Hipster Christianity

hipster christianity - brett mccrackenI’ll admit up front, my respect for Brett McCracken is growing quickly. After reading his answers to my interview with him, and having just finished his first book, Hipster Christianity (due out August 1st), I’ve realized that this is a guy who is a remarkably challenging voice for Christians and the Church. He avoids relying on “shock and awe” to communicate, he speaks from a position unabashedly sold out to Christ and His Church, and he articulates himself well.

In this book he asks the question if Christianity should be cool. As part of the Church, what is our role in making it cooler or abandoning it as simply uncool?

I’ve read his book in just a few days. I knew it would be good when he started his introduction with a C.S. Lewis quote. Brett speaks for my generation with insights that I’ve rarely seen communicated so efficiently and accurately, but he also tackles the tough questions that I continue to wrestle with. This is probably the best book about making sense of the Church in America that I’ve seen. Because of his position as managing editor of Biola Magazine, and probably because of his love of reading, you feel like you are reading twenty books by simply reading his. He does a great job of bringing other voices into the discussion and giving his opinion on how to make sense of it all.

Here are a few quotes from the book that stood out to me:

“And looking back, this only proves to me just how instinctual and natural the drive for cool is in humanity. We want recognition and elite status; we want to occupy places of invidious distinction. Quite simply: we want to be the people everyone else wants to be.”

“If, as I argued earlier, the desire to be cool stems from the desire to be free, then America was ripe for a hip revolution. Nowhere has the desire for freedom–for unshackled, self-made sovereignty–been stronger. We are indeed the country that was born to be hip.”

“We should simply focus on our craft, on making the best art we can. We should understand that people will and should resonate with our work not because it is Christian but because it is good. Above all, Christians should make good art, true art; art unafraid of exploring mystery, portraying evil, and looking for truth wherever it appears. Which is exactly what the best secular artists are doing.”

“The church is not our creation; it is prior to creation. We must have confidence that we are the body of Christ and not just some transitory means to an end. We are the end.”

“True relevance, for example, does not fear unpopularity. Because it clings to eternal truths, relevant Christianity doesn’t feel hurt when people don’t smile and nod affirmingly at everything it says. It doesn’t flinch when accused of being ‘out of the loop’ or ‘behind the times.’ Accusing something eternal of being behind the times is, of course, laughable.”

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Jeremy Jernigan

This is the personal blog of Jeremy Jernigan. Husband to Michelle and father to Gavin, Madsen, Adelyn, Aiden, and Abel. Author of Redeeming Pleasure and Lead Pastor at Abundant Life Church in Portland.

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