Review Of Hipster Christianity/Brett McCracken

I have yet to read Hipster Christianity by Brett McCracken, I have it on my “to read” shelf, with a couple hundred other books. This review by James Smith from Mars Hill Grad School (not associated with Mars Hill Church), is more of a review of the author and does not hold back.

Here is an excerpt:

When I was a teenager, I was religiously devoted to freestyle BMX: flatland, street, vert, all of it. It was my first real experience of something like a spiritual discipline. Every spare moment was spent on my bike; even in long Canadian winters, I carved out a space in our basement to keep riding. I custom-built a bike from select components, studied all the magazines, constructed my own quarter-pipe in the backyard, even published a zine for the emerging community of riders in my town. In my senior yearbook, my photo was accompanied by a cheesy maxim lifted from a Harley-Davidson ad: “I live to ride. For those who understand, no explanation is necessary. For those who don’t, no explanation is possible.”

For the small tribe of religiously devoted BMX freestylers, for whom riding was a way of life, there was nothing more grating or irritating than an even larger tribe that grew up around us: the tribe of posers—that band of kids who were taken more with the accessories than the experience. The posers were the group of rich kids who had all the best equipment, wore the latest shoes, sported the latest styles, and then generally spent their time sitting on the sidelines while the rest of us actually rode our bikes. They would scramble their bikes to the top of the ramp, but never actually drop in for a round. They’d be using all the right lingo on the deck of the pool, but never inch over the coping. They’d mull around the parking lot talking a big game, but never actually ride. They didn’t really want to ride; they were just after a look, an identity by association.

I invoke this scene because I think poser is a relevant, important term missing from Brett McCracken’s lexicon in Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide. And in very important ways, McCracken’s project is lexical. He spends several preparatory chapters amassing a catalog of terms that will be regularly used in the book: cool, hip, trendy, fashionable, relevant, savvy, stylish, even “supercool.” But because this lexicon doesn’t include poser, McCracken’s analysis ends up being reductionistic: he thinks anyone who looks like a “hipster” is really just trying to be “cool.” This, I think, tells us more about Mr. McCracken than it does about so-called hipster Christianity.

Read the rest here–>The Other Journal at Mars Hill Graduate School.

Props-Matt Chandler via Twitter

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