About Brett McCracken

Brett McCracken is a Los Angeles-based writer and journalist. He is the author of Hipster Christianity: When Church & Cool Collide (Baker, 2010) and Gray Matters: Navigating the Space Between Legalism & Liberty (Baker, 2013). He has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, CNN.com, The Princeton Theological Review, Mediascape, Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Relevant, IMAGE Journal, Converge and Q Ideas. He speaks and lectures frequently at universities, churches & conferences.

A graduate of Wheaton College and UCLA (M.A. in Cinema & Media Studies), Brett currently works as managing editor for Biola University’s Biola Magazine and is pursuing a Master’s in Theology at Talbot School of Theology.

Like anyone else, Brett spends his free time indulging in the finer things in life: church, family, friends, cinema, literature, music, poetry, sports, traveling, good food and drink, being outside, etc… He probably indulges in some of this a little too much (as it is his job to do so).

The Search was birthed in July 2007 out of a fascination with search engines (as the increasingly dominant metaphor of the 21st century experience) and a general affection for the existential notion of “the search” as coined in Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer. The Search exists for any and every one of us who—in seeking truth, dialogue, epiphany, and connection—feels the spiritual pull toward that state of “being on to something” bigger and brighter than ourselves.

For speaking engagement requests or general comments/questions, contact Brett at: brett.mccracken @ gmail.com

Also on Facebook & Twitter and other social sites.

89 responses to “About Brett McCracken

  1. Hey Brett,
    Wasn’t sure where exactly to send this but knowing you affinity for Friday Night Lights, which I also liked very much, I though you might enjoy this read from ESPN.com.


  2. Hello,

    I stumbled onto your blog through a picture of Christopher McCandless, and I really like your thoughts of faith, literature and film. I’m a kind of relapsed/regrowing Christian whose life has been a reaction to growing up evangelical and what happens after a person gets out of the “box” and travels away/abroad.

  3. Hi, Brett. I also found you by the Chris McCandless photo… I, too, have been sucked into the mystery! I’ve really enjoyed reading some of your articles (especially the one on avatars and being your own creator…). With your passion for the true Christian message and relevant Christian art, I thought I’d direct you to the Art Project and Mckenzie Study Center, if you haven’t already discovered them. (http://www.mckenziestudycenter.org/index.html) They are people worth meeting.

  4. Hi Brett. I was in Jeanne Murray Walker’s workshop with you during the CSLF Summer Institute at Williams College, 2006. I have forgotten the exact words of one of your poems but I remember it evoked the very Percy quote now posted on your blog. That was a great class. I’ll finish a m.f.a in creative nonfiction in May. Earlier this year, I had the audacity to begin an online project, LiturgicalCredo.com, a member of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses.
    Please send your poems.
    And if you or anyone you know would be interested in joining this project on a regular basis, please let me know. The idea, loosely and broadly defined, is to show how liturgical-sacramental faith shapes the way individuals see and experience the world. I need co-laborers in the cause.
    Either way, send some poems! colin@liturgicalcredo.com

  5. brett! i took a quick look at your blog – great stuff. i think i’m going to bookmark your page:). Hope you are doing well and enjoying life in LA. take care!

  6. Hey Brett. Your article in Relevant was great! I’m a film student at Chapman University (0riginally from New Jersey) and I just want to encourage you as another Christian trying to make a difference in the industry.

    I’m making a facebook application that will help filmmakers connect with each other and actors. UCLA students would like it. Can I send you more details?


  7. Hey there Brett, I just wanted to let you know that I think your site is a great use of internet. It’s hard to find good site’s with meat and humor and interest that are simple and fun to use. I go to Bel Air Pres and as a fellow LAian, I understand the merit of being a Christian with something worthwhile to contribute in a world that screams cheap sex, and airhead humor. If you are ever doing any films/tv stuff etc, and need an extra hand or actress, I would love to lend my gifts to your imagination and causes. God’s Blessings, Emily

  8. Brett,

    Could you give some more info/feedback on why Dexter seems so good? The premise seems – well – wrong, if you see what I mean. However, I want to avoid the knee-jerk reaction, so I’d like to hear more. Thanks!

  9. Doug-
    I too was skeptical of Dexter at first. I mean–a serial killer who only kills other murderers? Are we supposed to be okay with this sort of justification? Are we supposed to sympathize with him?
    In watching the first season, however, I found that the answer to the first question is certainly NO, while the answer to the second is a qualified MAYBE. The show really explores Dexter’s past (there are flashbacks in every episode) and makes great efforts to explain why he does what he does. It stops short of making an apology for what Dexter does, but it is does try to give us some insight. Thus, while Dexter is a likable character and we find ourselves feeling sorry for him and rooting for him (which is a bit disturbing, I guess), I never really felt like Dexter was doing something “right” or “justifiable.” In the end, the show brings up important issues of moral choice and restraint (Dexter does have restraint at times when he really might have reason to kill someone… he always must find proof that they are a killer themselves), and forces us to consider our own thoughts on things like justice and punishment.
    Beyond the moral elements, the show is just fantastically made and really exciting and compelling. As a crime procedural drama, it’s certainly one of the best on TV.

  10. quite the journey…
    please pray when it comes to mind as we are hoping to shoot our film in the near future…seeking financing now. came across your blog and writings. weel done…keep it up and thanks…
    all the best to you,
    bradley gregg

  11. Brett,
    I would like you to know that I always look forward to reading your articles. All of them are extrememly insightful, and encourage me to think more deeply about my own life and the world around me. As an aspiring journalist, I greatly admire your creativity and talent for writing. Thank you so much.

  12. I found your blog through doing a search for Chris McCandless – I’m looking forward to checking in regularly. I get Relevant so I most likely have already read some of your reviews! Anyone who loves FNL is a friend of mine – I’m very excited about the hope for a season 3. Thanks for giving me a handful of new movies to check out. I’m in the process of reading Snow Angels – so I skipped your review on that – but I’ll be checking in when I’m done…

  13. Hey Brett,

    I am a Wheaton College Grad Student, currently working on a project on attitudes to movie-going and was wondering if I could interview you on the subject.

    God Bless,
    Matt Rickman

  14. Brett,
    Glad I stumbled upon your site- I just started my first wordpress blog too. I found you through looking for McCandless pics- I’m re-reading ITW after seeing the movie. Also, your Walker quote reminds me that I would like to visit Moviegoer again…a southern lit class at my seminary intro’d me to him. Anyway, sounds like you’re doing some really interesting things, and I’m going to set your blog as one of my faves.

  15. Brett,
    I found your site as I was searching for an appropriate response to my friend’s critique of the documentary, “Jesus Camp”. Thank you. Thank you for writing, thank you for thinking, thank you for following Christ with your mind and your life.
    Keep on keepin’ on.

  16. Brett, doing some marketing for a film made by my church in Zambia. You can visit: http://www.jamestembo.com to get a glimpse of the film details. If you would want to review a copy, let me know. Thanks for your help. Kevin

  17. Brett, I enjoy following your writing. You always have interesting and refreshing thoughts. I’ve been watching the first season of Mad Men in reruns on AMC and find it fascinatingly tragic with deep and complex characters. Have you seen it? Got any thoughts?

  18. Matt- yeah I love MAD MEN. Great show. I have a few comments about it on the sidebar under “The Best of Now”…

  19. Vicki Greenleaf

    I do PR for DVD rleases and wanted to talk to you, but can’t find an e-mail or phone #. Can you contact me, please?

    Thank you!

  20. Hi Brett, I’m engoining your site. Do you remember the title of a film that has rotoscope technique on the middle? Like “A scanner darkly” but just on one or two scenes. Thanks.

  21. Your perspective / insight as brought out in the most recent 850 Words of Relevant was helpful – a bit of a ventilation for many.
    Have some ideas I’d like to spin your way along the same direction if you are interested.
    The film Freaks is one I’m certain you have seen in film school though the general public is unaware of it. There is an amazing metaphor present in the lives of the ‘Freaks’ being normal and the so-called ‘regular’ ones, well, won’t spoil it for any who end up watching this worthwhile 65 minute classic film about circus life.

  22. In response to your listing of the Sony Bravia bouncing balls advert, I wondered if you’d seen the British version:

  23. Benjamin Gooding

    I just realized you were a sox fan by the corner box you have. I always enjoy your blog but now take much comfort in knowing you know a good baseball team when you see one.

  24. Hey Brett. Great site! We share a lot of similar interests–movies, music , books. I’d love to send you a copy of my latest novel coming out–you might like it. Email me if you’d like a copy.

  25. Hey Brett, you don’t know me, however, our parents know each other (I am from Downers Grove) and I am a junior at Biola. I was hoping to meet up sometime this fall to get some grub.


  26. Dear Brett:

    My partner and I read your review of SURFWISE and were intrigued, both by your reaction to the film and because we have been aware of its apparent similarities to our own documentary, RANDOM LUNACY: videos from the road less traveled. We would like to send you a screener for a possible review. This one-hour film chronicles first-hand twenty years on the road with a family of self-taught buskers who called themselves The Flying Neutrinos. They often struggled to gather enough spare change to eat, but they always managed to have enough videotape to document their travels.

    The family “patriarch” believed that paying rent was a form of enslavement — to counter that, he and the family would build scrap rafts to live aboard. One such vessel was pitted against the North Atlantic.

    Best regards,

    Vic and Stephanie

  27. Brett-

    Loved your thoughts on Twitter in this month’s Relevant. I liked it so much I almost sent out a tweet about it.


    Keep up the good work.


  28. Looking for good news articles about America.
    For more info please go here:
    Thank you.

  29. Hi Brett,

    I really enjoy your blog and wanted you to know about my new feature documentary, Scenes from a Parish. Scenes will premiere at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in April 2009. If you would like to know more about the film, please let me know.

    Thanks , James Rutenbeck

  30. Pingback: Are you a Christian hipster? « BaptistPlanet

  31. Hi Brett,

    Hi! Thanks for all the work on this blog! I think it is awesome that you are working on this book. I attend a church in the heart of the birth of hipsterdom, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I would suggest that you visit us and talk to some more of the folks out East before publishing it, however, because there may be some threads missing from what I have read so far. Check out:





  32. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Hipsters Would Never Try So Hard

  33. Hi Brett,

    So the girl that left a comment before mine did a link to revolution nyc, which is jay bakkers church in brooklyn. i lived in ny in 2007 and went to his church every sunday. its pretty great. i am also on staff with a church similar to his, although ours doesnt have a famous pastor hahaha. our church is called regeneration la, and we are a group of clusters in the pasadena area. i DO hate being labeled as a christian hipster, even it it is funny, simply because i dont want people to think i am interested in living a certain christian lifestyle simply because its “cool,” but anyway, if youre looking for these churches, you should come to ours.



  34. Hi Brett,

    I really enjoy your reviews and thought I’d let you know that this week, our movie distribution company is releasing a new Catholic-themed feature film called SINNER. The film is a thoughtful and poignant look at the Catholic sense of forgiveness and redemption.

    Our mission is to bring socially relevant films to the audiences that will most directly benefit from them. We do this by relying on potential advocates, like yourself, to spread the word about the DVD release and also by partnering with affiliate organizations to screen our films directly for their constituents.

    SINNER is just the type of movie that we seek out. It has won numerous international film festivals, has been praised by theological luminaries, and presents an honest exploration of serious Catholic issues. Here is a quick synopsis:

    Hidden away in small town America, in an anemic parish on the brink of bankruptcy, Father Anthony Romano finds himself at a mid-career crisis in the wake of both his personal conflicts and the real world scandals that have left the Catholic Church an anathema to so many. When his junior colleague, a fundamentalist named Stephen, clashes with a prostitute who preys on Catholic priests, Anthony finds his private world invaded and his deepest secrets exposed by a modern day Mary Magdalene.

    I hope you’ll consider writing about SINNER on your site. DVDs will be available from our website at http://www.sinnerthemovie.com. To view a trailer and other press materials for the film, go to http://www.sinnerthemovie.com/pr/. Feel free to email me with any questions or if you should need further information.

    Best regards,

  35. hey Brett,

    there’s a Portuguese word that roughly translates as an enigmatic yearning of the soul, an inexplicable wistful longing for a time, a place, a life or a love that did, or might have, but does not now exist – Saudade. I’ve made my first Ep with this feeling in mind. Could I send you a copy?

    cam mackellar//++

  36. Pingback: Some documentaries representing America « devan sylvester

  37. Just saw Gran Torino last night and read your review a moment ago at CT. One of my favorite ideas was how Walt kept avoiding Catholic confession but then got his life “read” by the Hmong shaman. Very poetic, much like your Sayers quote.

    If you would, please ping me via email.

  38. Hey Brett,

    Really like your article on irony in Relevant this month. My name is Liz and I’m the editor for a new publishing company in Kansas City called “The House Studio.” I’m also a long-time member of Jacob’s Well (hipster church #1, I believe?) Ha!

    Keep up the good work and if you’re ever interested in a writing project, let me know!

    Liz Perry

  39. HarperCollins is delighted to introduce NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL, a moving, witty, and intelligent memoir by Carlene Bauer that we think you and your readers might enjoy:

    Raised in evangelical churches that preached apocalypse now, Carlene Bauer grows up happy to oblige the God who presides over her New Jersey girlhood. But in high school and college, her intellectual and spiritual horizons widen, and she become skeptical of the judgmental God she’s been given. Still, she finds it hard to let go of the ideals she’s been raised with and to rebel as she knows she should. Since there are no tidy categories for those who are neither riot grrrls nor altar girls, she hovers between a hunger for the world and a suspicion of it. In her twenties, however, determined to make up for lost time, Bauer undertakes a belated and often comic coming-of-age in New York City, where must look to redefine what it means to be “good” in a place that constantly seems to challenge her childhood morals.

    Sharply written, hilarious, and touching, NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL is the story of one young woman’s efforts to define worldliness, ambition, and love on her own terms—while believing in, among other things, The Smiths, Virginia Woolf, and the transformative power of New York City. Fellow restless seekers will find solace in Bauer’s struggle to create meaning in the face of overwhelming doubt, and fall in love with the highly original voice at the center of this unforgettable debut.

    Please let me know if you would be interested in receiving a review copy of NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL by Carlene Bauer.
    Thank you,

    Julie Daurio
    HarperCollins Publishers

  40. Hey Brett! Great site! I saw your review on Mechanical Love and thought it was great. It was a very unique film. I wonder if you have seen any other similar documentaries? Past or present. Id love to see more. If you could email me? Thanks so much. All the best

  41. As an avid sports fan and a dedicated Christian, I have great respect for your stance on where sports fit into the Christian philosophy. As I am planning to work in sports as my career, this is particularly relevant to me. You perfectly put my thoughts into words in your post about March Madness in the spring of last year.

    With that being said, I would love to hear your thoughts on this recent cover story from Christianity Today. It seems to be much more cynical in it’s observation of sports than what I have heard from you in the past.

    I am constantly frustrated when culturally beautiful things (sports, music, film, etc.), born out of God’s creation, become damned by Christians who claim to be followers of Christ – who was extremely culturally relevant when he walked on earth.

    Please give me your thoughts!!! And keep up the good work.

  42. Love what your doing with this blogsite, Brett. Keep going.

  43. Great site and really enjoy your writing! Are you on Twitter, as I would love an update as to your book release. ‘Playlist’ Christianity is legion here in our college town, and I look forward to your take on it all…


  44. Is this site about God and Jesus, or Brett’s giant ego? As for me, I worship Brett.

  45. Andy Luckhurst

    Hi Brett,
    I’d like to use your Oxford spires shot as part of a montage on the side of a bus here (in Oxford) – I haven’t put the montage together yet and don’t have much time to do it. Is this possible and how much is the image likely to cost as I’m on a fairly tight budget.
    Best wishes
    Andy Luckhurst

  46. pursuingintegration


    First of all, I love your site. Your posts are always insightful and I loved your post about the Christian hipster. I look forward to your book.

    I’m currently an Communications/Spanish undergrad at Grove City College in PA, but I’m looking to go to grad school for film studies and I’m looking at UCLA among others. I was wondering if there was anything you could tell me about the program and how it helped prepare you for what you currently do?


  47. 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,


    God Bless

    |Rev.Robert Wright|Christian.com|
    |1 International Blvd.|Mahwah, NJ 07495|

  48. Brett,

    I’m a theology grad student at Duke. I’m working on a similar project as your hipster Christianity book. Is there a way of contacting you besides leaving a comment here?


  49. Brett:

    I’m working with Rich Christiano, the director and producer of The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry. I’d like to send you a screener to review. Let me know if you’re interested and where to send it, and I’ll ship you a copy right away.

    Brian Burch

  50. Jennifer Irwin

    THE hippest church is the Art of Living Foundation in L.A. – just purchased in 2010 and inaugurated in April 2010. Its a former Christian Science Church next to USC. Its teaches stress relief techniques and is committed teaching to the goal of one world family and a violet-free, stress-free society. To understand you need to take their “Art of Living Course”. Most amazing thing I ever experienced, their technique called kriya. 2nd most amazing church is “Ananda Temple” in Bothel, WA.

  51. Hey Brett, stumbled upon your site via Twitter somehow. I think I’ve been seeing stuff on the upcoming Hipster Christianity and had to do more digging on who was behind it.

    Glad to see someone like you writing about it and not some salty, jaded @#@@#$# who’s just looking to start a fight over Christianity.

    Keep up the good work!


  52. Priscilla Larkin

    Thanks for your clear, insightful article in the WSJ today. I’m also a 27-year-old evangelical and it was refreshing to hear one of my peers speaking the truth in love. “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” (John 12:21)

  53. Brett,
    This is out of the blue but I am writing on behalf of Peter Bradrick the producer of a documentary called “Segregation” a biblical critique of the modern youth ministry. Peter would like to seek a video interview with you for this documentary. If you are interested we would interview at your convenience at your location for a short interview(about thirty minutes). Due to the time constraints of our schedule Peter would like to do an interview as soon as possible so a timely response would be greatly appreciated. I could not get any contact for you but I did facebook you.
    Thank you for your consideration,
    Michael Arnette

  54. P.S. your article in the Wall Street Journal was wonderful!

  55. Pingback: A Response to Brett McCracken’s piece in WSJ on Hipster Christianity. « Sets ‘n’ Service

  56. Pingback: Will hipsters be the death of Christianity? Ugh, I doubt it. « A long, strange trip

  57. Just read your article in Relevant about Friday Night Lights….and now I am addicted! Watched the first four episodes and I see how much a show like this is needed on TV. Words cannot describe…well I guess yours sort of did! Thanks! Keep writing!

  58. You have got to be kidding me? Christian Hipster? bwaahahhahahhhha!!!!

  59. “The notion that the state somehow bears responsibility for the indigence of the aged is not far removed from that demoralizing supposition that the state is somehow responsible for the criminality of the criminal. I will not deny that the dislocations of capitalism afford some ground for the former….The point here is that no society is healthful which tells its members to take no thought of the morrow because the state underwrites their future. The ability to cultivate providence, which I would interpret literally as foresight, is an opportunity to develop personal worth. A conviction that those who perform the prayer of labor may store up a compensation which cannot be appropriated by the improvident is the soundest incentive to virtuous industry.”

    -Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences

    What a terrible “Quote of the Week”! If you set up straw men by using loaded words like “indigence”, and link this to “improvidence” and “criminality” then you can justify this quote.

    But it beats me how anyone who believes in Christ can dismiss those who fall through the cracks by misfortune.

    Come on CHRIST-ians!
    “Feed the hungry! Help those in trouble! Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you shall be as bright as day. And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy you with all good things, and keep you healthy too; and you will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. (TLB, Isaiah 58:10-11)

    And the crowds asked [John the Baptist], “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” (NRSV, Luke 3:10-11)

    But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? (NAS, 1 John 3:17)

  60. Hi Brett:
    Your article in CT in september last year
    has been translated to Chinese and now I’m reading it
    now in Taiwan. Thanks for all the awesome work you’ve
    done for Christ’s sake~~
    We’re living in a Global village and there are Christian
    hipsters and all different kinds of Jesus freaks all over the world,
    but we all serve the same trinity God!!
    Shalom to you my friend!

  61. Recently bought Hipster Christianity after seeing it referenced in a magazine. It has not disappointed! I find myself in agreement with much of what you wrote. Keep up the good work!

  62. Dear Brett,

    I just read and very much appreciated your recent article in the Princeton Theological Review. I noticed that you are working at Biola, and it just clicked that you edit the Biola journal–my wife Stephanie was in My Story sometime in the fall. You might also know my former doctoral student Andy Draycott? Do drop me a line sometime by e-mail.


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  66. Pingback: Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide, Part 1 | Day to Day Pours Out Speech

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  68. Pingback: Podcast Episode #20: Guest Brett Mccracken « Rick Lee James

  69. I thought you would like this article, although it seems a little judgemental … Good points and a different kind of irony. God bless your journey, Brett


  70. Pingback: When Writing Keeps You From Reading

  71. I read your bio for the first time today (11 14 12). I did not see the name of Jesus mentioned, do you know how many times mentioned Jesus Christ in I cor. One and Phil. One? Paul was ” Ono to something big”.

  72. Hey, Brett! I’ve been dropping by the search for a few yaers now, and always enjoy your take on pop culture as it interacts with strong Christian perspective. I don’t know how you feel about blogging awards, but I’m passing on one of my fifteen nominations to you for the Very Inspiring Blogger award. God bless and good luck! :)

  73. Good to see a fellow Christian blogger. :)

  74. Pingback: Refreshers | Chronological Thoughts

  75. This is very interesting, You’re a really skilled blogger.
    I have joined your feed and look forward to reading more of your excellent post.
    Furthermore, I have shared your website in my social networks!

  76. Pingback: Gen Y To Church: I'm Just Not That Into You - Are You There God? It's Me, Generation X.

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  80. Pingback: Navigating moral gray areas: An interview with Brett McCracken | On Faith & Culture

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  83. Pingback: Podcast Episode 81: Brett McCracken and Gray Matters | Rick Lee James Web Page & The Voices In My Head Podcast

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