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Peter T Chattaway

Hipster Christianity

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So, for the heck of it, I have put my old study online, wherein I think I may have coined the shorthand description "hipster evangelicals", for everyone's reference. I'll be adding some images and charts and a new introduction reflecting on what's changed since 2006 when I get around to it.

hipsterevangelicalism.tumblr.com

Edited by Holy Moly!

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McCracken prepares the follow-up book:

How do Christians engage the culture in a way that enriches our spiritual walk, edifies God, and contributes to broader human flourishing? How should we go about consuming potentially dicey — but also potentially edifying — areas of pop culture? How do we get the most out of that which we consume, and how do we discern what is and isn’t appropriate among the vast range of cultural goods, experiences, and products to which we are daily beckoned as consumers?

These are the sorts of questions I’m always asking, and they’re questions that loom large in my next book project, which I’m proud to say I started writing last week (after signing a contract with Baker Books, who will be publishing it).

I don’t want to say too much about the specifics of the book just yet… But I will say that it’s admittedly ambitious and sprawling, and will require immense energies and focus as I write it over the next 14 months (even as I work full time, pursue relationships, and continue to travel and speak in support of HC). That said, it’s going to be an absolute blast to write. The research for this book will take me to Switzerland, Spain, England, Chicago, New York, among many other places. It will require me to spend plenty of hours conversing with baristas and filmmakers and poets and musicians, and may require a few trips to breweries and wineries. It won’t be a bad gig.

As I begin the writing process, one thing that is motivating me is my firmly held belief in the radical nature of nuance. Moderation. Balance.

Edited by Overstreet

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The other day, I e-mailed a blog post about dominionism to some friends, and, since the article notes that many dominionists refuse to identify themselves as such (despite looking, sounding and quacking like dominionists), I quipped that dominionists must be kind of like hipsters, then. I then wondered if there were any hipster dominionists or dominionist hipsters out there, and one friend suggested Francis Schaeffer.

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"How do Christians engage the culture..."

Why do Christian authors and journalists so often say "the culture" rather than just "culture"? Unless I unconsciously block it out, I only ever see the article used in Christian writing.

Is this a throwback to the initial Christianity Today era when Evangelicalism was emerging in response to a specific, monolithic alternative to conservative Christianity that was emerging in the 50s and 60s? So there was "the culture" out there that we needed to "engage"?

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The other day, I e-mailed a blog post about dominionism to some friends, and, since the article notes that many dominionists refuse to identify themselves as such (despite looking, sounding and quacking like dominionists), I quipped that dominionists must be kind of like hipsters, then. I then wondered if there were any hipster dominionists or dominionist hipsters out there, and one friend suggested Francis Schaeffer.

Schaeffer may or may not have been a dominionist. But he walked around in lederhosen. The ability to think critically about culture does not make one a hipster.

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The other day, I e-mailed a blog post about dominionism to some friends, and, since the article notes that many dominionists refuse to identify themselves as such (despite looking, sounding and quacking like dominionists), I quipped that dominionists must be kind of like hipsters, then. I then wondered if there were any hipster dominionists or dominionist hipsters out there, and one friend suggested Francis Schaeffer.

Schaeffer may or may not have been a dominionist. But he walked around in lederhosen. The ability to think critically about culture does not make one a hipster.

But was he wearing the lederhosen ironically?

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M. Leary wrote:

: Why do Christian authors and journalists so often say "the culture" rather than just "culture"?

For the same reason they talk about "the homosexual lifestyle", singular, rather than "homosexual lifestyles", plural.

NBooth wrote:

: But was he wearing the lederhosen ironically?

Heh heh heh.

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"How do Christians engage the culture..."

Why do Christian authors and journalists so often say "the culture" rather than just "culture"? Unless I unconsciously block it out, I only ever see the article used in Christian writing.

Because to say "Christians who engage culture" might just mean they engage in their own culture. "The culture" indicates the larger things. There are many cultures in Seattle, but you could also say that Seattle has a culture of its own, made up of that unique mix of prevalent biases and activities.

"Christians who engage cultures" sounds like we're saying something about yogurt.

It's a way of saying "Christians who don't secede from the world around them in separatist protest and fear."

I'm not terribly fond of the saying. I live with it every day at SPU, since the school's slogan is "Engaging the culture, changing the world."

To me it's just a way of saying "we are not distancing ourselves from what's going on all around us, we're participating, loving, investigating, and contributing to that vast, multi-faceted thing around us that, for lack of a more specific term, we will call 'the culture.'"

Edited by Overstreet

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I have some misgivings about the utility of the term dominionist. But I feel pretty okay saying that Brett McCracken himself might well be a dominionist hipster.

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M. Leary wrote:

: Why do Christian authors and journalists so often say "the culture" rather than just "culture"?

For the same reason they talk about "the homosexual lifestyle", singular, rather than "homosexual lifestyles", plural.

I can't quite see that. In the case of "the" homosexual lifestyle, the article is particularizing. It distinguishes it from other lifestyles. In the case of "the" culture, the article seems to have the same syntactical force, but doesn't actually occur within the same grammatical structure. The particularizing article generally only make sense in English when part of a structure that contains a subsequent descriptive clause. E.g.: The culture of "x." The "y" culture. Speaking of "the culture" is odd in that the use of "the" can only really have either an emphatic or particularizing syntax here, but it is not clear what is being emphasized or distinguished. We are forced to import the necessary descriptive clause from the context of its usage. Thus, in these case I can only assume that when Christians speak of engaging "the culture," they are implying an us/them distinction that does not require a further descriptive clause. It is the culture as distinct from the church.

To me it's just a way of saying "we are not distancing ourselves from what's going on all around us, we're participating, loving, investigating, and contributing to that vast, multi-faceted thing around us that, for lack of a more specific term, we will call 'the culture.'"

Though the actual grammar of "the" in this case makes me think the opposite. If it really is vast and all around us, then it doesn't need a particularizing or emphatic article. It just is, and we are as immersed in it as everyone else. I am not wanting to make a big deal out of this, just thought I would toss it out there for further explanation. I should start crossing this little word out with a magic marker every time I see it used in this way. A little Banksy protest.

I have some misgivings about the utility of the term dominionist. But I feel pretty okay saying that Brett McCracken himself might well be a dominionist hipster.

Same here. It is odd to see it popping up with such frequency when it has a pretty defined meaning in terms of Reformed theological movements. But maybe that is changing? Maybe the neo-Reformed conversation has a dominionist tinge to it?

Edited by M. Leary

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I have some misgivings about the utility of the term dominionist. But I feel pretty okay saying that Brett McCracken himself might well be a dominionist hipster.

Same here. It is odd to see it popping up with such frequency when it has a pretty defined meaning in terms of Reformed theological movements. But maybe that is changing? Maybe the neo-Reformed conversation has a dominionist tinge to it?

I have no idea about Brett's political/theological persuasion, but it certainly bothers me to see the term "dominionism" being tossed around so blithely. I've read Rushdoony and Bahnsen, and, while I disagree with them, I do acknowledge that they've made a serious attempt to integrate a biblical worldview with earthly government. As it is used in the media, however, "dominionist" is the hip new shorthand for "nutcase," and it is used by people who, by and large, couldn't begin to parse the theological nuances of the dominionist argument. Whatever they are, Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann are not dominionists, although they might have read some Francis Schaeffer a long time ago.

Edited by Andy Whitman

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Whatever they are, Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann are not dominionists, although they might have read some Francis Schaeffer a long time ago.

And even Schaeffer is a far cry from Rushdooney. Calling Bachmann a dominionist is kind of like calling Jeremiah Wright a radical liberationist.

Edited by M. Leary

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M. Leary wrote:

: I can't quite see that. In the case of "the" homosexual lifestyle, the article is particularizing. It distinguishes it from other lifestyles.

But it does not distinguish one homosexual lifestyle from another. It presses them all together into a single "lifestyle" that is opposite from "our" lifestyle... just as "the culture" is treated as a monolithic entity that is, in some sense, opposite to "our" culture (or subculture).

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But it does not distinguish one homosexual lifestyle from another. It presses them all together into a single "lifestyle" that is opposite from "our" lifestyle... just as "the culture" is treated as a monolithic entity that is, in some sense, opposite to "our" culture (or subculture).

Yes, I think that implied particularizing (which is not declared through a supporting descriptive clause in "the culture") can be construed as bad theology. If we are to make distinctions, make clear ones. Otherwise, "the culture" may be interpreted as the relic of an us vs. them/church vs. culture grammar.

Yesterday, I began my campaign by defacing this book in a local seminary library:

5vp1kz.jpg

Edited by M. Leary

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Whatever they are, Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann are not dominionists, although they might have read some Francis Schaeffer a long time ago.

And the New Yorker takes on the Schaeffer issue.

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A lot of bluster in Lizza, and Sullivan needs to drop the term "Christianist." This is yet another example of why I refrain from this kind of religious parallelomania.

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A lot of bluster in Lizza, and Sullivan needs to drop the term "Christianist." This is yet another example of why I refrain from this kind of religious parallelomania.

What, you don't agree with the right-thinking Andrew Sullivan? Maybe you're one of the "fanatics" he so opposes.

I stopped reading Sully years ago, and wouldn't have seen his latest had you not linked to it. Same ol', same ol'.

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Yes, I am fanatical about the act of stopping, taking a deep breath, and remembering that people's religious convictions are part of complex biographical networks that will continually defy my ability to wrap them up in neat little "-ist" bows. Suicide bombers and abortion doctor killers and Wall Street invaders included.

So I also haven't read him for many moons.

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Whatever they are, Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann are not dominionists, although they might have read some Francis Schaeffer a long time ago.

And even Schaeffer is a far cry from Rushdooney. Calling Bachmann a dominionist is kind of like calling Jeremiah Wright a radical liberationist.

Rachel Tabachnick traces a particular strain of what she's calling "dominionism" to C. Peter Wagner and the "New Apostolic Reformation," which she claims has influenced Palin, Bachmann and Perry. As she describes it, the NAR is part of the Charismatic movement and doesn't seem to have direct connections with either Schaeffer or Rushdoony.

Edited by mrmando

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