Orthodox: Before Hipster Was “Hip”

Bon iver

I always find the word “hipster” fascinating. As a derivative of “hippie” which referred to smoking an opium pipe by reclining on one’s hip, it’s an interesting way to describe being fashionable. Fashionable is also a weird way to describe oneself as Christian. If we actually did what Jesus did we would all be the most unfashionable people imaginable. Just look at how unfashionable John the Baptist, the Apostles, and the early church Fathers and Mothers were. They totally went against the grain. If going against the grain is fashionable, then they would do something different than everyone who would claim to be fashionable, famous, trending, etc.

In a world where “organic” and “renewable” have become new marketing slogans and weathered jeans sell for over $100 the idea of being revolutionary alone is just another fashion statement among the youthful bourgeosie. Not that these folks are bad people, I identify with most of what’s going on there. I dig indie music and strong coffee, I like vintage fit clothes and have a solid education, I like a good cigar, and even though I no longer drink I loved a good micro-brew back in the day. I also understand that the cultural currency of hipster culture is now as radical as Guess or Mötley Crüe in the 1980’s. “Grunge” was a marketing label in the 90’s as was “Gangsta” rap.

I love this post on being Orthodox:

In addition to enjoying long beards, drinking and the occasional cigarette, we are super mellow.  This is called being “dispassionate” but you will simply recognize it as being extremely cool…without trying too hard.  You know what I mean…

We Orthodox don’t need to explore “vintage faith;” we invented vintage faith, but it wasn’t called vintage back then, it was just called “faith.”

John the Baptist

As a part of the Emergent movement in Christianity for a few years there was a lot of talk centered around mystery and ambiguity. In large part it’s part of Emergent to deconstruct and dissect social norms in largely Protestant and Evangelical settings that had disenfranchised people. It was a way of the like-minded disenfranchised to talk through issues as Christians over which they struggled that more traditional settings could not or refused to address. Emergent truly emerged as a conversation as more people gathered to find new expressions of faith through art and often continental philosophy. Ambiguity was seen as a way of deconstructing everything that we thought was oppressive and unloving in the church. It was in the end a way to come into closer contact with God.

It worked for me for a time. It did address my own issues. But there was a context that was missing. As a resident of a non-urban center this was a hard place to find a community or start one. A group of us tried to start one online but that faded. There is something about human contact that is so vital in our communities of faith. So I stopped my part of the conversation. I needed a context where ambiguity met reality in a profound way.

I found that in Orthodoxy. This is ironic since here we have a deeply traditional and intensely liturgical expression of the faith. Orthodoxy put the “old” in “old skool.” It is the opposite of progressive or liberal in the Western sense of these terms. At the same time Orthodoxy only delimits God in human categories when forced to. It is a real presence that the Liturgy is clear cannot be contained in anything we do even though what we do is a point of contact or a blockage to the very being of God. I could get into reality, ambiguity, tradition, and a deep sense of the communal nature of experiencing God.

Catholicism became a non-liturgical Presbyterianism. This then transferred into a more emotionally founded evangelicalism including Pentcostalism. When all that fell apart I moved into progressivism and Emergent. All those flavors mixed and now I’m Orthodox. That’s so not hip but it’s where I meet God in the reality of something totally mysterious.

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