While involved in my church search, I have noticed a trend in how young adult Christians dress, worship, pray, etc. You know the type, twenty-somethings with slicked-back hair; plaid shirts; almost-maybe-too-skinny jeans, possibly held up with suspenders; thick-framed glasses; thickest beard they can muster (Editor’s note: The beard is only for the men, of course. If you see a female hipster with a beard, then you’ve misidentified–that would be a stylish Sasquatch). It’s a style that I love to see, but would never wear myself. Until I read the following blog post, I hadn’t thought about how this new Christian stereotype may cause insecurities or problems for those who don’t embody this particular style. Let’s see what you think.
“Killing Christian Hipster” was initially posted by Maci Shingleton at macishingleton.wordpress.com.
“Somewhere on the road of trying to find my identity in Christ I have been met with a dangerous temptation to find my identity in a new “Christian” stereotype. I’m a young adult, I live in Nashville, I sing, I’m a part of a church plant, and I think I have just enough Instagram followers to fit into this new trendy breed of believers (though I don’t have a Hebrew tattoo yet). As cliché as it may be, often my sweetest moments with Jesus are when I’m praying via Moleskin journal and hand-crafted coffee mug … all while Hillsong United and Elevation Worship blast from my iHome. Hear me out, followers of Jesus can drink good coffee and listen to good music and even have sick tattoos but if all of that was stripped away… would it change anything? I’m burdened to think that in many cases, it would. It is so easy to say we find our identity in Christ when we are truly seeking our identity in a cheap Christian brand of cool. We hide behind an identity society accepts rather than simply hiding behind Christ.
Everyone may not be making a tremendous effort at this image of Christian hipster. Some people just wake up cool. It is not a sin to be hip. My intention in writing this post is to challenge you to think about what utter surrender to Jesus Christ looks like. What if Jesus called you to kill the cool? What if Jesus called you to minister in a place where you couldn’t post Instagram photos with cute kids? What if Jesus called you to a church home where the pastor’s sermons weren’t available as podcasts? What if the body of believers Christ surrounded you with were unschooled ordinary men and not a sanctified version of Mumford and Sons? What if being a follower of Jesus meant you had less or no Twitter followers? Is Jesus really enough for you?
In scripture, I absolutely love John the Baptist and I love even more what Christ said about him. Here is the man God used to prepare the way for the Savior and the man is a freak from the wilderness. John the Baptist was not cool. And Christ Himself didn’t sound like such a trend setter either… “He grew up before Him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground. He didn’t have an impressive form or majesty that we should look at Him, no appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like someone people turned away from; He was despised, and we didn’t value Him.” Isaiah 53:2-4 Jesus doesn’t need your cool for His kingdom. He doesn’t need us to be famous to make Himself famous. Jesus works beautifully through our brokenness and completely through our surrender.
Keep having your Bible studies at Starbucks and keep rocking those flannels, but find your identity in Christ alone. He is the only solid foundation. And when He calls you to surrender something, anything, just do it. Jesus is more than worth giving everything for.”
Although I don’t feel the pull to change how I dress to fit the Christian hipster mold, that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with other aspects of this stereotype. Sometimes I wonder if I should listen to more podcasts or if I should always be listening to Hillsong-type music to make myself a better Chrisitian—only because I know peers who do fit into this mold who do these things.
Like Maci said, our identity should be in Christ—not a culturally-accepted portrayal of Christ. If you get more out of a good ol’ fashioned devotional instead of a podcast, then that’s okay. If you prefer the sweet twang of bluegrass over contemporary music, then that’s okay (just don’t ask me to hop on that bandwagon with you). If you want to have purple hair and a tattoo … oh wait, I’m getting off topic.
Bottom line, Christ died for you. He loves you—regardless of your social circles or how you look to the rest of the world.
The Rope Editor