Insider twentysomething Christian journalist Brett McCracken has grown up in the evangelical Christian subculture and observed the recent shift away from the "stained glass and steeples" old guard of traditional Christianity to a more unorthodox, stylized 21st-century church. This change raises a big issue for the church in our postmodern world: the question of cool. The question is whether or not Christianity can be, should be, or is, in fact, cool. This probing book is about an emerging category of Christians McCracken calls "Christian hipsters"--the unlikely fusion of the American obsessions with worldly "cool" and otherworldly religion--an analysis of what they're about, why they exist, and what it all means for Christianity and the church's relevancy and hipness in today's youth-oriented culture.
Brett McCracken is a graduate of Wheaton College and UCLA. His day job is managing editor for Biola University's Biola magazine. He regularly writes movie reviews and features for Christianity Today, as well as contributing frequently to Relevant magazine. He comments on movies, media, and popular culture issues at his blog, The Search, http://stillsearching.wordpress.com/. He lives in Los Angeles.
Being hip is about valuing independence, freedom, and reinvention. But when evangelical Christian culture adopts hip's rebellious nature, what happens to the message of the institutional church? In his book debut, magazine editor McCracken steps outside of his own hip subculture to question whether the quest to be hip is "turning Christianity into a shape-shifting chameleon with ever-diminishing ecclesiological confidence and cultural legitimacy." This critical analysis reads like a sociological study aimed at evaluating a demographic segment of churchgoers. From the Jesus People of the 1960s to the Missional Church movement of today, McCracken demonstrates how hip came to collide with the values of the church. By bowing to trends in order to reach youth, Christianity may be sacrificing content and authenticity. McCracken's analysis isn't wholly scientific and unbiased; with lists like the "12 common types of hipsters" and an appreciation of pop culture, he may unintentionally fuel the very subculture he's attempting to question. Yet his "gut check" offers a much needed perspective that will make Christian leaders question the direction of their postmodern undertakings. McCracken successfully sets the stage for an important debate. (Aug.)Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.