Instead of celebrating the fact that Christianity has contributed good things to the world for two thousand years, the increasingly unpopular church feels the need to talk only about the bad things she has done. Rather than drawing from her rich heritage of time-tested tradition, today’s church chooses to adopt last week’s fashion so as to be relevant again.
The predominance of pop cultural narratives of confined spaces and solitary prisons has got me thinking: Why is our culture so anxious about being boxed in? Isn’t western culture today the freest it has ever been? Isn’t America in the 21st century the place where you can literally be whoever you want to be and do whatever you want to do, as long as it is an authentic expression of your true, autonomous self?
“I Saw Christ Crying in Hermès.” That’s the name of the new single from little-known indie artist, Slow Dakota (real name: PJ Sauerteig), a Fort Wayne, Indiana-based singer/songwriter who often explores themes of religion in his lyrics. Listen to the song here. If you haven’t heard of Slow Dakota or if his style isn’t particularly palatable to you, that’s OK. It’s sort of the point actually.
Earlier this week a segment aired on CNN about "hipster pastor" Carl Lentz, the heavily tattooed, dynamic personality who has helped make Hillsong Church in NYC the sort of place that piques mainstream journalists' interest and occasionally draws paparazzi (celebrities sometimes attend). Back in March, CNN sent its correspondent, Poppy Harlow, to L.A. to interview me for the story.
How are Christians set apart or distinct from the unbelieving world? When push comes to shove, would any observer be able to pick today’s edgy/authentic/real/raw/not-your-grandmother’s Christian out of the proverbial crowd? In what ways are we embodying the call to be salt and light, a city on a hill (Matt. 5:13–16), and a “royal priesthood” called out of darkness and into light (1 Peter 2:9)?
A major biblical theme as it relates to food is thanksgiving for God’s provision. One of the most interesting food-related stories in Scripture is the miraculous appearance of manna each morning for the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness (Exodus 16:4). That they gathered only enough for one day on each morning demonstrated the extent to which they had to trust and depend on God’s faithfulness. For them, the manna was a very tangible, honey-tasting reminder of why eating food is an act of thanksgiving.
How do Christians engage the culture in a way that enriches our spiritual walk, edifies God, and contributes to broader human flourishing? How should we go about consuming potentially dicey — but also potentially edifying — areas of pop culture? How do we get the most out of that which we consume, and how do we discern what is and isn't appropriate among the vast range of cultural goods, experiences, and products to which we are daily beckoned as consumers? These are the sorts of questions I'm always asking, and they're questions that loom large in my next book project.
Confused about what a Christian hipster looks like? Fear not. There are interactive photos on the official Hipster Christianity website designed to describe (in great detail) what Christian hipsters look like. Click on the names below to see the images.
What does it mean to package Christianity in a methodical manner so as to make it salient to as wide an audience as possible? What does Christianity lose when it becomes just one piece of a consumer transaction? These are questions that the brand managers of “cool Christianity” would do well to consider.
It’s a strange and wonderful feeling, to see one's idea come to fruition. I never really thought during the summer of 2005 that I'd write a book about hipster Christianity, but I'm glad I did. Looking back I marvel at how it all came together, how so many of my experiences and interactions and relationships all fed into this idea, and how the people in my life during this season were so absolutely instrumental in the whole endeavor.
Last week on the Hipster Christianity Facebook page, I posted YouTube videos from the last 4 decades of "Christian hipster" music, or music that was at least pivotal in the ultimate development of today's culture of hipster Christianity. Here they are, in chronological order... Enjoy!
How did today's Christian hipster come to be? Here are some key dates in the formation of hipster Christianity.
Read the following list of juxtaposed attributes of "cool" and "Christianity," and tell me if you think I'm wrong to suggest they are fundamentally contrary ways of being.
One of the best ways to learn about the type of person someone is is by looking at the books that populate their bookshelves. Books, I've found, play a large role in shaping how any of us understand and inhabit our worlds--so naturally they are a good place to go when seeking to understand a subculture. For example, the following is a list of the types of books that define the Christian hipster subculture.
The logic of consumerism is that people want what they want and get what they want, for a price. It’s all about ME—the brands I buy, the products I consume, the “gimme more” mindset of never having to wait long to have any desire fulfilled.I’m not sure there are any circumstances under which Christianity fits comfortably into this paradigm.
These days, if you want to start a cool church, it must have a name that either a) has a “deep” meaning, b) has only the obscurest connection to Christianity, c) is shocking in its unorthodox originality, or d) could easily be the name of a Las Vegas nightclub.
A lot of Christian hipsters today were raised in the evangelical Christian subculture in the 90s. Thus, while most of them have completely abandoned CCM by now, they still look fondly and nostalgically (with a smidge of irony) upon the Christian music they were reared on. Here are 20 albums that Christian hipsters today love to listen to for a trip down memory lane. What would you add to this list?