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4 Stars Out Of 5
Makes you think
January 7, 2013
This book is good. However, it is not a light read. If you are interested in reading something that is just a good story, this isn't the book for you. But if you are looking to think about what you read and can take time to digest each chapter, then this is a book you will love.
Thoughtful, balanced, articulate, nuanced, and surprisingly academic, though not pedantic. Filled with humor and insight, credibly critiqued by an "insider." If you can't stand the thought of any adjustment of your theological understanding and practice, then don't read.
"Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide" is a critical analysis of a segment of Christendom today that prefer to be called followers of Christ rather than born again Christians. Journalist Bret Mccracken defines in detail the terminology and history of being cool, hip, hipsters, and hip Christianity.
He goes on to describe "Hipster Christianity" in practice. Mccracken explores Christian identity. Who we are as Christians, our identity in Christ, and how the world perceives us.
Throughout the book Mccracken asks probing questions which we need to address as individuals. He has done his research and has an amazing insight into contemporary music, art, and literature. He also has a depth of understanding of the missional church, the emerging church, the hipster church, evangelicalism, reformed doctrine, and Calvinism.
I appreciated Mccracken's sensitivity to the importance of authenticity of a loving, holy, community of Christ followers, a reminder that "The Church" is the "Body of Christ" eternal and unchanging made up of imperfect individuals designed to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.
Youd think buying a book called Hipster Christianity would dial you in to the whats-what and help you comb your faux hawk just right. Sadly this is not that book. Brett McCrackens book is more of a tale and less a guide.Brett writes with a touch of wit and wry sarcasm, and he drops named like Dennis Miller on speed. But again, I warn you, dont buy this book if youre in a dying church and youre hoping to steal some cool-points and rev up your congregation. This is not a how-to book.And while you may shun the hipster title and decide that neither church nor Christians need be relevant or cool you may also find yourself (or your church) described within Bretts book (unless youre over 50).Brett says the reason he wrote the book was because he loves the church. I want to see her thrive, expand and be all that she can be for the world. I want to see the cause of Christ advanced and not muddled up. And this topic the relationship of the church to the notion of cool strikes me as a vitally important issue that needs to be addressed with tenderness, nuance and when appropriate constructive rebuke. (page 13)Is Christianity cool? What you might think was a promotion for hipster Christianity, Brett surprisingly warns againstI think the Christian hipster lifestyle has become far too accommodating and accepting of sin, something that should actually shock and disturb us. If its uncool to draw lines about what behavior is permissible and prudent for the Christian, then Christians should start getting used to the idea of being uncool. (page 200)But thats just the thing with defining cool isnt it? What is so uncool today, becomes cool tomorrow only to one day become uncool again.