Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book Review: Hipster Christianity by Brett McCracken

The collision of cool and Christianity. Most would not think there would be enough material there to fill a book. Or that said material could be intelligent, humorous, and thought-provoking.

Brett McCracken has proven most of us wrong with Hipster Christianity. Brett does an excellent job of taking what could easily be a wholly tongue-in-cheek topic and turning it into something theologically deep and challenging. While he seems to spend more time forming and asking questions than answering them, the questions he does ask are important ones. Consider:
Perhaps there is a third option—a much more insidious, countercultural idea: perhaps Christianity is hopelessly unhip, maybe even the anticool. What if it turns out that Christianity's endurance comes from the fact that it is, has been, and continues to be the antithesis and antidote to the intoxicating and exhausting drive in our human nature for cool?
This is not to say that the book is simply cold and academic. The research-paper-on-steroids feel is broken up by occasional humorous lists like: "Favorite Hipster TV Shows", "Reasons Why Calvinism is Hipster-Friendly", and the uncomfortably close to home "CCM Albums of the Nineties That Make Christian Hipsters Nostalgic". Brett treads the fine line in addressing a serious issue within Christianity with care, insight, and healthy dose of irony and wit. This is certainly something quite difficult to pull off and the fact that Brett does so with such seeming ease is a true testament to—dare I say it?—how cool he is. (See what I did there? Emphasized the point with a negative example.)

If you're not yet convinced, you can read a free chapter here.

If you're concerned, you can take the "Are You a Christian Hipster?" quiz here.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Recommended for: Anyone interested in the pulse of Christianity, the dynamic of being "in but not of the world"

This book was a free review copy provided by Baker Books.

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