There’s been a bit of a shift within the Christian community over the past 10 years or so. Churches across the US are starting to fit more and more into a “hipster” model. Bible studies are happening in coffee shops and breweries, pastors are rocking skinny jeans, Toms, and beanies, and twentysomethings are reshaping the traditional church systems and rebelling from the consumer-Christianity that many churches had adopted before. Worship services are feeling more like concerts, there’s a gluten-free line when you take communion, let’s face it hipster Christianity is spreading like wildfire.
Now I’m not the most dedicated or outrageous hipster by any means, but here’s a glimpse into my simple, hipster, Christian life; Sitting down to read scripture with my handcrafted coffee mug, leather-bound journal, Bethel and Ben Rector playing on Spotify, and a bible with scribblings and artsy drawings in the margins. Later I may post a picture that I took of me reading my bible with my cup of coffee on Instagram. I also have what I consider to be a trendy wardrobe, complete with flannel shirts and plenty of cardigans. Other signs of hipster Christianity may include a tattoo of a bible verse, (extra points if it’s in Hebrew or has a compass) or possibly a lush, lumberjack style beard for the men.
I’ll admit, this lifestyle seems pretty appealing to me. I’m not as hardcore as some other hipsters go but still I enjoy finding new music and rocking my round framed glasses. Not to mention that some of my most meaningful time with Jesus has been spent is via my leather-bound journal and a good cup of coffee (and you can check my Instagram for the pictures). However, as the saying goes, too much of a good thing will eventually turn into a bad thing. The problem starts when we start to follow the hipster-Christian lifestyle more than following Jesus.
Now, this might be news to some of you (I know it came as a big shock to me), but God does not need your cool-self to make his kingdom known. When Jesus was on Earth, he was not trying to be voted most popular and he did not require his disciples to be hip.
“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” Acts 4:13
“Who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?
My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him.
He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.” Isaiah 53:1-3
God works through us, not because of us. He works through the brokenness and through the imperfections. He is capable of working through whatever we can throw at him but we need to let him, because if we cling to the lifestyle more than the God of the universe then who (or more like what) is the relationship really with? Truth is, I start worshipping the culture instead of the creator. This is why surrender to Jesus is infinitely more important than anything this world can offer.
What happens when I leave my happy, hipster, Christian bubble and go into a place where being a Christian is not the popular choice? What if God called me to tone down the hipster-ness? Can I continue to say that Jesus is my everything here in my current lifestyle surrounded by believers and also surrounded by poverty in the slums of India? Will Jesus still be just as powerful without my locally roasted coffee poured straight into my mug that looks like a cat or without my worship music playing in the background? If all of these things were stripped away, would Jesus remain? Or am I only left with a burnt-out lifestyle of what I once thought was “cool?”
I posed these questions to myself but I challenge everyone who reads this to ask themselves these same questions. Figure out where your priorities are; within the culture or the creator. I ask this only because it is so incredibly important. If you do nothing more than follow the trends, then you just bought a one-way ticket on the “blind leading the blind” train.
I am beyond thankful that in my life right now I can freely worship to great music and that I am within walking distance from many, many coffee shops. It is not a sin to be hip. But I know that when I don my cardigan, slip on my Toms, and go to read my bible at a coffee shop, I am doing it for Jesus and to make him known, and not to glorify myself. Instead of hiding behind an identity that fits in the culture, I stand behind Christ.
So let’s continue to be hip and wear our flannels proudly. Enjoy good coffee and find good music that no one else has heard of, but we must actively pursue Jesus above all else. We follow Jesus before trends.
Peace and love my hipster friends,
Thanks to HKF Photography yet again for another lovely, nature filled, hipster-esque picture!