Excellent article in this month’s Christianity Today by Brett McCracken entitled “Hipster Faith.” I’d recommend you all who are interested in the current trends in Christian circles stop down and read.
But two things in the article are worth commenting on…
The first is that in a special section they talk about movements in American Christian circles in the past and the good and bad things that stuck around after the movements left. Like The Jesus Movement went from 1965 to 1972 and gave us improved Christian music and a “Christian Counterculture” but left us with 4 decades of “worship wars.”
What’s interesting is that they said the Emergent Church movement lived from 1997 and DIED in 2009. You were so young, EC. We hardly knew ye. Anyway, it said the good that they gave us was a “healthy skepticism of overdependence on propositional truth claims.” Said the bad they gave us was lots of propositions about truth. Nice.
So, many of us who got tired of the discussion are glad to know that it’s been given the last rites…even if they did give us several notices of ways the church could do a better job of serving the younger generation.
Anyway, it says the next movement is the Hipster Church. And here’s a quote from McCracken that gives you a good flavor of what the article is about:
“As a result [of the Church’s desire to be contemporary, relevant and current], evangelicalism in the ’90s had a firmly established youth culture, built on the infrastructure of a lucrative Christian retail industry and commercial subculture. Huge Christian rock festivals, Lord’s Gym t-shirts, WWJD bracelets, Left Behind, and so forth. It was big business. It was corporate. It was schlocky kitsch. And it was begging to be rebelled against.
Enter the age of the Christian hipster. As the 90s gave way to the 2000s, young evangelicals reared in the ostentatious Je$us subculture to rebel. They sought a more intellectual faith, one that didn’t reject outright the culture, ideas, and art of the secular world. In typical hipster fashon, they rejected the corporate mentality of the purpose-driven megachurch and McMansion evangelicalism, and longer for a simpler, back-to-basics faith that was more about serving the poor than serving Starbucks in the church vestibule.”
The article goes on to discuss how they favor “centuries old hymns against contemporary praise choruses” and pay attention to “social justice, environmentalism, and the arts.” They also “appreciate the detail and artistry of creative, well-crafted films, music, books, and woodwork. They take the arts seriously and recognize their crucial part in human flourishing.” They also enjoy “re-discovering ancient liturgy and hymns.”
There are some things the author sets forth that I’m not sure I agree with…but I’d encourage you to check out the article and contribute to the conversation here. Very interesting stuff.