The tracking site for all things viral, Buzzfeed, has just picked up on something that we here at Lost in the Cloud pointed out like MONTHS ago*, namely, the ridiculously lame choice of a cover image for the “Hipster Faith” article in Christianity Today. The more I think about it, the more I detest this book/article/subcultural label (while remaining ignorant of the whole argument, since I haven’t read the book, and with a big “no offense” to the author of said materials).
*Ok, it was less than one month, but in terms of the attention span of today’s kids, that’s like YEARS!
The same website also posted on the Calvin College decision to uninvite The New Pornographers to play at their school (a topic which my friend Rob Kirkendall thoughtfully comments upon here). I give props to whomever at Calvin invited them to come in the first place, but this decision feels like it’s just feeding the public perception of evangelical ignorance and presumptuousness. I’m sure there are so many students & faculty/staff at Calvin that hate this decision as well, so it shouldn’t reflect poorly on them (we’ll let their soteriology do that! heh-heh, um, J/K?), but really the more Christians cave in to the conservative power-brokers, the more we taint the image of what it means to follow Christ in the world…it’s time for a revolution. Perhaps, a SECOND Reformation anyone?
6 thoughts on “Mocking Hipster Faith”
Wow! This is so my favorite blog…
Greg, just stumbled on this site. The discussions re hipster christianity got me reading. Can’t help but notice you distinguish between hipster (non-conformist who happens to have great taste without regard to societal norms) and scenester (a lemming, concerned with image). I was a little disappointed to then see you concerned with the image of evangelicals by worldly standards. Most of my discussions these days are a practise in apologetics. I am forever being labeled as brainwashed and ignorant for believing there is a God (and just in general for being an American). You really shouldn’t worry too much about the evangelical image…it comes with the territory, you’ll go crazy trying to change it and doing so stinks os scenester.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. My point, I think, wasn’t to redeem “hipsters” per se, but rather to say that one could be “cool” without being a hipster/scenester as the author of the book described. I’d like to save coolness because I think that there is something wonderful to having an independent mind, a self-possessed character, and thoughtful aesthetic reasoning, which in my mind add up to coolness!
As far as evangelicals, you may well be right. But perhaps another example will help illustrate what I mean. There is a characterization of Americans as ignorant, provincial, close-minded, arrogant, etc. that exists in the world. Though I think that there is some truth to this, I’ve also found that there are many Americans who are not this way & indeed, this was not the ethos upon which America was founded. So I would like to do all in my power to try to demonstrate the best version of American character possible & to denounce those who are representing the worst version. So that’s all that I’m trying to do with evangelicals.
There are reasons why those who are non-Christian will always mock Christians–Scripture itself says that Jews and Greeks considered the idea of a crucified savior to be a point to stumble over and foolishness. However, the mockery experienced by claiming the truth of the gospel is not what I am fighting to change.
Rather, I think that many non-Christians think that all evangelicals refuse to acknowledge the validity of human evolution, or think the world is about to end and all Christians will be raptured, or that homosexuality is the worst possible sin, or that drinking/smoking/cussing is always sinful, etc. and I want to stand up and say that this is not true of all evangelicals and actually the BEST evangelicals are the ones who take their stand on the GOSPEL and not these secondary issues.
So that was my intention. I was actually in somewhat of a bitter place when I wrote these posts, so it does seem read much more defensive, angry, and unkind than I actually feel nowadays…
In any case, thanks for your thoughts & helping me to think through this a little more myself!
I agree – the mainstream view is that Christians are ignorant. However, the gospel is enlightenment. It follows then that the mainstream view is, in fact, ignorant itself. I think you and I may come from different experiences regarding the “secondary” points though. I live in Vancouver, Canada and those secondary issues are not part of my discussions with non-believers. I think this is because Vancouver is a city that has moved past those issues and most people are not even aware that there could still be debate anymore. In fact, many assume that no one really believes in God anymore. That’s why I get such strong reactions when people find out I’m a Christian. They are dumbfounded that I could be so “ignorant”. So I disagree with why we get the “ignorant” label. Just as those secondary issues are not at the heart of Christianity, they are not either at the heart of why Christians are perceived as ignorant. We are “ignorant” because we believe the gospel. And we shouldn’t worry about it. Gossip mags are forever reporting false stories about celebrities. The insecure ones get upset and try to do damage control and usually just end up drawing more negative attention to themselves. The others laugh it off, realizing that if people really want the truth, it’s there for them to find. There are always going to be Christians that we want to distance ourselves from. Everyone has that embarrassing aunt or uncle. But they are still family. And I agree with you 100%, we ought to take our stand on the gospel and not the secondary issues. And that goes for within our own Christian communities too.
Thanks for the follow-up. Sorry to hear about your experience in Vancouver. Being that one of my favorite Christian institutions is up there (Regent College), I’m sad that people in the area still find Christianity ignorant!
You’re right about the family metaphor. I wonder if sometimes, though, your family gets so out of hand that you end up wanting to change your name! (I’m thinking of the story of Stalin’s daughter…)
Anyhow, blessings on your Gospel work up in Canada!