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Peter T Chattaway

Hipster Christianity

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4) Uncontextualized Worship

Worship has been too far removed from the culture of the people who are worshiping and instead preserves a culture of a different day and age that is increasingly irrelevant.

This is an interesting comment. Care to elaborate, Andy? How is contemporary evangelical worship "too far removed from the culture of the people who are worshipping"? Is that a dig at hymns, or your typical praise/worship music? And how do we determine the culture of the people who are worshipping, anyhow, given that any congregation ideally covers multiple generations and therefore multiple "cultures"? Must we privilege the culture of the young? Nevermind that traditions that reach back into the past--even if they might not be entirely "relevant" to the contemporary culture--could be construed as appropriate for something as old as the Body of Christ.

I'm giving you the standard Emergent 7 points, Ryan. And to be honest, I feel more strongly about some of those 7 points than I do others. The one you picked is the one I have no particular stake in, for what it's worth. I believe it's a criticism of worship as it probably exists in many mainline churches. But I've been through the worship wars countless times, and I don't particularly care. I think both "sides," if you will, have merit; the contemporary worshippers because it's more likely that the unchurched will find themselves at home, and the high-liturgy-hymn-singers because it's unlikely that anyone coming into the church will mistake Jesus for somebody's boyfriend.

Edited by Andy Whitman

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Does this timeline bother anyone else? I am just not seeing how we go from Schaeffer to Paste to the Emergent Church. The comparison in the green box between "hipster Christianity" and Uneasy Conscience is particularly galling, as it is terrible inaccurate.

I don't know. But is anyone else wondering why Ben Affleck is the apparant poster boy for the Emergent Church?


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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Without meaning to sound like some "back to the Bible" thumper, surely there are enough ethical causes where we can work together. I'm so thoroughly sick of the culture wars, and the shrieking, and the finger pointing. And I include myself in that area as well. Rather than seeking the ideal political solution, I would be happier if we sought to do good. It would at least be a decent start.

Yes, I also agree. However, I'd like to point out that large traditional evangelical churches have been doing crisis pregnancy centers for decades now. Doing good has many varieties and it is not safe to assume that those focusing on good different than my good are not putting their money where their mouthes are. This would be a really pleasant first step. At some point, different kinds of focus and values of importance will assert themselves. Still it would be wise to acknowledge the work that others value not totally contradicting what one values herself.


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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Okay, Ted Olsen officially has lost whatever respect I might ever have had for him and his publication.

"And that's largely why the Christian hipsters described in this month's cover story ("Hipster Faith," page 24) will never quite mesh with their secular counterparts. They may wear skinny jeans and unnecessary scarves, but they lack the utterly nihilistic detachment of their neighbors. Yes, they may be particularly prone to evangelicalism's original sin—a desire not to be seen as weird—but, as writer Brett McCracken points out, they are not mere consumers. They are as likely to volunteer at the Salvation Army as to shop there. They want to serve the poor even as they adopt "homeless chic" beards and caps. They want to identify with the downtrodden, not just steal their fashions."

This is deeply offensive to me. My friends with secular leanings and non-christian faiths who fall into the superficial category of "hipster" are every bit as likely to be engaged, active in their communities, serving the poor and make no mistake: the reason they shop at the thrift stores is because they are POOR themselves, most likely because they're working in sectors that aren't financially lucrative, like the arts, and service oriented nonprofits.

This is sanctimonious garbage--the literal definition of holier than thou. Just disgusting.

Edited by Holy Moly!

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You might be right. However, the description you quote is about christian hipsters who do things that the author assumes that his readers do not. That does not mean that non-christian hipsters don't do those things as well.


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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You might be right. However, the description you quote is about christian hipsters who do things that the author assumes that his readers do not. That does not mean that non-christian hipsters don't do those things as well.

I don't think that's correct Rich. The quote is explaining, "Why Christian hipsters don't mesh with their secular counterpart," not why they don't mesh with their "square" counterpart (which would be his audience.)

Scott -- 2nd Story -- Twitter

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Without meaning to sound like some "back to the Bible" thumper, surely there are enough ethical causes where we can work together. I'm so thoroughly sick of the culture wars, and the shrieking, and the finger pointing. And I include myself in that area as well. Rather than seeking the ideal political solution, I would be happier if we sought to do good. It would at least be a decent start.

Yes, I also agree. However, I'd like to point out that large traditional evangelical churches have been doing crisis pregnancy centers for decades now. Doing good has many varieties and it is not safe to assume that those focusing on good different than my good are not putting their money where their mouthes are. This would be a really pleasant first step. At some point, different kinds of focus and values of importance will assert themselves. Still it would be wise to acknowledge the work that others value not totally contradicting what one values herself.

Yep. I'm in total agreement, Rich.

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I just heard an excellent examination that throws a bit of a different light on the conversation of emergent/non-emergent or hipster/mainstream/whatever. I have got to read a book by this fellow. I can't say it as well as he can, I'll have to get the book and head to our book section with some quotes -- but Peter Rollins might ask, Are we defined by what we believe, or are we defined by our entire material existence -- the outward things we do every day instead of the inward ways we think? Do our beliefs actually cause genuine world transformation, or do transformations happen one at a time when our material existence begins to match the desires of Christ? Is there irony in the constant defining of our beliefs when that does next to nothing regarding the way Christ wants us to work out the reconciliation of all things on earth? Is it really about a person's inside thoughts and getting right all the miniscule ideas about the fundamentals of one's faith, digging inward like a weekly trip to your shrink, or is faith in Christ meant for something greater than your belief -- that perhaps if everything you do every day isn't lining up with your core belief system, than your belief system might actually be getting in the way?

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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It's both. It has always been both. I think that when we are truly following "the desires of Christ" the two are inextricably entwined. That certainly is the only way to make sense of James and Romans at the same time, for example. In addition, you think you are conforming to the desires of Christ, and like humility, you end up not conforming. There is no sure, fixed and right mark that one toes in the entwining. It is hard enough to humbly have right doctrine and be willing to adjust when one realizes things are not quite right. Same thing with right acts. Entwining is yet more humbling and complicated. One without the other is either humanism, or possibly an intellectual excercise.

Edited by Rich Kennedy

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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So when American Christian businessmen are driving large SUVs while discussing on their cell phones about environmental problems, has their material existence actually been transformed? When you're sitting at a Starbucks talking about the evils of giant corporations is that about belief or at this point irony? Who we are has barely been affected, and the beliefs of modern Christian Americans are not changing the way we operate in the world. Were it so, Christianity, or whatever you want to call it, would have changed systems of corruption by not being a part of it at all, and changed the world in the process.

It's both. It has always been both. I think that when we are truly following "the desires of Christ" the two are inextricably entwined.

Agreed, except that I think I can sum up the "belief" part in one sentence: Christ died to transform the world. This makes room for thousands of ways to believe this, be it Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Evangelical, Puritan, moralist, hipster, hard-core rocker, recovering addict, sin-prone missing dad.

That certainly is the only way to make sense of James and Romans at the same time, for example. In addition, you think you are conforming to the desires of Christ, and like humility, you end up not conforming. There is no sure, fixed and right mark that one toes in the entwining. It is hard enough to humbly have right doctrine and be willing to adjust when one realizes things are not quite right. Same thing with right acts. Entwining is yet more humbling and complicated. One without the other is either humanism, or possibly an intellectual excercise.

Who humbly has right doctrine? Which of the above denominations I mentioned humbly has right doctrine? And which of those is "willing to adjust"?

It's not humanism, btw. I never said there wasn't a belief in place. My point was that belief has helped Christians to hold out an image of themselves -- an image which doesn't materially line up.

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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So when American Christian businessmen are driving large SUVs while discussing on their cell phones about environmental problems, has their material existence actually been transformed? When you're sitting at a Starbucks talking about the evils of giant corporations is that about belief or at this point irony? Who we are has barely been affected, and the beliefs of modern Christian Americans are not changing the way we operate in the world. Were it so, Christianity, or whatever you want to call it, would have changed systems of corruption by not being a part of it at all, and changed the world in the process.

I find your illustrations curious. You suggest that "who we are has been barely affected" by our beliefs, but your illustrations assume that environmentalism and anti-big business are common Christian beliefs. They're quite popular among the emergents, I suppose, but much of evangelical Christianity doesn't see those battles as a priority. No wonder there hasn't been transformation in that regard. This is, of course, where theology comes into things, and plays its important role. What, exactly, is the work of the Body of Christ?

The work of Christ would be to identify the good, to identify the beauty and when we encounter what it not good or not what would be identified as the beauty of original creation, to attempt to bring transformation to it in a way that we know how. What I'm saying -- regurgitating, and probably not very well, but close enough for a conversation that singles out the group known as hipsters -- is that belief in itself does not do this.

Seven-member families that live in $320,000 three-story homes with a fully finished basement with Wiis and golf clubs and DVDs who talk about hope for poverty in the world. People that mix in politics and big-guns and military hopes to keep the world carved out in a nationalistic image but talk about God and the hope for all nations. The idea that giving 10% to keep the building fund going is transformative and what is required. The belief that showing up once a week on Sunday morning and once Thursday night for the small group is actual community, and is exactly and all that is needed to transform anything except to create others in our culture in the exact same cloned image as us.

It happens individually and it happens in systems. I was mostly talking about systems, and I'm not saying I have it all individually figured out. Because I don't. But I have encountered people in the church for forty years now who have erected the false self to prove to themselves that they are OK. And I've at least made the break with myself in my own life to where I can acknowledge the false image and say, no, this is not OK. I am not OK. And I won't continue with a faith that is half-hearted and self-congratulatory.

Agreed, except that I think I can sum up the "belief" part in one sentence: Christ died to transform the world.

You think that's enough, Stef? That there aren't ways to understand that truth that could be harmful? That, really, all understandings are equal?

I think we could go very far with that understanding followed by Christ's two greatest commandments, yes. If it doesn't line up with a love of God and if it doesn't line up with a love of neighbor, then it isn't transformative and wasn't what Christ died for.

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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What I'm saying -- regurgitating, and probably not very well, but close enough for a conversation that singles out the group known as hipsters -- is that belief in itself does not do this.

I would say that opposite. That belief--true, genuine belief--does precisely that. But most often, we Christians do not truly believe what we profess.

I read an interesting quote the other day. It was taken from David Wells' GOD IN THE WASTELAND. I have not read the book in question, and I am not acquainted with Wells, so I endorse neither here. But I do believe that this singular, out-of-context quote has some genuine truth:

The fundamental problem in the evangelical world today is not inadequate technique, insufficient organization, or antiquated music and those who want to squander the church’s resources bandaging these scratches will do nothing to staunch the flow of blood that is spilling from its wounds. The fundamental problem in the evangelical world today is that God rests too inconsequentially upon the church. His truth is too distant, his grace too ordinary, his judgment too benign, his gospel too easy, and his Christ is too common.

I think we could go very far with that understanding followed by Christ's two greatest commandments, yes. If it doesn't line up with a love of God and if it doesn't line up with a love of neighbor, then it isn't transformative and wasn't what Christ died for.

Naturally. But, unlike you, I think that doesn't take us very far. What does it mean to love God? What does it mean to love my neighbor? These are crucial questions. Nuanced answers are necessary. Without definition, these ideas are vague and nebulous.

I wish I could say I saw a greater correlation between a better understanding of doctrinal nuance and a more Christlike life. I can't, though. Often, what I see is that a better understanding of doctrinal nuance leads to a more arrogant and contentious life, and since neither arrogance nor contention are particularly Christlike virtues, I'm not sure what is gained. Perhaps not surprisingly, I'm closer to Stef's perspective here. I just don't think it's that hard to understand. It's just hard to do. And I see far too many whiney, angry Christians who can dot their doctrinal i's and cross their doctrinal t's, and who are frankly a royal drag to be around. They are walking billboards for what is unappealing about Christianity.

People are selfish by default. They tend to look out for #1 very well, and just because somebody claims to put God as priority #1 doesn't mean that they actually do. You can say that this is faulty belief, but there are many, many people who would insist that their beliefs are entirely in order, all the while remaining apathetic to the plight of their neighbors and judgmental toward those with whom their beliefs differ. It's fairly ugly. I am less and less concerned with what people purport to believe and I am more and more concerned with how they actually live their lives. If people whose doctrinal beliefs are robust give of their time and money and energy in serving others, then more power to them. If people whose doctrinal beliefs consist of little more than "Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so," and yet still give of their time and money and energy in serving others, then more power to them. Everything else is a misguided focus. It's just not that difficult to grasp.

Edited by Andy Whitman

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I don't think the point of me bringing the Peter Rollins teaching into the conversation was about knowing who has a "strong grasp of theological concepts" and is admired -- and, btw, if you want, I'd be happy to go on cable tonight and simply flip through the channels to find you a lot of folks who have a "strong grasp of theological concepts" that you probably won't admire -- but it was really in my watching this thread for the past few weeks(?) and seeing the similarities between "emergent Christianity," a phrase which I have always hated but one that is nonetheless used to describe my church, and "Christian hipster," a phrase which I am now being lumped into against my own desire, a phrase that I strongly feel is a generalization and about which I mentioned Here, saying it leads to a "reductionist, minimalist, misguided, and unhelpful" definition of a segment of the Christian church.

The reason I relate to what Rollins said last week is that I have for some time not wanted to be defined by a system of beliefs, outside of a belief that the narrative as found in the Bible and the messianic story of Jesus makes the most sense to me of anything I've seen in life. Other than that, if I were to die tomorrow I'd like for my kids to remember me as the guy that risked everything to suck the sap out of life, the guy that lost much of it in encountering the problems and addictions of the world, and the guy that met those problems and addictions head-on and with the help of God and those in community around him, came back and fought to find transformation. And I'm still fighting, for myself and hopefully for more than me, too.

But I honestly think I had to lay down a lot of my beliefs in order to encounter the spirit behind this transformation, the one I'll refer to as God and believe in as Jesus. (But if he goes by another name, I've asked his forgiveness for getting it all wrong, and I pray he forgives anyone else in the world who has gotten his name wrong, too.)

Having a lot of the core beliefs that have been given the label "hipster" is not cool or a style. It is an honest search -- at least for me -- from a person in a new generation, one removed from a stagnant church with a false image of itself that couldn't help me when I was down, due to its own moralistic and self-righteous stance. It is a church I haven't necessarily given up on, but I've searched for transforming truth instead of continuing to simply plod on in stagnancy with the group.

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Sheesh. We should all write books that provide convenient social-group-profiling checklists. Whatever you think of this book, it's getting more discussion and press everything I've ever written combined. I'd say a sequel is a done deal.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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I have seen some bitter, entirely unhelpful theological conflict, too (some of which I have sadly been the cause), but I have also known doctrine/theology to be a source of joy, freedom, and growth.

I can get behind that, and I'd add that the general lack of theological literacy at the lay level of congregants--especially the emphasis on apologetics over theology--has helped to enable abuse of christianity over the years. Note though that I'd draw a distinction between "broad-based theological education" and "doctrinal correctness". I'd tend to emphasize the former.

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if you want, I'd be happy to go on cable tonight and simply flip through the channels to find you a lot of folks who have a "strong grasp of theological concepts" that you probably won't admire

That's a cheap dig. My point is and was that theology can be helpful, and has been, at least in my own experience, and in the experiences of others who I think embody much of what the Scriptures mark as praiseworthy, intended as a counterpoint to Andy's emphasis that theological discourse/certitude leads to strife, arrogance, and deceit. I have seen some bitter, entirely unhelpful theological conflict, too (some of which I have sadly been the cause), but I have also known doctrine/theology to be a source of joy, freedom, and growth.

Sorry about that -- I didn't mean it as a cheap dig, not at all. I meant it honestly. We can look at cable and see all kinds of reasons that beliefs are not the answer. It was also a reminder of my point of the two sides of the coin regarding theology and belief -- that, as you say, theology can be helpful, and my point that it hasn't always been, and that I believe the power of a church is found in a body that can get past it. The narrow road that Jesus describes still has more than one person who can walk on it at once.

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Sheesh. We should all write books that provide convenient social-group-profiling checklists. Whatever you think of this book, it's getting more discussion and press everything I've ever written combined. I'd say a sequel is a done deal.

We need to start a new thread: "Stuff Arts & Faith Posters Like."


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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Or "stuff Christian hiccupers like"!

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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A perennial regret of mine, which subsides during the winter but resurfaces especially in spring and fall, is my inability to retain much of the lore and language of trees, specifically those in whose midst I live. Virginia is a fountain of trees. Every so I often I pick up one of my field guides to Eastern trees and try to learn how to differentiate trees on the basis of foliage, bark, etc. And yet beyond a handful of the obvious suspects like the dogwood, which I already knew, whenever I go out tree-hunting I find myself at a loss to make the proper identification. I would like to teach my nephews such matters. And yet what kind of social introduction can I hope to make when I can’t even remember names? I mourn for the lost intimacy that such knowledge brings. No doubt I lack willpower and perseverance.

But there is also the problem of paltry correspondence, which all students face: the store of knowledge I have worked indoors to acquire seems to be utterly transformed when I try to apply it. I find that the words I learn blush a little in the face of an actual tree. The great Howard Nemerov describes the experience in his poem, “Learning the Trees”:

The leaves of a single tree

May differ among themselves more than they do

From other species, so you have to find,

All blandly says the book, “an average leaf.”

Example, the catalpa in the book

Sprays out its leaves in whorls of three

Around the stem; the one in front of you

But rarely does, or somewhat, or almost;

Maybe it’s not catalpa? Dreadful doubt.

It may be weeks before you see an elm

Fanlike in form, a spruce that pyramids,

A sweetgum spiring up in steeple shape.

The object of language always seems to overflow the cup of language. Even so it is possible to learn, pedetemtim, little by little. It is good to name the trees, for in so doing humans reply to our dual vocation of stewardship of nature and of language. To learn the nomenclature is not only to become acquainted with that which is named but to also know and be connected with those who name, with those who learned and taught the names, and with those whom you may teach one day. But ultimately

You may succeed in learning many trees

And calling off their names as you go by,

But their comprehensive silence stays the same.

For me, this experience of blushing at the terminus of knowledge is intensified a hundredfold when it comes to humans: “Man is the creature with a mystery in his heart that is bigger than himself. He is built like a tabernacle around a most sacred mystery” (Hans Urs von Balthasar).

When I attend to any given person with the concentration compelled by this inner mystery, I find that my only viable response is watchful reticence. No matter what I say, the eloquent silence of the mystery of being comprehends me and compels me to listen. It is hard to hear someone’s heartbeat when you are telling them what they are and what’s wrong with them. And yet the practice of attentive silence could be the very way in which the spiritual arrhythmia of our neighbor’s heart becomes apparent to them, where our well-meaning diagnostic monologues would only have obscured. Sometimes surrender is the only way to be heard.

Self-labeling is just as much a problem as the labeling of others. I cringe at the sneering diagnosis of whatever-ism in others; I cringe just as much at efforts to form self-identifying substitutes for the term “Christian” because of the “baggage” some have burdened it with. All I know is if you cut the “baggage” out of the church you will cut me out too. If anyone is baggage, I am. Determining who should be re-classified is not my priority as a dead man.

Scholars have debated what kind of wood might have been used that Friday long ago on Golgotha. I have heard olivewood, cyprus, cedar; there is also the legend of dogwood. But we know that hanging on the wood that hour were three men, two criminals and one innocent. Of that classification we can be certain. Furthermore, the two were both thieves, but one was saved and the other wasn’t. I could spend a thousand years studying the Field Guide to Humans and never begin to comprehend this mysterious taxonomy; my only choice is to live it.

Edited by du Garbandier

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Tche. Leave for 12 hours and there are too many issues to address. I'm not sure where to start. I can think of one thing here. From what has been posted on page 12(!?), it seems that many are willing to trade the perceived bitterness, strife, and self-importance of doctrinal correctness/purity/nuance for the possibly perceived self affirming, self satisfied, and alleged self denial of acting against the right (uh, sorry, maybe the wrong...) issues, behaviors, evil posessions, and corporate interests (as opposed to the corporate and political interests not so offensive to whatever self is the focus of the reflection). This is the same puritanism leveled at behavior, lifestyle, stuff, and purchasing power that is criticized when trained on doctinal nuance, or doctrinal defense, or doctrinal distinctives, or just basic orthodox doctrine. Leave aside the fact that the perception that particular possessions, behavior, lifestyle, or purchasing power are wrong probably flows from particular doctrines themselves even as one wants to lay aside doctrinal consciousness for some standard of right acts and behavior.

I have issues with some of the postures and positions of fellow orthodox Episcopalians crowded into our little corner of a heterodox denomination, but I have to acknowledge one thing that they get right. There's a big reliance on leaving wheat and chaffe issues to God while focusing on what God has laid on one's heart to do and believe and contend for and against. I also have to say that Persona's lament at the top of page 12 reads more like a progressive political lament than any righteous and faith-based lament. And an argument can be made that it is a strawman lament as well. So is all of the sturm and drang of the last 12 pages really about politics in sacred clothing as opposed to any particular way of doing church and worship? Is it all about politics, and seemingly totalitarian politics afterall? It is hard to avoid the totalitarian implications of "saving the world" as opposed to redeeming from sin and changing the hearts of men and women.

Edited by Rich Kennedy

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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My personal opinion is that trying to be cool is largely a white, middle-class phenomenon. It certainly was for my generation - those of us who rebelled (or tried to) came from solidly middle-class families, for the most part.
If that were true, I wouldn't spend half of my day at the lower/lower-middle class urban high school I'm teaching at telling kids to pull up their pants and tuck their shirts in to comply with the uniform policy, only to have then untuck them when they get to the end of the hallway.

Different social classes certainly have different conceptions of "cool", but the overall concept is not just a white middle class preoccupation.


Scott -- 2nd Story -- Twitter

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Like Rich said, too much here to address at the moment, and I came here to read about Stalker... Just to respond to e2c's comment though, I've been to different churches in over twenty countries, but yes, here we've been talking about a specific kind of culture and a type of church that I'm apparently a part of in my own country. So that's what my responses have been limited to here.

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Again, I believe my own generation - white middle-class Baby Boomers (I'm kind of late on that curve, but still on it) - was able to rebel against what we perceived to be wrongs in the social order precisely because we had a fair amount of economic freedom/stability + the money to buy things (or to create things) that made us, in our own eyes, "cool." (The right music, the right clothes, etc.)

I think that too much has been made of this. The previous generation rebelled too, but it wasn't as large and didn't have the spending power. Those last characteristics had more to do with the effect boomers had than mere rebellion and criticism of straight society. Size and wealth have, I believe perverted the picture. Ordinarily it would be youth putting off what their parents have and believe and the parents eternally wondering about the state of the world after they leave it. Old story.

Edited by Rich Kennedy

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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I'm carrying over this quote from the other thread (Hipsters and the A&F Top 100)....

I confess, I'm a bit perplexed by both the idea of "Christian Hipsters" and a bit by the outrage of it becoming a "label." David Dunham sums up my thoughts nicely in his review of McCracken's book:

My contention with all of this is that it is so broad, and takes so little consideration of major distinguishing features, that it seems little more than humorous, and that’s how most of the book feels. McCracken is witty and sarcastic, even sardonic, at times. I laughed out loud, even when I hated feeling like he had pegged me in one of his categories. But the reality is that he has pegged just about everyone I know in one of his categories. If you like ancient religious practices with a bent towards Eastern Orthodox worship you’re a hipster. If you like high technological usage, like tweeting during the sermon, then you’re a hipster…and seemingly everything in between. If you’re a yuppie or a starving artist you’re a hipster. If you’re a Calvinist or an Emergent you’re a hipster. And this all just seems like nonsense after a while.

Thanks for that link, Darryl. Sounds like Dunham is having some of the same frustrations I'm having with the Christianity Today package on this subject:

By the end of the book McCracken has summed up his own uncertainty with the startling realization that some Christian Hipsters are all about style and earning “cool points,” while others are actually legitimately interested in enjoying God’s creation and finding real truth, beauty, and aesthetic quality in the world He has made. Some churches are cool and some are trying too hard. “Cool” as rebellion is unacceptable to Christianity, “cool” as authentic counterculture is Biblical. All in all McCracken could have said this rather obvious statement in far fewer pages and with far less confusion.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Thanks for that link, Darryl. Sounds like Dunham is having some of the same frustrations I'm having with the Christianity Today package on this subject:

By the end of the book McCracken has summed up his own uncertainty with the startling realization that some Christian Hipsters are all about style and earning “cool points,” while others are actually legitimately interested in enjoying God’s creation and finding real truth, beauty, and aesthetic quality in the world He has made. Some churches are cool and some are trying too hard. “Cool” as rebellion is unacceptable to Christianity, “cool” as authentic counterculture is Biblical. All in all McCracken could have said this rather obvious statement in far fewer pages and with far less confusion.

And thanks to e2c for pointing me to this thread (17 pages by my settings!). After skimming, I think I'm understanding more of the frustration here. But it's all still kind of a "shrug" to me - maybe that's because I scored a 91 on the quiz. I'm more of a hipster than ya'll.

But in all seriousness, I'm still not sure I get why analyzing "Hipster Christianity" is particularly useful, nor do I think getting overly worked up over rebutting it helps move the conversation to any useful place.

By all means, let's set aside what is "cool" and talk about what is real (it's nice to see some of that in this thread).


"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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