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Peter T Chattaway

Hipster Christianity

462 posts in this topic

Since Bethke's video has spurred conversation here as it has elsewhere.

Joe

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According to Diana Butler Bass in HuffPost, the pejorative definition of "religion" is now the mainstream one:

In the last decade, the word "religion" has become equated with institutional or organized religion. Because of crises such as the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the Roman Catholic abuse scandal, Americans now define "religion" in almost exclusively negative terms.

She also asserts:

In 1999, when survey takers asked Americans "Do you consider yourself spiritual or religious," a solid majority of 54 percent responded that they were "religious but not spiritual."

I don't quite know what to make of either statement -- particularly the second one. Does it mean 54% of survey-takers ticked one box but not the other? I have a hard time believing a majority of people would actually utter a self-contradictory and stupid-sounding phrase like "I'm religious but not spiritual."

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I definitely need to stay more current in other areas of the boards besides film. Although, in my defense, one reason I didn't go looking for a conversation on this book was because I was afraid of what I would find. After reading through some of this I am sorry to be a year late.

I was looking forward to this book and when it came out I found it difficult to engage with on a serious level. I love cultural studies especially when focused on marginal cultures and the hangers-on but this satirical, editorial had no foundation. There was no background developed for understanding counter-culture or hipster-ism. If the bibliography indicates a preparation for the book then I find it completely lacking substantive articles or books. In the end, I just could not grasp the thought process articulated within. One question that left me scratching my head from the very beginning was, "is this book actually saying anything?" Like so many people here have said, I guess everyone aligning with Christianity is a hipster.

I would have really enjoyed a book discussing how the church uses the idea of hipster values for evangelizing or how the hipster mentality has affected the church by posing as Jesus followers. The book talked very little about the affects of "when the church and cool collide."

I was sad to see some of the endorsements on this book, some of whose judgment I have trusted for some time.

This is such a rich topic for discussion and I did not walk away enriched. Actually, I walked away thinking the opportunity for some critical thinking was lost in this book all in an effort to write something hip.

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A little late to the game, and at the risk of dredging Bethke back up...

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I also saw one that said "...if I told you I love Babe Ruth but hate baseball." That one made me chuckle. But I think the "Rhyming makes it relevant," line is a cute bit of alliteration.

Edited by Pair

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Rachel Shteir reviews R. Jay Magill, Jr's Sincerity. I'm putting it here because of this paragraph:

Magill is right to explain the Millennials’ embrace of hipsterism as a sincerity-desiring defense for a generation that has “grown up in the shadow of a culture that values economics and consumption over the values of humanism and artistic enterprise.” In other words, as the Recession narrowed young peoples’ choices, they began to flail around for anything not connected to a dead-end job—even if the real thing thing they settled on was ultimately fake. (Wearing a wifebeater does not make you James Dean.) And yet Magill’s analysis of hipsterism is ultimately dissatisfying, putting into relief how anemic—even how ironic—hipsterism is.

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Americans so over hipsters

Just 16% of Americans have a favorable opinion of hipsters, a new PPP poll on the much-discussed subculture shows. 42% have an unfavorable opinion of hipsters, and 43% aren’t sure. Democrats (18% favorable, 34% unfav) are twice as likely as Republicans (9% fav, 48% unfav) to have a favorable opinion. Voters age 18-29 have a favorable opinion of them (43% fav-29% unfav), but very few voters over age 65 do (6% fav -37% unfav).

Just 10% of voters say they consider themselves to be hipsters – and almost all of those are younger voters. Half of all voters aged 18-29 consider themselves hipsters; every other age group is 5% or less.

Edited by Christian

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McCracken's second book, Gray Matters: Navigating the Space Between Legalism & Liberty, came out earlier this year.

 

I've been wrestling with some of the ideas in it, and the result is turning into a three part book review.  Here's Part One (where I discuss what I liked about it), but the real theological questioning & wrestling starts in Part Two.  I'm finishing up the third and final part in the next week.

 

Also, I can't remember if it was here or on Facebook, but I could have sworn that I saw that another A&F'er had either written or was planning to write a review of Gray Matters too.  At the moment, I can't remember who.

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I like the comment from Arcade Fire's Win Butler:

 

If you think our band are hipsters, then… whatever. I do like a good cup of coffee, whatever that makes me…

 

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I am glad this is getting a little more press. As I stated a while back (posted above), this book had a lot of potential for a really good cultural analysis or perspective. Instead, it falls extremely short and it lies in the definition and understanding of "hipster" or "hipsterdom". The discussion of how hipster(ism) engages or incorporates into Christian culture because of the premise it is based on. If you're a hipster than you don't know it. If you "know you're a hipster" then you are probably a poseur. Okay, maybe that is a bit harsh but waddagonnado..

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Phillip Yancey weighs in, sorta.

 

 

 

As I look back on the pile of books I read in 2013, a number of them seem to fall into a new genre. "Christian hip," I'll call it. Move over John Stott, Chuck Colson, and Max Lucado. These books circle around faith matters in a decidedly non-traditional way. Many of the authors came out of a strict evangelical or fundamentalist background, and they write about their spiritual detours in a loose, memoir-type style with a few obligatory bad words sprinkled in.

 

 

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