Are You a "Hipster Christian"?

Well, supposedly I am, being that Brett McCracken devotes chapter seven, in the heart of his book, Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide to the emerging church movement.  “The emerging church,” we are told by McCracken, “undergirds much of what hipster Christianity is all about these days.”  And, cribbing a quote from my chapter in An Emergent Manifesto of Hope about the ECM being “pluriform and multivocal,” McCracken responds with this devastating critique: “I mean, how hip is that?”

I’m not the first to think that McCracken’s analysis is suspect and grasp of history is delinquent.  John Wilson of Books & Culture wrote a brief but withering essay criticizing McCracken’s thesis.  In response to a Wall Street Journal op-ed penned by McCracken, in which the author hamfistedly uses books by Lauren Winner and Rob Bell to point up evangelicals’ obsession with sex, Wilson writes,

Wait, wait. We’re talking about books … that prove what? Every workday, new books written by evangelicals (or writers with a strong affinity for evangelicals, whether or not they self-identify as such) appear on my desk. These books take up an enormous range of subjects. A few of them, yes, are about sex. And this is supposed to be evidence for some striking trend? (I wonder whatever happened to my copy of Total Woman.) By the way, why are these two books in particular said to be representative of the frantic, ill-conceived “plan” to keep young people in the fold? As I read them, Bell’s and Winner’s books are both deeply informed by Scripture and grounded in the life of the church.

I’m with Wilson.  If McCracken wants to pick on evangelicals using sex to sell books and fill the pews, point to Ed Young, Jr. with a bed on the stage, preaching to his congregation the benefits of having sex every day for a month.  Winner and Bell, in contrast, thoughtfully write about sex from a biblically literate and generally evangelical perspective.

What I’d like to ask McCracken is, what’s the better option? For Christian leaders not to write books about sex?  For preachers not to preach about sex?

In fact, McCracken admitted yesterday on Doug Pagitt Radio (part one, part two (the audio is not working right — check back on Doug’s site for a fix) UPDATE: hear the interview HERE) that he wished he wouldn’t have used those two examples in the WSJ piece.  But, even without the hamfisted use of Winner and Bell, the question remains, What cultural expression would McCracken have us use to communicate the gospel?

That’s what McCracken seemed unable to do yesterday on the radio, and that’s to propose an alternative.  See, the deal is that everything is hermeneutics — that’s all there is.  We communicate the gospel in our own cultural idioms.  It’s the only way we can.  McCracken says that the culture of urban hispters is not appropriate for the gospel, for it smacks too much of desperate marketing tactics.  Instead, McCracken says that our communication of the gospel should be “real” and “authentic.”  (That’s funny, I remember a book from a decade ago that argued that youth ministry should shift “from relevant to real” for the sake of the gospel.)

But what, I ask, is “real” and “authentic”?  To what cultural expressions should the gospel be linked?  Is English good enough for the gospel, or should we revert to Greek and Hebrew?  (I wonder, does Brett know Greek and Hebrew?)

Well, alas, the Grand Rapids-Carol Stream cabal ensures that McCracken will get his 15 minutes.  He was, as I said, featured in the Wall Street Journal, an op-ed that has been “liked” on Facebook over 22,000 times (I mean, how hip is that?)  And he wrote the cover article for next month’s Christianity Today.  His book will sell more than any of mine, so maybe this is all sour grapes.

And this coming from me, a single dad who lives in the suburbs, drives a car with 85,000 miles on it, struggles to pay the rent, and occasionally puts on a tan shirt covered with patches to lead 10-year-old boys in the Pledge of Allegiance at Cub Scout den meetings.

I mean, how hip is that?

  • http://djword.blogspot.com Rick Bennett

    If Mccracken says you are a hipster, then you are. He is the arbiter of this… especially since he created it. I cannot believe we (me included via twitter) are giving these thoughts space.

    I agree that his aim is terribly off. Missing the relevant, Ed Young, Ed Hardy wearing bully pastors for people reading W Berry is asinine.

  • aran

    Why can’t I get Huey Lewis out of my head?

    “Hip to be square . . . .”

  • http://www.makeesha.com Makeesha

    When I first started hearing the accusations that “emergent xians are just trying to be hip”, my main argument was this: what if my cultural context happens to be an art loving, latte drinking, play attending, instrument playing “hipster”? What if I like wearing beanies and have tats and a nose piercing? Why is my cultural context any less valid than that of a blond dyed choppy bob cut homeschooling suburban evangelical? Like you said Tony, our hermeneutic CAN ONLY come from our cultural context. And frankly, i’m tired of my cultural context being completely mocked and disregarded.

  • tom c.

    As long as you’re not drinking PBR, I think you’re safe.

  • http://www.jesusneedsnewpr.net mpt

    Great response, Tony.

  • http://satellitesaint.blogspot.com/ Tucker

    Tony, clearly you are chafing because you are not as fully hipster as you could be. Check out http://www.wikihow.com/Be-a-Hipster to complete your hermeneutic oeuvre. Don’t forget, though, that Cub Scout uniforms can be very ironic with the right attitude.

  • http://www.pberryweb.com pberry

    Tony, I think you nailed by asking what he would rather have. He spent 13 paragraphs of his 15 paragraph article in the WSJ criticizing and 2 asking leading questions. Don Chaffer might call this guy long on diagnosis and short on cure.

    Wait, is quoting Don Chaffer being a hipster?

  • Ryan Braley

    I’m with you Tony. I am a hipster. I live in Elk River, MN (the hippest). I value relational connecting over entertainment (no gold-fish swallowing at our gatherings). We don’t give away iPods or cars, we don’t give away Vikings Season tickets (http://www.crossing-church.com/). We hope to engage our students with the story of God, the whole story of God, so we rarely do flashy topical sermons. I don’t wear trendy teen clothing to stay relevant, and my wife…well, my wife IS pretty good looking, I have to admit, so nevermind.

    Well, maybe I am not that hip, after all. Maybe I am not as creative as Ed Young, Jr, and the hundreds of churches that are creative just like his.

    Oh well.

  • http://www.alexgamble.blogspot.com Alex

    I love the last paragraph. Argumentum ad hominem never ceases, I suppose. Even then, the argumentum ad hominem is, as you said, off.

  • Jesse

    Scouting will always be hip, man. I wear my tan shirt with pride.

    Seriously, tho- I have met and started relationships with more folks in our community thru Cub Scouts than I ever would thru a church program. Seems pretty “relevant” to me. (Is relevant still the cool thing? I can’t keep up.)

  • Robert

    McCraken’s book is good at pointing out the problem but has not done a good job in the proper diagnosis. Its sort of like a someone saying “hey you’ve got this weird thing on your neck” whereas a doctor might be able to get to the reality that you’ve got a non-cancerous sarcoma that can be removed in two easy steps. Using this analogy, because he hasn’t given a lot of time to the actual conditions presenting the growing problem in evangelicalism he has (understandably) misdiagnosed the problem.

    His book touches on the reality that modern evangelical superstars are creating an unsustainable entertainment based Christianity that looks more like therapeutic moral deism than the actual Gospel. Yet he seems to miss the actual evidences (as you’ve mentioned above) because he is just following whatever is popular. What about the stunning lack of robust theological training for so many of these leaders? (Not saying a PhD should be required to pastor at all…but where is it) What about the passe association with tradition?

    There are some terrific indicators about what the real problem is, though because of an untrained eye McCracken isn’t able to properly diagnose them.

  • http://theimageoffish.com Callid Keefe-Perry

    Tony, I’m with you on your general premise, so I won’t use space supporting you on that. Rather, I’d just like to quibble on the tangential notion that hermeneutics is “all there is.”

    Now I’m just as much as a Stanley Fish fan as you, but I do think that as Christians our hermeneutic response has to be a bit more nuanced than this. Only hermeneutics? So no Christ event? Just stories and interpretations of it? Where I’ll back you is that the only means of communication we have about things is via various hermeneutic lenses, but I’m not willing to go to the place where “The only way I can express this is from my perspective,” is the same as “There is nothing but perspectives.”

    I think part of what holds off mis-construed polemics like McCraken’s is the fact that some things are wrong. Or rather, that some things are closer to the truth than other things. Is it all mediated by culture and interpretation? You betcha, but there is, as Gertrude Stein might say, a there, there.

    Again, just a quibble.

  • http://openmindedconversations.blogspot.com/ Josh Mueller

    Hip or not, I can only be me (my kids would definitely tell me I’m NOT!). And to a degree I will always be a child of my time and culture – which is not the worst starting point when trying to connect with other children of the same time and culture. I don’t think cultural expression is the real problem that needs to be addressed but the difference between truly being ourselves and mere pandering to win over an audience.

  • Paul Clifford

    If you’re criticizing churches where people are coming to Christ b/c you don’t like something, you’re wrong. I’m tired of the criticism. 150,000 people die a day (most without Christ) and authors are criticizing pastors for being too cool? To quote the apostle Paul, “Mh gnointe”–”May it never be!”

    Paul

  • http://benlemery.com Ben

    My question is, why don’t you ask Brett himself, it’s not like he has made himself unavailable to questions. He is on twitter, I am sure he has email. Maybe he can clarify some of your questions. Just a thought.

  • http://www.somuchshoutingsomuchlaughter.com suzannah {so much shouting, so much laughter}

    that WSJ article was such an unfortunate mischaracterization of the emerging church.

    i love what makeesha says above–”Why is my cultural context any less valid than that of a blond dyed choppy bob cut homeschooling suburban evangelical?”

    affecting any kind of program or look to be relevant is problematic, but hipsters hardly have the monopoly on that. and why assume that perceived “coolness” is attached to (sinful) cooler-than-Thou intentions or shameless pandering? it does a disservice to the Church (and culture) to decree that anything edgy or youthful can’t be authentic or Spirit-led.

  • http://sam.duregger.net sam (@duregger)

    nice response tony.

    i too was surprised to see “Emergent Movement” even mentioned in the article… as I am still surprised as to how people continue to label and generalize the Emergent Movement, using other peoples definitions and observations as the foundation for their critique rather than those in and of the movement, ie you, brian, & scot… the latter being those who (I believe) have done a magnificent job articulating emergence as a authentic conversation… rather than a characteristic of hipsterdom.

    although, I call my self “emergent” while riding a fixie with my tattoo’s glistening in the sun.

    so maybe i’m the #hipsterxian he’s trying to label.

  • Aran

    Read the whole thing . . . but especially the 3rd stanza . . . video link at the bottom.

    I used to be a renegade, I used to fool around
    But I couldn’t take the punishment, and had to settle down
    Now I’m playing it real straight, and yes I cut my hair
    You might think I’m crazy, but I don’t even care
    Because I can tell what’s going on
    It’s hip to be square

    I like my bands in business suits, I watch them on TV
    I’m working out most everyday and watching what I eat
    They tell me that it’s good for me, but I don’t even care
    I know that it’s crazy
    I know that it’s nowhere
    But there is no denying that
    It’s hip to be square

    It’s not too hard to figure out, you see it everyday
    And those that were the farthest out have gone the other way
    You see them on the freeway, It don’t look like a lot of fun
    But don’t you try to fight it; “An idea who’s time has come.”
    Don’t tell me that I’m crazy
    Don’t tell me I’m nowhere
    Take it from me
    It’s hip to be square

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LB5YkmjalDg

  • http://www.blackcoffeereflections.com Tim

    Appreciated the post and I too resonate with Makeesha’s comment.

    I read Brett’s stuff in Relevant (I’m not counter-cultural enough to not read it ;-) , follow him on twitter and have regarded him as a decent guy. Yeah, there have been some tweets and posts that I disagreed with, but I’ve been fine with that (and liked it). But for whatever reason, I didn’t see these ideas in the WSJ coming.

    I had a lengthy post about this last week and I am in agreement here. Aside from him being so dismissive on so many legit people and ministries, I think what really bothered me was that he critiqued the subculture from the WSJ as if he was not connected to it. I point to his loose starting point (“as a 27 year old evangelical”) and absent finishing point (“We want something real” isn’t adequate as you point out).

    Further, I am finding the marketing surrounding the book to be a bit hypocritical in light of the post. From what I hear, the book doesn’t have the same tone as the WSJ piece but I’ve lost whatever interest I had in reading it. I wish him the best though.

    Thanks for the links to Doug’s interview – I’ll check that out.

  • http://homebrewedchristianity.com tripp fuller

    My biggest problem with this book is that it lacked a chapter on what is indeed the hippest activity of all hipster Christians…..CORNHOLE!!!!!!!

  • http://homebrewedchristianity.com Deacon Hall

    Agreed, Tripp; can’t be no hipster where there ain’t no cornhole.

  • http://satellitesaint.blogspot.com/ Tucker

    thank you Tripp

  • Scot McKnight

    Take this from a 56-yr old:

    Tony and Tripp are both hip.

  • http://www.travismamone.net Travis Mamone

    Considering the fact that I’m writing this comment while sitting in Panera Bread, wearing Converse All-Stars, and listening to Mindy Smith, technically I am one of the Christian hipsters Brett writes about.

    Overall I think it’s a pretty good book, although the chapter on the Emerging Church should have been better researched. And he made it sound like social justice is just another fad (when in fact Thomas Merton often wrote about it). But he does make a good point: do we often get so wrapped up with culture that we forget how to be Christians? I don’t know about you, but I do sometimes.

  • http://homebrewedchristianity.com tripp fuller

    @Travis. wouldn’t you say the same challenge to not become too encultured so that one’s faithfulness is inhibited exists for those in the churchy culture too?

  • Scot McKnight

    Tripp,

    One issue for me in hipsterdom is the unwillingness to part with culture.

  • Scot McKnight

    Tripp and Tony,

    I do agree, though, that all expressions of gospel and the faith are culturally shaped, so it is not that one group is cultural and another transcultural. I think what McCracken’s book is getting at is the desire to be accepted culturally or to be so cultural that the gospel is harmed.

  • http://www.travismamone.net Travis Mamone

    Tripp,

    Good point. The other extreme danger is being so wrapped up with church culture that we can’t communicate the Gospel to our peers.

    I think the key is balance. I love my Macbook, TOMS shoes, and Sufjan Stevens records just as much as anyone else. But at the end of the day, I don’t serve them. My main job is the serve God, and spread His message through loving people.

  • Tony Jones

    But, Scot, he gives no credible evidence that “hipster” churches which attempt to attract “hipster” twentysomethings are any worse than any other church that attempts to attract any other stratum of society. What’s so bad about hipsters? Should I write a book called “Classical Christianity” that criticizes believers who prefer neckties and Bach? Are their churches pandering to them?

  • http://homebrewedchristianity.com tripp fuller

    @Scot, I am interested in the places you see among the many emerging streams and your students where the temptation to stick with culture is strongest?

  • http://homebrewedchristianity.com tripp fuller

    a dude at my church bought me a ‘uniform’ for sundays that includes a necktie. it was essential to my job.

  • http://satellitesaint.blogspot.com/ Tucker

    I hate those Bach lovin’ Christians. Come on, get with it people!

  • http://homebrewedchristianity.com tripp fuller

    @Tony, I think what you want to see is proof that hipster churches ‘compromise the gospel’ more often or to a greater degree than ‘classical christianity.’

    @Tucker, I would definitely prefer hiring a rock band for a U2charist than renting an orchestra for some Bach spectacular…..that is unless the Bach also has liturgical dance and banners!!!!

  • http://www.poptheology.com ryan parker

    when the hell did PBR become hipster? that’s the damn beer that built america!

  • http://homebrewedchristianity.com tripp fuller

    @ryan PBR is an award-winning, BLUE RIBBON sporting, beer of hipsters. i myself have only drank it once and that was a mistake. it appears my non-hipster tastebuds prefer things with much more hops.

    @tony & scot. Is the Areopress a hipster coffee brewing apparatus?

  • Scot McKnight

    Tony, so do you think he’s actually describing a real niche/segment of the Church?

    Tripp is hip; that pic of you, Tony, at the top of this page is borderline hipster. I’d have to see your shoes. If you’re still wearing those Borns I’d say you are not hip. But if you are wearing Toms you might be. My Birk clogs are old school.

  • Scot McKnight

    Tripp, AreoPress … that’s a good question. I’d say the portable Turkish thing-y is hipster but AeroPress is just too uncool.

    Espresso is hip; Green Tea is hip.

    What the heck (see I’m not hip) is cornhole? That a kind of pipe?

  • http://www.poptheology.com ryan parker

    @tripp i must be the proto-hipster because a friend told me that there is a drink combo at a bar in nyc called “the parker:” a shot of jim beam with a pbr back…the difference between me and you is that you like to keep an even keel when you drink…i like to follow a steady path downward as the night goes on

  • http://satellitesaint.blogspot.com/ Tucker

    Tripp,

    I hear ya. I could see Bach performed like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxq2rxOaQF4&feature
    And some liturgical dancing like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oASYa-Wkroc
    In both cases, if they occurred at my church I would weep with joy, but then weeping isn’t really ironic, so I guess that would not be hip.

  • http://www.makeesha.com Makeesha

    I won’t use all caps cuz it’s rude – but imagine me raising my voice a little here – there is no such thing as THE culture. So when someone says that the church is capitulating to “the culture” or getting caught up in “the culture” it’s as bad is “the world” or “the secular world” or other such bullshit.

    There is society, there are sub cultures, there are sub sub cultures…there is NO SUCH THING as THE culture.

    “hipsters” are simply another classified subset of society at large – some self identify, some have that label thrust at them.

    What’s so bad about a church wanting to “reach hipsters”? Why is it worse than a church wanting to “reach spanish speakers” or “reach the deaf community” or “reach young couples with kids”?

    Bottom line? This dude wrote a book for nothing. The sad thing? He’s getting lots of press for it…and money.

  • http://www.travismamone.net Travis Mamone

    After re-reading the WSJ article, I think know now why it’s causes such a stir. Brett makes it sound like the emerging church is just trying be cool. Not about rethinking the gospel is preached. Not about how to better serve our neighbors. Apparently we’re all just trying to be hip and cool.

  • http://www.travismamone.net Travis Mamone

    Oops! Forgive my bad grammar. I meant to say, “I think I now know why it’s caused such a stir.”

  • http://www.homebrewedchristianity.com Chad Crawford

    @Tripp I think hipsters prefer a french press, but I’m not sure because I have a Keurig. That’s how unhip I am.

    You know how I know the emerging church isn’t a hipster movement? Doug Pagitt hosts an AM radio show. And does a fine job I might add.

  • Korey

    So does the author consider himself a hipster? I saw his Amazon page and I see a lot of hipster in his photo. I thought this book was a joke when I first heard about it or like some bathroom reading material about cool Christians. Surprised it actually is supposedly serious. I might have been interested otherwise. Maybe there are only 2 left in stock on Amazon because readers think it’s supposed to be funny?

  • http://www.knightopia.com/blog Steve K.

    Apparently the Emergent backlash is what sells Christian books these days.

    Hmmm … Maybe I need to “convert” and write a tell-all anti-Emergent book. Or at least, one with a really quippy anti-Emergent chapter. I bet I’d get a book deal and a cover story in Christianity Today and an WSJ op-ed piece and 22,000 Likes on Facebook and … and …

    Oh nevermind.

  • nathan

    to problematize people engaging with the superficial and contingent trends of the culture in which they live is pretty petty.

    this book is a waste of trees and it’s incredibly sad to see people thinking it has something of “particular” import to it…

    especially if one goes and reads the ancillary material from the author’s blog…he hasn’t succeeded in defining “hipsters” per se. He’s only described “human beings” regardless of their superficial personal choices in what style glasses they wear or if they can afford to shop at Urban Outfitters.

    What’s particularly irresponsible (along with people saying this book is valuable) is to make claims via “allusions”.

    Perceptions do not a trend make and when the cultural winds blow and people end up wearing the only clothes/eye wear/ etc. that is available to us since we have to buy off the rack, I wonder where the author and his penetrating insights will be left.

  • Dan Hauge

    I realize the topic has passed this by, but I’m with Callid, way way back in comment #12. Would love to see some more in depth discussion on whether we can still talk about events or truths while acknowleding that we view them through our hermeneutical lenses.

  • http://atahenspace.blogspot.com At A Hen’s Pace

    I stumbled on this whole discussion through Facebook, so I’m that hip…but as an Anglican, our services are completely outside of culture. The priest (my husband) wears vestments and gives sermons that explore the lectionary readings for the day. We have confession and Eucharist every Sunday–strength for the week!–which makes our service nearly 1.5 hours long. It’s not hip, but it’s relevant and real, and there is genuine community and fellowship among us and with the Lord.

    It’s the Holy Spirit, I believe, that can fill any service model where He is welcome and free to move in power. We are so aware that without God’s presence, our liturgy is mere form and content–and the most “hip” church can also be nothing but. But if it is surrendered and submitted and dependent on God, He will use the vehicle, no matter what it looks like. “All things to all men, so long as the Gospel is preached.”

  • http://www.travismamone.net Travis Mamone

    Now that I finished “Hipster Christianity,” here’s what I thought about it.

    It’s not a bad book, per say. Brett makes a good point about churches that are trying too hard to be hip and cool (like putting Jesus in a skateboard). However, the book isn’t without flaws. For example, when I first heard about this book and took the tongue-in-cheek hipster Christian quiz, I thought the book was going to be tongue-in-cheek. But it’s actually a pretty serious look, and I think its seriousness makes the book kinda silly. Let’s face it, skinny jeans and ironic mustaches are gonna be out of style in the next couple of years, so why focus on just this era of hipsterdom? Fads come and go. Authenticity lasts forever.

    Then there’s the now-infamous chapter on the emerging church. He got some things right about it (binaries and modernism do suck), but he made it sound like it’s just another fad to make the church look cool. I’m pretty new to the emerging conversation, but I don’t think the emerging church is just about being cool; it’s about rethinking what it means to be a follower of Christ. Now as I mentioned earlier, I personally get too wrapped up in culture and not enough in Scripture. But that could be any Christian, not just emerging Christians.

    “Hipster Christianity” isn’t a total waste of trees, but I would have enjoyed it better if it was either 1). more tongue-in-cheek and less serious or 2). more about culture in general rather than just the current indie rock hipster scene.

  • nathan

    the moment any equates the emerging church convo with

    1. window dressing the church to be cool,
    2. nothing more than a group of disgruntled evangelicals, and
    3. the embodiment of the evil that is postmodernity as nothing more than relativism gone amuck/allowed to enter the Church

    hasn’t listened well,
    doesn’t understand the issues on the table in the conversation,
    has judged the hearts and motives of people wrongly,
    and clearly doesn’t even know what “postmodernity” is…though I will grant it is a contested category, but in ways far more nuanced than a person who writes it all off as “relativism” is probably ready to acknowledge. Sadly, that failure is really for ideological reasons, not properly theological ones.

    It’s sad that for whatever his own superficial choices/categories/tribes that could describe the author of this “book” he’s played into the worst inherited traits of evangelicalism that was given by the fundamentalist forbears–Namely, a sense of cultural inferiority, a fear of being perceived as such, the shallow and pious impulse to problematize contingent features of reality, and the further need to assign a “moral value” to what is different.

    This book problematizes things that one earlier commenter rightly said will be different within the next year probably because trends change.

    What would actually be more helpful would be to not write a book about the supposedly ethical/spiritual dimensions of what are largely value neutral trends and raise a critique of the whole evangelical celebrity/commodity/media culture that is bought into whole sale by the majority of middle-class to upper middle class Christians who have mistaken social respectability for actual Christian discipleship/identity.

    But then again, if you poked most of us Christians in the eye, then we wouldn’t buy your book since we LOVE material that is “honest” about others, but we just can’t seem to get over our allergy to honesty about ourselves.

    Sorry. My rant is done… Just in case you didn’t notice, I have strong feelings about this stuff because it’s not an “insightful” resource. It’s just playing to the worst in evangelical culture.

  • Ronald

    I wonder if he would have complained that Luther used a local tavern tune for “A Mighty Fortress.” How hip was that?

    If the gospel is not relevant to culture, then it’s not really good news any more. It seems to me, the hermeneutical challenge is to discover what aspects of culture can be adapted to serve the gospel, and what aspects of culture need to be set aside because they cannot fit the gospel.

  • http://www.thesusan.com Susan E Isaacs

    This reminds me of a line from Cameron Crowe’s movie “Singles.”
    Janet: “I think that, a) you have an act, and that, b) not having an act is your act.”
    Everyone has an act. Or as you put it, “We communicate the gospel in our own cultural idioms. It’s the only way we can.”

    It’s not necessarily wrong to have one. There’s that video from Northpoint Church, “Sunday’s Coming.” They still do that same act on Sundays, but they’re aware of it.

  • Pingback: Hipster Christianity? « Rooted + Radical

  • http://www.johnmusick.wordpress.com John Musick

    Travis, I respect your affinity for the book. But what I least respect about Brett is that in the WSJ article and in the book, he calls out Bell and Winner as derogatory examples of what not to be. But then in the radio interview he lauds their books as “great” and “one of the best on the topic.” While Bell’s notoriety makes him an easy target for cynics, throwing earnest people like him and Lauren under the bus simply to create a larger splash on the scene is hypocritical at best and displays a cowardly lack of integrity at worst.
    Despite his marketing approach, ‘Hipster Christianity’ is not a tongue-in-cheek jab ala Fark. While his solutions are vague, he makes some serious claims. If his true aim was to encourage genuineness within the church, he should have cast his net a bit wider.
    Now I understand that some folks like Scot may mercifully wish that we give the tyke a break because he’s only 27. But if a man is going to paint with such a wide brush, he shouldn’t be surprised at the mess he makes – regardless of his age. And there’s nothing hip about that.

  • http://www.thesusan.com Susan E Isaacs

    I wonder if Hipster Christianity will be the “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” of 2010?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07674489078935633842 Jim

    ~
    Can’t bother with this right now. Too busy examining why Heidi Montag is getting her breasts reduced to a D or double D … because she feels trapped in her own body. What kind of theology is that?

    From the pics, I can’t tell whether she believes with or without filioque.

    This outta be the cover for Charisma ….

    http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2010/08/25/2010-08-25_heidi_montag_desperate_to_remove_her_breast_implants_i_feel_trapped_in_my_own_bo.html

  • http://davidwierzbicki.com David

    After reading the article and then hearing the conversation with Doug on his radio show I can’t take this Brett guy seriously at all. I don’t believe he really knows what it is he is trying to say with this book, and I’m not sure how it will advance any conversation in a worthwhile way. Brett and his book will certainly be rockstars at the local Bible College this September, but I’m looking with hope toward October when it all ends up where it belongs.

  • http://www.mothlightcreative.com Daniel W

    Interesting article… I am interested to read the book in its entirety.
    These interviews and the first free chapter online are at the very least intriguing.

    shameless plug. check out our “hipster Christianity” view of the establishment.
    http://vimeo.com/8537137

  • http://www.delicious.com/v2/rss/kareemhwang1231 Dennis Bombaci

    I LOVE the Mommy Store! I can definitely see doing something like that for Ava when she gets bigger! Great post!

  • Pingback: Evangelicals Live in an Echo Chamber

  • http://Livingthequestion.org Riley

    I love this line. Perhaps my favorite of yours, ever, “See, the deal is that everything is hermeneutics — that’s all there is. We communicate the gospel in our own cultural idioms.” So true.

  • Sophia P.

    God and Church aren’t something you can scream about or discuss like that. God is to be cherished in your heart and i can’t believe religion is being discussed in a
    way pop culture is usually discussed. To those who trust in God i want to say: If this is what you believe in, go to church, listen to Holy Night on Christmas, but don’t talk about it as if it was something this trivial.


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