Jump to content


Photo

Hipster Christianity


  • Please log in to reply
471 replies to this topic

#61 MattPage

MattPage

    Bible Films Geek.

  • Member
  • 4,194 posts

Posted 18 August 2010 - 10:04 AM

As always there are numerous questions where none of the answers suit me. But I still get 76? Gutted.

Matt

Edited by MattPage, 18 August 2010 - 10:05 AM.


#62 Overstreet

Overstreet

    Sometimes, there's a man.

  • Member
  • 17,280 posts

Posted 18 August 2010 - 05:51 PM

The NY Times says the word "hipster" is over.

...with so many appearances, I’m not sure how precise a meaning it conveys. It may still be useful occasionally, but let’s look for alternatives and try to give it some rest.


Edited by Overstreet, 18 August 2010 - 05:52 PM.


#63 Peter T Chattaway

Peter T Chattaway

    He's fictional, but you can't have everything.

  • Member
  • 29,808 posts

Posted 18 August 2010 - 09:34 PM

So McCracken's book about hipster Christianity is, itself, yet another example of Christendom cashing in on a trend just as the outside world has had its fill of it? :)

In other news, there's this blog post at Killing the Buddha:

If you didn’t get enough Jay Bakker from Joseph Huff-Hannon’s “Happy Hour Gospel” last week, be sure to check out our friend Nicole Greenfield’s new essay at Religion Dispatches: “Cooler than Thou: Will Hipsters Wreck Christianity?” . . .

In other hipster-y news, there’s a pretty lively discussion happening on our Facebook page right now about the following: “True or false: Until rather recently, calling yourself an atheist was something like calling yourself, today, a ‘hipster’; you may have been, but you wouldn’t admit it, either to yourself or to anyone else.” Inevitably, it has turned into a bit of a food-fight in the atheism wars.

Shades of Life of Brian: "Only the true hipster denies his hipsterness!"

#64 Holy Moly!

Holy Moly!

    Member

  • Member
  • 881 posts

Posted 18 August 2010 - 10:40 PM

Another very egregious oversight of that editorial is locating the "emerging" and "emergent" church in a desire to be hip or cool. That is very poor legwork. Like it or not, the emerging church is actually the evangelical manifestation of some very serious theological reformation that had until then gone on in academic and mainline protestant circles. The Emerging Church simply has the reputation of being on of the worst appropriations of these contemporary currents.

The emerging church is thus somewhat different from the "evangelical subculture's efforts to be marketable and cutting-edge back in the '70s and '80s." (quoting PTC) But even then, it is arguable that hippie movements in the evangelical fringes in the 70s were more a result of the blossoming of protestant liberalism as described by Tillich and others than it was a desire "to be cool." Even then, many of those movements were intensely political in the Sermon on the Mount sense, and presaged the recent resurgence of interest in Anabaptism as a more ethical or just form of Christian faith and practice.

In short, we need a good rebuttal editorial.


Well, this WSJ piece confirms McCracken doesn't have room for the possibility that there's anything fundamentally askew about evangelical theology as it currently exists in the USA. He's dismissive of any attempt to reinvigorate social justice traditions in Christianity precisely because it's at odds with his political paradigm. He has no interest in actually listening to what people's concerns are. Woe to those who take this guy's analysis seriously!

Edited by Holy Moly!, 18 August 2010 - 10:59 PM.


#65 M. Leary

M. Leary

    Member

  • Member
  • 5,474 posts

Posted 20 August 2010 - 09:56 AM

Oh boy, a real heavyweight on all things evangelical weighs in on what he has declared the "McCrackenverse":

Wait, wait. We're talking about books … that prove what? Every workday, new books written by evangelicals (or writers with a strong affinity for evangelicals, whether or not they self-identify as such) appear on my desk. These books take up an enormous range of subjects. A few of them, yes, are about sex. And this is supposed to be evidence for some striking trend? (I wonder whatever happened to my copy of Total Woman.) By the way, why are these two books in particular said to be representative of the frantic, ill-conceived "plan" to keep young people in the fold? As I read them, Bell's and Winner's books are both deeply informed by Scripture and grounded in the life of the church.

Where is McCracken going with all this? What insight is he leading up to? This:

If the evangelical Christian leadership [there they are again, that mysterious mafia!] thinks that "cool Christianity" is a sustainable path forward, they are severely mistaken. As a twentysomething, I can say with confidence that when it comes to church, we don't want cool as much as we want real.

"We want real": The combination of pretension and naïveté in this declaration is stunning, but it is par for the course, so to speak, in the McCrackenverse.


And this sentiment has been expressed repeatedly in this section at A&F over the years. What is the ticket price for a trip through the McCrackenverse? A total loss of historical consciousness.

Edited by M. Leary, 20 August 2010 - 10:01 AM.


#66 techne

techne

    Member

  • Member
  • 384 posts

Posted 20 August 2010 - 11:50 AM

Your Christian Hipster Quotient: 71 / 120
High CHQ. You are a pretty progressive, stylish, hipster-leaning Christian, even while you could easily feel at home in a decidedly un-hip non-denominational church. You are conservative on some issues and liberal on others, and sometimes you grow weary of trendy "alt-Christianity." But make no mistake: You are a Christian hipster to at least some degree.

and, ouch: http://www.hipsterch...com/anatomy.php

#67 Andy Whitman

Andy Whitman

    Member

  • Member
  • 3,238 posts

Posted 20 August 2010 - 12:19 PM


Your Christian Hipster Quotient: 71 / 120
High CHQ. You are a pretty progressive, stylish, hipster-leaning Christian, even while you could easily feel at home in a decidedly un-hip non-denominational church. You are conservative on some issues and liberal on others, and sometimes you grow weary of trendy "alt-Christianity." But make no mistake: You are a Christian hipster to at least some degree.

and, ouch: http://www.hipsterch...com/anatomy.php

fwiw, i got 79/120, with the same description as you.

I *love* those "Anatomy" pics and commentary - hilarious! (I can see myself in all of them, really, though probably most in the bookish intellectual and arty types. :))

I scored a 79 as well. I am inconsolable. Shouldn't a hearing aid count for points off? Where was the hearing aid question?

#68 Peter T Chattaway

Peter T Chattaway

    He's fictional, but you can't have everything.

  • Member
  • 29,808 posts

Posted 20 August 2010 - 01:47 PM

e2c wrote:

: I still believe that his take on marketing is on the money (pun intended). He was talking about the titles of those books, about how their respective publishers are using the titles to shock, or titillate (maybe). So... I think, on that level, that it's not at all unfair to compare them to some of Mark Driscoll's more explicit (and, imo, *very* poorly presented) sex sermons.
:
: Do I think Winner's book is anything like Driscoll's sex rants? Of course not! (for one thing, she's very tasteful...)

Like I say, I haven't read Winner's book, but I think it would be fair to say that there was a "shock tactic" element to the Beliefnet article of hers that, on some level at least, eventually led to that book. The article certainly sent shock waves of a sort through the evangelical punditry of that time. (Rather than link to the original articles, I'll link to this piece from five years later, in which one of Winner's former critics describes her subsequent change of mind and their eventual reconciliation. Oh, and I see that Winner's website itself quotes the Real Sex press release to the effect that she is a "new breed of public intellectual: young, hip, and vocal about her Christian beliefs". Would being "hip" automatically make her a "hipster", or is some other special ingredient required?)

#69 Overstreet

Overstreet

    Sometimes, there's a man.

  • Member
  • 17,280 posts

Posted 20 August 2010 - 02:26 PM

Jesus said shocking things all the time. Hipster. Shameful, that he would be young, intellectual, and stoop to trying to be cool with raw, controversial words, instead of giving people what was real.

And what about that Apostle Paul, quoting the popular poetry of the day just to draw people toward the truth? Heck, today he might lead a discussion of No Country for Old Men. Embarrassing.

Okay, that's snarky. But I guess I'm just not seeing the problem with speaking in a striking, new, challenging way that connects with the important concerns of one's culture.

Now, if somebody's acting like, say, the principal in Saved - who in a spectacularly awkward way is trying to co-opt young people's lingo in a way that is false and self-serving - that's something else. But what is shocking about Lauren Winner is that she's blunt and unnervingly confessional in her writing and speaking. She just gave a lecture at the Glen Workshop drawing from her upcoming book about her divorce, her heartbreak, her failures, and the incredibly mean-spirited behavior of Christians around her through that ordeal. It was the farthest thing from an attempt to be cool. It was a meaningful confession and a revealing testimony.

But she has those funky horn-rimmed glasses. Hipster.

Edited by Overstreet, 20 August 2010 - 02:38 PM.


#70 M. Leary

M. Leary

    Member

  • Member
  • 5,474 posts

Posted 20 August 2010 - 03:10 PM

And what about that Apostle Paul, quoting the popular poetry of the day just to draw people toward the truth? Heck, today he might lead a discussion of No Country for Old Men. Embarrassing.


Given that Brett leads film discussion groups, I am not sure this is something he has a problem with.

But it is hard to tell, isn't it? Because this book is confusing. No, that isn't correct. This book is confused. And this may not be Brett's fault, as his book seems to be a standard product of the confusion inherent to evangelicalism's attempt to both remain faithful to the big ETS Two and adapt to culture at the same time. The Evangelical identity has always been marked by this confusing tension. (Which is not a bad thing, I don't think that struggling to maintain two seemingly irreconcilable ideals at the same time is something to be criticized.) I think the pretension that Wilson correctly identifies comes from neglecting the fact that this confusion is the very essence of evangelicalism.

An honest evangelicalism would always preface itself with something like: "Dear reader, due to our ongoing attempt at being a via media between fundamentalism and mid-century Protestant liberalism, any ecclesial introspection or cultural criticism we produce is only provisional. It is subject to the historical process by which we are forced to identify ourselves relative to the conservative and liberal excesses we struggle to avoid - and that are themselves constantly changing."

Edited by M. Leary, 20 August 2010 - 03:11 PM.


#71 techne

techne

    Member

  • Member
  • 384 posts

Posted 20 August 2010 - 03:16 PM


Your Christian Hipster Quotient: 71 / 120
High CHQ. You are a pretty progressive, stylish, hipster-leaning Christian, even while you could easily feel at home in a decidedly un-hip non-denominational church. You are conservative on some issues and liberal on others, and sometimes you grow weary of trendy "alt-Christianity." But make no mistake: You are a Christian hipster to at least some degree.

and, ouch: http://www.hipsterch...com/anatomy.php

fwiw, i got 79/120, with the same description as you.

I *love* those "Anatomy" pics and commentary - hilarious! (I can see myself in all of them, really, though probably most in the bookish intellectual and arty types. :))

i'm curious as to how one would need to answer in order to get a perfect score -- i'm going to try... ::w00t::

#72 Peter T Chattaway

Peter T Chattaway

    He's fictional, but you can't have everything.

  • Member
  • 29,808 posts

Posted 20 August 2010 - 04:38 PM

Overstreet wrote:
: Jesus said shocking things all the time.

But did he say, "I'm living in sin and so are a lot of my fellow Jews and you guys just have to deal with it"? Because that IS, more or less, what Winner's original Beliefnet article said. Apparently Winner came to regret that article by the time her book came out a few years later -- hence the reconciliation article written by one of her more high-profile former critics -- but, still, a few years is only a few years. On the one hand, it was inevitable that people would link the book and the article as points on a trajectory (and very close points, at that), and on the other hand, the casual observer can't help but wonder how much of the impetus to shock that lay behind the original article might still be present in the book.

: She just gave a lecture at the Glen Workshop drawing from her upcoming book about her divorce, her heartbreak, her failures, and the incredibly mean-spirited behavior of Christians around her through that ordeal.

Wow, sorry to hear about that.

M. Leary wrote:
: But it is hard to tell, isn't it? Because this book is confusing. No, that isn't correct. This book is confused. And this may not be Brett's fault, as his book seems to be a standard product of the confusion inherent to evangelicalism's attempt to both remain faithful to the big ETS Two and adapt to culture at the same time. The Evangelical identity has always been marked by this confusing tension. (Which is not a bad thing, I don't think that struggling to maintain two seemingly irreconcilable ideals at the same time is something to be criticized.) I think the pretension that Wilson correctly identifies comes from neglecting the fact that this confusion is the very essence of evangelicalism.

Interesting.

: An honest evangelicalism would always preface itself with something like: "Dear reader, due to our ongoing attempt at being a via media between fundamentalism and mid-century Protestant liberalism, any ecclesial introspection or cultural criticism we produce is only provisional. It is subject to the historical process by which we are forced to identify ourselves relative to the conservative and liberal excesses we struggle to avoid - and that are themselves constantly changing."

Oh gosh, this reminds me of something I said recently -- in one of the other A&F threads, I think? -- about politicians who insist that they are in "the centre" between two extremes, as though the centre were not always moving this way and that depending on how the extremes tug at it.

#73 Holy Moly!

Holy Moly!

    Member

  • Member
  • 881 posts

Posted 20 August 2010 - 05:32 PM

"The combination of pretension and naïveté in this declaration is stunning, but it is par for the course, so to speak, in the McCrackenverse."

Brutal, but spot on. "We want real" sounds so much like Cameron Strang!

#74 Peter T Chattaway

Peter T Chattaway

    He's fictional, but you can't have everything.

  • Member
  • 29,808 posts

Posted 20 August 2010 - 09:23 PM

e2c wrote:
: I dunno; I just don't see any criticism of either Winner or Bell as authors (or as people, for that matter) in the piece.

Agreed. I think it also bears mentioning that "hipster" is not necessarily a pejorative term here; it is merely descriptive. If McCracken DID think "hipster" was an insult, he presumably wouldn't be applying the term to HIMSELF. But he does, so there you go.

#75 M. Leary

M. Leary

    Member

  • Member
  • 5,474 posts

Posted 20 August 2010 - 10:03 PM

I don't see anything in McCracken's piece saying that Winner herself is shocking. he seems to be after the sales and marketing people who come up with "provocative" titles like Sex God.


I think focusing on this misses the point. This is one thread of a number of arguments in the book that John Wilson is particularly (probably more than anyone I can think of) adept at critiquing. One key feature of bad sociology is a reliance on cumulative arguments to validate sweeping generalizations about a given people group. Hipster Christianity abounds with this kind of reasoning, and Wilson just plucked at one of the threads.

Edited by M. Leary, 21 August 2010 - 07:52 AM.


#76 Overstreet

Overstreet

    Sometimes, there's a man.

  • Member
  • 17,280 posts

Posted 21 August 2010 - 11:05 AM

"Wilson" is John Wilson, editor of Books and Culture. M. Leary linked to his review in this post.

Note: While that review is in Books and Culture, a Christianity Today publication, Christianity Today's next cover story is an excerpt from McCracken's book. CT is an interesting tree with many branches.

Edited by Overstreet, 22 August 2010 - 03:39 PM.


#77 Overstreet

Overstreet

    Sometimes, there's a man.

  • Member
  • 17,280 posts

Posted 21 August 2010 - 02:35 PM

Weird. I think I've fixed it (even though I did the the same thing I thought I did last time).

#78 Rich Kennedy

Rich Kennedy

    Striking a balance between the cerebral and six month old puppy

  • Moderator
  • 2,543 posts

Posted 21 August 2010 - 03:43 PM

Driscoll is listed under the "band/artist" category.

MARK Driscoll? I'm tempted to wonder if the Facebook page is trumpeter Phil Driscoll's by mistake.

#79 Holy Moly!

Holy Moly!

    Member

  • Member
  • 881 posts

Posted 21 August 2010 - 08:34 PM

McCracken's only "legit" points are incomplete to the point of uselessness because he hasn't got any clear sense of historical consciousness about about where the phenomema he's observing come from or what they mean.

The focus on sex is not because it's "shocking" but because of the mandates of the countercultural idea which identify evangelicalism with old, outmoded ideas about sex. Thus there's a market both for apologetics defending prevailing views, as well as books that challenge these views.

Of course critiques of overly puritan views of sexuality are nothing new--they've been happening from within Christianity and outside of Christianity for at least a century, right?

Edited by Holy Moly!, 22 August 2010 - 03:56 PM.


#80 Rich Kennedy

Rich Kennedy

    Striking a balance between the cerebral and six month old puppy

  • Moderator
  • 2,543 posts

Posted 22 August 2010 - 05:15 AM

Of course critiques of overly puritan views of sexuality are nothing new--they've been happening from within Christianity and outside of Christianity for at least a century, right?

Sex being sex, objections to Christian views of sex have always beenwith us.