book. Heh heh.
these are telltale signs of a christian scenster, or try-hard.
hipsters ‘try hard’, but don’t acknowlegdge it. scensters ‘try hard’ and acknowledge it.
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You know what’s the most Christian about this post? That it’s about ten years behind the times. The fact that you as a Christian are wasting time on this bandwagon is pathetic. The word hipster is generally meant to be a diss. I thought we were supposed to be kind to people. Don’t waste trees trying to make a cheap buck off of a passe term. The joke isn’t funny anymore! Sorry after hearing the word hipster for way too long I’m bored and annoyed. You serve the creator of the universe, a little more creativity and originality please. Thanks for giving non-Christians another thing to make fun of us about.
I have to agree with Roxie. Non Christian Hipsters would delight in thinking that a so-called ‘Hipster’ who is Christian is 10 years behind them. In reality, you’re just referring to the more creative class of Hipsters- those who identify with art, literature, music, usually under 30 crowd (although this has changed to a degree) who don’t dress in double breasted suits or get their news from the 700 Club and no more preachers than the ones presented on TBN. The irony here is, its presented as these Christians are more worldly, which is not truly the case. IMO, God does not limit his creative expression. I know that a so-called Christian Hipster also usually refrains from drinking PBR and smoking- something Hipsters do all the time.
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I applaud your attempts to be funny, but … sorry. Fell terribly flat. I think your spin-off from the “Stuff White People like” blog-variety is about 2 years too late. Oops, was that just hipster-posturing on my part?
PS, hipsters still like Sedaris, Lethem, et al.?? Maybe you should retitle your blog entry: Are you a Christian (self-hating white and yuppie from Ohio, transplant in Bushwick, NY) hipster.
I find the whole discussion of Christian and Hip to be oxymoronic and downright hilarious! Read John Leland’s “Hip: The History” and tell me how Christians have, or ever will be, hip?
In Leland’s own words:
The word “hip” is commonly used in approval, but this glosses its many limitations. Though it likes a revolutionar pose, hip is ill equipped to organize for a cause. No one will ever reform campaign finance laws under hip’s banner, nor save the enviroment. A hipper foreign policy will not get us out of this fix. Hip steps back…Hip is not genius, though it is often mistaken for such by people who ought to know better…Hip rationalizes poor life choices; it squanders money, love, talent. This is not a book about devoted fathers, good husbands or community pillars. Hip is a convenient excuse for fuckups. It can also be corrosive and small-minded.
Ha. I didn’t realize I fit into a group. While not all things describe me, enough of them did. All this time I thought I was a lone rebel…
Not sure that I like the title, but c’est la vie.
Is there a difference between “christian hipster” and “emergent”?
To Whom It May concern,
This is Rev. Robert Wright, Editor for http://www.Christian.com which is a social network made specifically for Christians, by Christians, to directly fulfill Christian’s needs. Christian.com has many great features aside from the obvious like christian TV, prayer request or even find a church/receive advice and to offer the ENTIRE christian community an outlet to join together. We have emailed you because we have interest in collaborating with you and your blog to help us spread the good word. I look forward for your response regarding the matter,
|1 International Blvd.|Mahwah, NJ 07495|
Interesting… All I have to say is that “Christianity” is not an ADJECTIVE, IT IS A NOUN. Christianity is Christ. It is not about our activity, it is about our identity. It is sad to see so many searching for an “Identity” outside of the Christ of Christianity.
Hipsters and non-hipsters can have their Christian dating, Christian coffee shops, Christian movies, Christian pipes, Christian roller skating clubs, Christian disco, and any other Christian adjective. As for me and my house, give me Christ, and He is enough.
Grace and Peace,
It’s kind of ironic that “Christian Hipsters” supposedly don’t like megachurches and modern Christian Music. I’ve always seen megachurches and Christian rock bands as attempts to make Jesus seem “hip” to the youth.
But what do I know; I hate megachurches and and modern Christian music just like the next Christian Hipster. I prefer my church of 100 people who sing traditional hymns. thank you very much!
What is the age limit on being a Christian Hipster?
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Truly we do try to follow Christ, rather than a doctrine or denomination-sort of priding ourselves on not being fettered by dress code, vis the Mormons or JW’s. Billy said it most succinctly when he said, “Christianity is not a religion…it is a personal relationship with God”. It is true. Personal relation ship is where we find ourselves after the Sunday school stuff, the Christianity 101 stuff.
Being part of a “swarm” is an extremely powerful element of human behavior…but that is not technically, human behavior. It is what we find in animal behavior…something we are strongly advised not to fall into, which we do so easily. So the dilemna we find ourselves in repeatedly…is any kind of ‘church’ which , naturally, needs a regular river of cash flowing into, to support the leaders and their families…and before long, you have a dress code and style of worship…so we’re back to the ‘costumes, and ceremonies’ of religion…along with a strong sense of …
belonging’ to a ‘cool group’…that ostensibly, is on some kind of carnival Cruise to Heaven…and we all feel secure and happy with our ‘new found friends’. it feels “secure’, doesn’t it…to belong?
Especially to a Heaven bound group. The only problem is something God said in the first person singular, addressed to us all, that has changed the game entirely for me. He said plainly, “Come out from among them; be a separate person, and i will take you in”.
I’m afraid it really is a lonely and personal effort…and a severe effort at that…not casual at all. Problem is we don’t like ” being a nobody, and lonely”.
But then, that defines practically all the prophets and Moses.
In the meantime…I found the mega church, and the simple minded , thundering crush of sound from the mega church dais extremely unsettling. I felt they were simply trying to hypnotize youth with driving, relentless, simple music phrases and ultra simple teaching. It seemed a little like a cross between Barney the Purple dinosaur ( I love you, you love me )…and heavy metal. It was amusing and cute to see the youth doing a hip hop choreography though. It’s all just so confounding, however.
I am writing on behalf of Peter Bradrick the producer of a documentary called “Segregation” a biblical critique of the modern youth ministry being produced this fall. He liked your article on “The Perils of ‘Wanna Be Cool’ Christianity” as seen in the Wall Street Journal and would like to seek a video interview with you for this upcoming film. If you are interested we work on your convenience at your location for a short interview. Due to the time constraints of our schedule he would like to do an interview as soon as possible so a timely response would be greatly appreciated. I couldn’t get any contact info for you but I face-booked you. You can google “Segregation” to see the trailer for this movie, I think you will like it.
Thank you for your consideration,
This thread is becoming cumbersome. may I suggest we start a new one?
I rather expected to hear ‘hipsters’ with a whole range of divergent views. Wind a Christian up, and another denomination will be born. Personally, I am dismayed that so many who call themselves Christian simply do not believe in the 6 day Creation. meaning we prefer to reduce God, and His son, to a ‘bite size’ ‘thing’ incapable of creating anything…like ourselves-ignorant of the simple fact that angels are powerful things, and there are billions of these ‘assistants’. I am going to offend a lot of hipsters by saying this: with such astounding intelligence, enough to make a leper all new again with a touch, please think, hipsters, about your music which consists of 4 notes sung over and over, and a sentence or two sung over and over. REally, people. Iguanas have more complex thoughts than these.
Firstly, some of this stuff I couldn’t agree with you more like being fond of CS Lewis’ writings, and disliking what Pat Robertson has to say, yeah, those are no brainers; but seriously Benny Hinn?! That guy does more harm for the meaning of the gospel and the legacy of what Christ’s sacrifice means. Even if it is a “wry” fondness as you phrase it he is no joking matter. My heart aches when I think that some people that don’t yet know the love of Jesus see that guy and that he may be all they ever see of Christianity. How could one who knows the saving grace of Jesus and has fealt that love and that change in his or her heart think so flipppantly of such a deciever of souls as Benny Hinn?
Also, you contradict yourself. You say that you, as the self-proclaimed Christian hipster, do not like, “…evangelical leaders who get too involved in politics, such as James Dobson…” (Dopson is a conservative for anyone that is not familiar with him), but then you go on to say that you “… love books like … God’s Politics by Jim Wallis…” (Wallis is a progressive and is Obama’s newest “spiritual” adviser who preachers more on social justice than he does on the Bible.)
Clearly we know what camp you are coming from politically. Define social justice: Social justice is based on the concepts of human rights and equality and involves a greater degree of economic egalitarianism through progressive taxation, income redistribution, or even property redistribution. These policies aim to achieve what developmental economists refer to as more equality of opportunity than may currently exist in some societies, and to manufacture equality of outcome in cases where incidental inequalities appear in a procedurally just system.
So, thus far as a self-proclaimed hipster you would by your definition be one who is fond of pretty much anything worldly, believes in collective salvation (as Jim Wallis and Obama do) and steers clear of anything that has actual spiritual content or merit such as, hmmmm, I don’t know… The Bible maybe? What about love, isn’t that what Christianity is all about? Why not start churches, why not care about your fellow human’s souls and eternal salvation?
Jam 2:17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Jam 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
Your hipstering doesn’t sound very Christian at all in fact….
Please do not attempt to hijack Christianity and make it into some kind of political or social stance, you disgrace your creator and His message when you do so. Whether you are wearing emo skinny jeans or not it has always been hip to read God’s word and not because society or the progressive party tells you it’s hip but because our Lord breathed the Word into life so that we may know Him and that is pretty amazingly cool that He loves us enough to do that.
… concerning the Word of life— 1Jo 1:2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—
Your idea of being a Christian hipster is not some original idea that you’ve come up with, in fact it is exactly what Satan has told us that he would use against us from the beginning of time and it is exactly what society and the media are telling you you should be. Gen 3: “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”… “You will not surely die.
… “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”…..
You are not groundbreaking here, you are falling for the same old lie and this time it’s coming from politicians, educators and the media and unfortunately we like sheep have gone astray. That message being bought and sold across the world is that Christians are close-minded, bigoted and offensive and therefore we must redefine what a Christian is. Don’t fall for that please. Show the world through your works that that lie is in fact a lie and that Christians are loving individuals who want others to know the love and joy that they have received freely from the Lord’s grace. Redefine the perception of the lie not the truth of the Bible.
You are not defining a Christian hipster, you are defining the lukewarm church, the church of the Laodiceans and the Lord says in Revelation that He will vomit that church out. You’ve also got some of the new age church in here too which is a disturbing faction in itself. You are not setting a new trend in Christianity, you are falling prey to an age old diluting of the importance of God and an increased importance in society and worldliness.
Please, in your quest to define a new Christianity please consider that any NEW Christianity is not from the Lord.
Relevant Magazine should rename themselves to Cliche’ Magazine.
Lots of interesting ( and right on ) comments for your upcoming tome with the catchy title. Max above said words to the effect that ‘lower evengelical churches discarded adornment and ritual’. Coming from a lifelong church awash in ritual, it puzzled me greatly as to why so many churches pride themselves on total absence of adornment. In part it was started by the original “nothing Fancy” folks, the Puritans-that was all connected to kings and frilly, featherred hat cavaliers…who drove those folks out of England. America adopted the notion of adornment is excrement, a phrase coined by Adolf Loos of the Bauhaus school of nothing fancy. So it has its roots in ‘us against them’…which still reverberates today in “Main Street versus Wall Street. So is it actually, youth versus crotchety old curmudgeons? So now, music with three chords, and three words, and a lame excuse for melody line that usually descends, but rarely exceeds one octave. In the high art world, any extravagance like nice color, or skill with drawing is eliminated…hip hop taking this to its logical extreme of percussion only. Meaning the ‘enemy’ is skill with music and art?
Which is , in fact, the worship of youth – who are ( it is presumed by the term Hip ) ‘ahem’ qualified to lead the nation in theological excellence? …NOT ! It IS a manifestation of the dumbing down of America.
footnote: (had to leave before I finished the above ). Part of the reason you see great throngs attending ‘church’ in what amounts to a basketball gymnasium, is that people prefer to attend church anonymously. Most of these people are entry level, barely dip their toes in to the Faith folks, with a very low expectation of performance from them individually. So it is a lot like the Universal Unitarian Chrucrh, where there is no pressure to believe or do anything in particular. Thus the ultra simplistic Christianity 101 works just fine…like Joel osteen…who deliberately makes you ‘feel good about yourself”..and leave content.
This explains why the theoretically “hip” music is growing so large…it “appears” that the dumbed down music is the “key” to bringing in youth. No it is pandering to their limited capabilities and limited experiences. The experience is all but useless. With such Pre school like Faith the young person is not prepared at all for any real shocking body slam financially or maritally, or by car accident or random act of violence.
In short, it is about financial success for the “inner circle” of this “hip church”. Case in point: on recent national news broadcasts, it was discovered that many online universities are burdening young people with enormous education costs via student loans…but the credits are not transferrable !…these students discover that they are not qualified for any kind of job!
This is a criminal act! So this is a gravely serious accusation I level at “hip churches”. God has said plainly, “The people in the city will die in their sins…but I will charge the watchmen with their deaths.”
Let me be plain: “playing”…”toying” with the Faith as you are is only your simple minded parroting of the ‘talk and the walk’. These “leaders” spoon feeding you fluff ( while mesmerizing you with incredibly stupid, mind numbing, no talent music ) are nothing more than self serving circus side show hucksters, fleecing you of every last nickel of your “allowance”.
Why do men climb Everest? “Because it is there”,… they tell us. Why do men come forward to fleece great throngs of room temperature I.Q. people with what “appears” to be Theology?…Because you are there !
A parting shot to a venerable old church I used to belong to from birth, the Episcopal Church …there it is a great show and pretense of being ‘top of the heap”, “numero Uno”, Big Cheese”…just look at the fancy cars in the parking lot ! There too you will find theologic fluff, and a low performance or understanding. Just out of curiosity, on many occasions, I have asked a question about Judges, or Malachi, or Revelation to a fellow member of this Episcopal church. Not surprisingly, I get the blank stare. The answer is, “We don’t attend St. _ _ _ _ in order to come to a greater understanding of the Bible and the mind and will of God. We come here to ‘network’.
They are very proud of their 500 year old music – which is a way of pointing to their lineage heritage, and “old Money”. You will often hear them boast of their ancestor from ten generations back…which is ridiculous, since ten generations back, over a thousand people are involved in the gene pool. See what I mean by “fluff”?
What would I like to see? An enormous outpouring of talent to come from youth, art, music, and sophisticated levels of theological understanding
If today’s young people really tried, they could usher in a “Golden Age”
The result would be a cataract of justice, and a torrent of doing good…and an explosion of truly green economics.
Eh a real pickupartist can use any line or any tactic, but this works well too – as long as the “inner state” is there.
Two questions. Do “hipsters” read the Bible and pray? Or is that just to conventional? (I guess that’s three, but who’s counting)
WHAT?! are u kidding me! are u people retarded!?
Hipster: worldly involvement/indulgence
Christian Hipster=??? a contradiction maybe?!?!?
What are you dumb kids doing? Stop taking a dump on Christianity! Its not a game! Dont use it to make YOURSELF more interesting! Dont throw Jesus around like hes nobody, “just a cool guy who loved and hung out” hes GOD, your FATHER, not your buddy who drinks with you. Read the bible! Dont represent Christ if you dont live Christ.
I guess this is Christianity’s attempt to jump on another bandwagon, (in this case marketing).
Hipster ‘used’ to mean those with interests outside the mainstream culture but, with the mainstream and alternative currently morphing into one homogenous blob this isn’t so much the case any more.
But aside from this wouldn’t the main point of contention here be based upon how religion, (a typically mainstream institution), is attempting to align itself with the counterculture?
Isn’t that just an oxymoron?
A Christian hipster is an oxymoron.
A “Christian” is a “little Christ.”
A “hipster” is, at least 50 percent, a person defined by an image or an appearance. Was Christ concerned with image and appearance? Here’s what we know about Christ’s appearance:
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” – Isaiah 53:2
As far as I’m concerned, the more like Christ we become, the more our concern for appearance and image burns away. If you see your own child dying at your feet, and your only desire is to make that child live, are you going to care how you look or sound or act at that moment? As we become like Christ, we come into that very compassion – Christ’s compassion – for a dying world – so it simply doesn’t make sense that a mirror or a photograph of ourselves would be compelling in the midst of such profound compassion.
Those are my thoughts on the ontology of “hipster Christianity”
I’m sorry, but I’m having trouble finding the Christian part of this.
Claiming to be a Christian is one thing. Actually being one is another. All of the statements above (aside from the Catholic things and reading books by Christian authors) sound to me like very worldy things. Smoking, dressing emo, getting tatted up, etc. If we as Christians are supposed to live apart from the world, then why would we engage in worldy things? We are to be salt and light to the world. We can only achieve that by being different. Not in a a hipster-y different way, but in an inwardly way, if that makes sense. The only label that Christians should have, i think, is just that- the label “Christian.”. A “hipster Christian” is merely a worldly peron calling themselves a Christian,like so many other people in the world. His Word says “If you say you love me but do not do as I say, then you are a liar.” If we are told to be apart from the world- different from the world- then we should be just that.
Can one be a Secular Humanist Christian Hipster? Or are there one too many seemingly contradictory approaches to religion, philosophy and socio-cultural inclination stacked on one another therein? I suppose Unitarians kinda come close…
That’s a good question.
I don’t have an answer, but I like where the questions are leaning.
(do you think Christian hipsters, of whatever variety, like questions?)
ISIAIh 41 BRING forth your IDOLS did they PREACH to you see they can’t speak they can’t DO ANYTHING all they do is cause confusion. spalms 115 and spalms 135 thier IDOLS are FALSE cant speak can’t hear cant smell and those that make them shall become like them. Jeremiah 10 they nail their IDOL down like a scarecrow it can’t move can’…t speak can’t move must be carried these are nothing but the WORK of CON men.john 10 jesus christ sais his sheep hear his voice and another voice thy will not follow and if another person tries to preach to them they WILL FLEE from him. jeremiah 5 the priests bear rule on their own authority what will you do when your judged my word is not inside them. Now here is the kicker john 5 son of man voice goes back in time mathew 16 jesus christ claims to be the son of man.1 cor2 mind of CHRIST preached internally and john 16 sais the spirit of truth comes in the future. Ezekiel 13 lying prophets of ISRAEL my word is not inside them saying god sais god sais god sais wrote hoping mankind would CONFIRM their WORDS. all of this is EASILY verifiable.
Agree with Breanna, quite frankly terribly worried about what we call “contemporary christianity”.
Seems to me like these kids are just plain hipsters; disliking certain cultural figures and music based on rebellious instinct seem far off from disapproving something or someone because it contradicts the holy doctrine stablished in scriptures. I personally don´t agree with a total separation from the world (that would completely lack purpose) however i am against letting culture rule over God´s law.
Oh and that whole Chaves argument, maybe we should let these kids know that he is an actual dictator and has managed to destroy what was left of a beautiful Venezuela (lived there) so a real hipster would in fact be against his regime.
“Christian hipsters tend not to like contemporary Christian music (CCM)…”
I woud change that to “Christian hipsters tend not to like NEW contemporary Christian music”. I think a lot of Christian hipsters like myself still enjoy the CCM they listened to around the high school years, either ironically/nostalgically (Stephen Curtis Chapman “Saddle up your horses!”) or legitimately because “new Christian music sucks”. My favorites would be part of the Five Iron Frenzy, Plankeye, Poor Old Lu, Starflyer 59 scene.
Reading this, I thought I was a Christian hipster when I got to the book list and realized I liked all the right sort of books. Then I wasn’t so sure when I got to the liturgy and incense bit (actually I really do like all of that but I have to keep quiet about it because I’m a Mennonite). But I’m probably too old to be a hipster anyway, at 58. Anyway, I like Coldplay, that can’t possibly be cool.
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