How did today’s Christian hipster come to be? Here are some key dates in the formation of hipster Christianity:
June 5, 1955: Francis Schaeffer opens L’Abri.
1967: The Living Room coffeehouse opens in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district; origins of Jesus People movement.
1969: Larry Norman’s Upon This Rock (Capitol Records) is released; major release of a “Christian rock” record.
June 21, 1971: The Jesus Movement is profiled in Time magazine article, “The New Rebel Cry: Jesus Is Coming!”
1971: First issue of the Wittenburg Door (or The Door) is published by San Diego youth worker Mike Yaconelli.
1971: First issue of Sojourners is published.
June 17, 1972: “Christian Woodstock.” During the Expo ’72 evangelistic conference sponsored by Campus Crusade and held in Dallas, a day long Christian music festival draws a crowd somewhere between 100,000-200,000 and features the music of Love Song, Larry Norman, Randy Matthews, The Archers, Children of the Day, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson.
1977: Ron Sider publishes Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, which will become a classic among later generations of Christian hipsters.
June 18-20, 1984: JPUSA holds the first Cornerstone Music Festival in Grayslake, Illinois.
1984: Thomas Howard publishes Evangelical is Not Enough, charting his pilgrimage from evangelicalism to liturgical Christianity.
July 21, 1984: Christian metal band Stryper releases its first EP, The Yellow and Black Attack, launching a successful career which included one Platinum and two Gold records.
1984: Degarmo & Key’s video “Six Six Six” is the first Christian music video selected for rotation on MTV, and almost as quickly banned for excessive violence and disturbing images.
March 9, 1987: U2 releases The Joshua Tree, cementing their status as the world’s most epic pseudo-Christian rock band.
1988: DC Talk, a trio of students from Liberty University, signs a recording contract with Forefront Records.
November 1993: Brandon Ebel founds Tooth & Nail Records.
October 1995: Mark Noll publishes The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.
April 1997: Pedro the Lion releases first EP, Whole.
January 2003: Christian satirical website Lark News is launched.
March 1, 2003: Relevant publishes its first issue.
2005: Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois is named the best album of 2005 by Pitchfork and countless other secular music critics.
February 2006: Shane Claiborne publishes Irresistible Revolution.
February 18, 2006: Icelandic post-rock darlings Sigur Ros perform a sold out concert at Calvin College.
(Excerpt from Chapter 4, “The History of Hip Christianity,” of Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide)
Note: This post is part of “Know Your Christian Hipster History” week… Throughout the week, if you re-post a FB item from Hipster Christianity (tag Hipster Christianity in your post) or tweet a link to a Hipster Christianity post (tag @brettmccracken on Twitter), you’ll be entered in a drawing for a free autographed copy of the book. 5 books will be given away on Friday!