>Apparently, I am a Christian Hipster

Posted: 05/03/2009 in life

>A recent blog posting over here listed many of the qualities of a Christian Hipster. I fit them down fairly solid, as do many of “my people.” Normally, I am the one making witty, satirical, comments about other people. It’s fun being on the other end of the pigeon holing. Here goes:

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.

Wild at Heart was a dumb book. It was uninteresting and unenlightening. I am surprised that I haven’t posted a blog ranting about it, but it doesn’t matter. “The Church Impotent” and “To Own a Dragon” are far better publications on Christian manhood. I don’t have anything against Mel, and never did see “Passion of the Christ though.

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.”

Fuck Pat Robertson. If people took seriously the prohibition against “false prophets,” this guy would’ve lost his audience years ago. But people only want to apply that test to Joseph Smith et al. Oh well.

Dobson bores me. He is not on my list of people to listen too. Falwell… eh I’d rather not say bad things about the dead.

They don’t like TBN, PAX, or Joel Osteen. They do have a wry fondness for Benny Hinn, however.

What many people don’t realize is that the TBN building sucks up so much energy (they keep the building perpetually floodlit) that it raises electricity prices in the neighborhood. Also, the building is so un-holy, that it actually blights the surrounding earth that it is built on. Plant life in the area died slowly after the early broadcasts. No new plants grow in the area.

Joel Osteen creeps me out. He is a very good marketing/sales guy. I don’t have anything against marketing/sales guys, but buyer-beware, snake oil still sells! I think I can have indirect fondness of Benny Hinn for the same reason I enjoy the Star Wars prequels.

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.

CCM drives me nuts, even after I have gotten over the negative association I had with it. I know it is hard for some to believe, but I don’t need to raise my hands before a pop-singer to worship God. American flags are an annoyance to me, although I am not as strongly opposed as many of my friends. But still, I remember one of the reasons I left my old church back in Modesto was they had a card-board cut out of George W. Bush, and nobody thought it was odd except me.

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.

All of this listed here is a type of “evangelism” that I think has had its day in the sun, and is not breathing its last. Even Billy Graham’s own organization admits that only 10% of the altar call people stick with it. Soul-winning makes us forget that we have plenty to overcome in our souls. Non-denominational churches still bother me.

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.

Okay, I have not read everyone on this list, but I have highlighted everything that either me or a some of my close friends have read. It is so scary. I just don’t know why Clark Pinnock and Jurgen Moltmann aren’t in that list. I really expected them to be.

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.

Oh man…. do I need to say anything? This is so freakishly accurate. I mean, one friend wonders If I will revert to Catholicism. I even have some friends who went and joined the Eastern Church. Are you reading this Dane? Even after you converted to Eastern Orthodoxy, you’re still a hipster!

Christian hipsters love breaking the taboos that used to be taboo for Christians. They love piercings, dressing a little goth, getting lots of tattoos (the Christian Tattoo Association now lists more than 100 member shops), carrying flasks and smoking cloves. A lot of them love skateboarding and surfing, and many of them play in bands. They tend to get jobs working for churches, parachurch organizations, non-profits, or the government. They are, on the whole, a little more sincere and idealistic than their secular hipster counterparts.

Okay, I haven’t done any of this yet, but so many of my friends have.

So it seems that if I am not “Some Kind of Christian” I am actually a Christian Hipster.

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Comments
  1. Heidi says:

    >Ok, that’s the blog I read yesterday. I told you it made me think of you. 🙂

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