Jesus in Skinny Jeans
Thank you for Brett McCracken's article describing "Hipster Faith" [September]. My husband and I are 30-somethings who have attended hipster churches in three states. Now that we have children, we long for the simpler days of Adventures in Odyssey and flannel graphs. Instead, we find our children glued to TV screens in their Sunday school classes, with gluten-free snacks but nobody who knows their names. And while the worship music is rocking, the preaching is surface level, primarily aimed at meeting emotional needs.
Hipster churches have their place and were great for us for a time. But eventually the hipster grows up. Then what?
McCracken needed to acknowledge the difference between "cool" Christianity and contextualized Christianity. Cool Christianity will sacrifice the gospel in order to gain the world's acceptance. The desire to please man rather than God began long before the 1960s.
In contrast, contextualized Christianity will adopt cultural expressions of its surrounding community. Few critiqued Hudson Taylor for adopting Chinese customs or Adoniram Judson for assuming Burmese dress. In this sense, some hipster believers are not forsaking the gospel—though they are forsaking a few sacred cows of former generations.
The issue is not beards and beers. Of course the pastor living in a wealthy urban community will not wear camouflage and drive a two-ton flatbed any more than a pastor living in Appalachia will sacrifice these necessities. The issue is whether Christ is preached.
The article on hipster Christians was a wake-up call for people like me. I don't want to make people wonder what I am. Christ wasn't nearly as mysterious as we like to try to be. Confounding, yes, but he said who he was, ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more