First off, here is a Christian Hipster quiz that most protestant Christians (or formerly-know-as) will very much enjoy. I took the quiz a few times trying to get lots of different scores. Then I did some investigating of the book on Amazon, read some of the reviews, etc, trying to get a feel for exactly what this is about, and if I am indeed a “Christian Hipster”. In addition to all this, I was also given a link to “stuff Christians like: secretly being liberal“. Anyway, here are some of the hipster quotients that I have managed to gather from my research. My Personal quotient probably falls on the higher range (80-100). I find them to be quite accurate:
20/120: Laggard. You hardly even register on the CHQ scale. But fear not: This is not necessarily a negative thing. Your Christian faith is refreshingly independent of zeitgeisty movements, styles, and reinventions.
60/120: Low CHQ. You probably belong to the purpose-driven, seeker-sensitive, Hawaiian shirt-wearing Christian establishment, even though you are open to some of the “rethinking Christianity” stuff. You seem to like edginess in some measure but become uneasy when your idea of Christian orthodoxy is challenged by some renegade young visionary who claims the virgin birth isn’t necessary.
83/120: 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.
100/120: Extremely High CHQ. Congratulations! You are a grade A, Sufjan-caliber Christian hipster! You probably like Thomas Merton, hookah, and lectio divina. You’re not above self-critique and meta theory, and thus should definitely read Hipster Christianity.
So, there we have it: a little range of how cool of a Christian are you. I say “how cool” because, apparently, that is what this book “Hipster Christianity” is about: Christianity and being cool. Maybe I am watering it down a bit, the book hasn’t even come out yet, but I think I agree with the basic idea: Christianity should not be cool as a means to appealing to/manipulating the masses. Agreed. Additionally, people should not jump on a band-wagon of ideologies without doing research, reading, studying etc… (Welcome to Christianity?) I am pretty sure that most Christian theology students will score high on this, regardless of their fashion (even though grad students, in general, are pretty hipster-ish, just go to Allston, Ma).
Now I might be skipping ahead here, but this book, and understanding “coolness” leads to an eschatological question, “What exactly are Christians striving for?” Because, if we are striving for everyone to be saved, then at one point or another, we HOPE that everyone in the world is Christian (in one sense or another), and therefore, everyone is “cool” per say. But if that is “hopeless”, then we (as Christians) probably assume that the world is all going to go to hell, and eventually, there will be no Christians to make or be made. I know, this all sounds rather abstract, but I am actually functioning on a few Scripture points:
Jesus’ prayer for unity in John 17:20-23. Here Jesus prays that all believers would be unified in God… Can be interpreted in many way, but I would like to think that this prayer is non-exclusive, and as far as I can see, Christians are not unified–is God never going to answer the prayer God prayed? I hope not…
Then another confusing passage Matthew 24:36-44, there is no way to know when the “Son of Man” returns. If you assume this passage is about the return of Jesus, and you believe NO ONE KNOWS and NO ONE CAN GUESS and NO ONE CAN EXPECT… Then Jesus is not going to be coming for a while… Sure we don’t know the exact millisecond, but if I say now, “Jesus is definitely coming tomorrow.” Jesus will definitely not come tomorrow, because then the Bible would be wrong! (Or maybe just the way many people understand the Bible…) So when in the world would such a time be? Either a time when no one knows Jesus at all and does not expect it, or a time when everything is perfect and no no one worries about it, or maybe now? But I just called it, so it can never happen…
Do the last three paragraphs make ANY sense?
Anyway, it looks like we have a nice piece of pop christian literature that I will probably read in Barnes & Noble before deciding whether it is worthy to buy (and THAT is living ascetically). What’s funny is that the book is a problem in itself: it is a pop culture christian book for pop culture christians… So, again, we are all buying into the hype… including the author who critiques the hype.