Are you a Christian Hipster?

Are you a Christian Hipster? March 5, 2009

Christian Hipster Likes and Dislikes (By No Means Exhaustive… Just a Sampling)

Things they don’t like:
Christian hipsters don’t like megachurches, altar calls, and door-to-door evangelism. They don’t really like John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart or youth pastors who talk too much about Braveheart. In general, they tend not to like Mel Gibson and have come to really dislike The Passion for being overly bloody and maybe a little sadistic. They don’t like people like Pat Robertson, who on The 700 Club famously said that America should “take Hugo Chavez out”; and they don’t particularly like The 700 Club either, except to make fun of it. They don’t like evangelical leaders who get too involved in politics, such as James Dobson or Jerry Falwell, who once said of terrorists that America should “blow them all away in the name of the Lord.” They don’t like TBN, PAX, or Joel Osteen. They do have a wry fondness for Benny Hinn, however.

Christian hipsters tend not to like contemporary Christian music (CCM), or Christian films (except ironically), or any non-book item sold at Family Christian Stores. They hate warehouse churches or churches with American flags on stage, or churches with any flag on stage, really. They prefer “Christ follower” to “Christian” and can’t stand the phrases “soul winning” or “non-denominational,” and they could do without weird and awkward evangelistic methods including (but not limited to): sock puppets, ventriloquism, mimes, sign language, “beach evangelism,” and modern dance. Surprisingly, they don’t really have that big of a problem with old school evangelists like Billy Graham and Billy Sunday and kind of love the really wild ones like Aimee Semple McPherson.

Things they like:
Christian hipsters like music, movies, and books that are well-respected by their respective artistic communities—Christian or not. They love books like Resident Aliens by Stanley Hauerwas and Will Willimon, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ron Sider, God’s Politics by Jim Wallis, and The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. They tend to be fans of any number of the following authors: Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Wendell Berry, Thomas Merton, John Howard Yoder, Walter Brueggemann, N.T. Wright, Brennan Manning, Eugene Peterson, Anne Lamott, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Henri Nouwen, Soren Kierkegaard, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Annie Dillard, Marilynne Robison, Chuck Klosterman, David Sedaris, or anything ancient and/or philosophically important.

Christian hipsters love thinking and acting Catholic, even if they are thoroughly Protestant. They love the Pope, liturgy, incense, lectio divina, Lent, and timeless phrases like “Thanks be to God” or “Peace of Christ be with you.” They enjoy Eastern Orthodox churches and mysterious iconography, and they love the elaborate cathedrals of Europe (even if they are too museum-like for hipster tastes). Christian hipsters also love taking communion with real Port, and they don’t mind common cups. They love poetry readings, worshipping with candles, and smoking pipes while talking about God. Some of them like smoking a lot of different things.

More. Based on this list, it sounds like another word for Christian Hipster would be “Catholic.” Or at least “Catholic who didn’t like The Passion.”

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  • Based on this list, it sounds like another word for Christian Hipster would be “Catholic.” Or at least “Catholic who didn’t like The Passion.”

    I consider myself to be reasonably hip (for a middle-aged white guy, anyway) and I loved the Passion. I was amused to explain to protestant friends how steeped in Catholicism it was – I think the entire story was told through the eyes of Mary.

  • I suspect this list is a little like a horoscope: it’s worded broadly enough that everyone will see a little of themselves in it.

    At least, I hope that’s the explanation. I would hate to think that I’m a stereotype.

  • Pingback: Christian Hipsters: A Tool For Self-Diagnosis « The American Catholic()

  • Brett

    As I wrote on his site:

    If you think Christians who have learned to see (and endure) suffering as redemptive participation in the passion of Jesus Christ by way of tutelage that comes from reading Hauerwas, O’Connor, et al., and even more, that such positioning is “cool,” then you need to leave Los Angeles and go back to the midwest.

    I don’t know what is constructive in your approach here. If it is just a critical analysis, then throw it in the trash. If the gospel is in it, then I hope you get it published. But from what I can tell, despite your remarks that your book is not overly ironic, is smacks of it to me, and even worse, seems like something the Didache would call “trading on Christ.”

    He is only “clever,” which is a saccharine form of wisdom. It is so easy to be clever. I’m non-plussed by his approach….obviously.

  • j. edwards

    it hurts, like reading
    i thoughts i was so original.

  • j. edwards

    Also, there are plenty of reasons to dislike the Gospel According to Mel Gibson. It being too bloody is not a good one.

  • Pingback: Are you a Christian Hipster? « Vox Nova | Contemporary Christian()

  • Larry Ball

    If you are interested in Catholic evangelism, you ought to see this site.