Can Church Be Hip?


by Chris Bodenner

Nicole Greenfield reviews Hipster Christianity:

For [author Brett] McCracken, there are two types of hip churches, two types of hipster Christians: the natural and the marketed, the authentic and the wannabe. Both Resurrection and its leader fall squarely into the former categories. And after presenting a brief history of the evolution of cool and proffering definitions of key termsthe hipster, for example, is defined in a remarkably vague way as “fashionable, young, independent-minded contrarian”McCracken explores both sides, glorifying the likes of [pastor Vito] Aiuto and Resurrection and criticizing the wannabes, somewhat playfully, for trying too hard, for “bending over backward to meet the culture where it’s at,” for being too high-tech, too shocking, too “rebellious.”

But in part three of Hipster Christianity, McCracken, a self-described “hipster Christian,” adopts a different tone altogether, a tone decidedly more Christian than hipster, lashing out at culture, at “the outside,” at cool itself, for thrusting Christianity into “an identity crisis unrivaled in the history of the faith.” Christianity and cool are at odds, he argues, irreconcilable forces that, when engaged with each other, breed narcissism, incite recklessness, and encourage deviation from faith.

In my experience, especially living in Brooklyn, hipsters can be just as conformist and fundamentalist as Christians. Illustrative guide here. And of course this.

(Photo: Guerrilla graffiti artist Banksy makes his mark in Salt Lake City.)