From Publishers Weekly
Being hip is about valuing independence, freedom, and reinvention. But when evangelical Christian culture adopts hip's rebellious nature, what happens to the message of the institutional church? In his book debut, magazine editor McCracken steps outside of his own hip subculture to question whether the quest to be hip is "turning Christianity into a shape-shifting chameleon with ever-diminishing ecclesiological confidence and cultural legitimacy." This critical analysis reads like a sociological study aimed at evaluating a demographic segment of churchgoers. From the Jesus People of the 1960s to the Missional Church movement of today, McCracken demonstrates how hip came to collide with the values of the church. By bowing to trends in order to reach youth, Christianity may be sacrificing content and authenticity. McCracken's analysis isn't wholly scientific and unbiased; with lists like the "12 common types of hipsters" and an appreciation of pop culture, he may unintentionally fuel the very subculture he's attempting to question. Yet his "gut check" offers a much needed perspective that will make Christian leaders question the direction of their postmodern undertakings. McCracken successfully sets the stage for an important debate.
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Self-professed hipster McCracken grew up an Evangelical Christian who snuck peeks at MTV when no one was looking; years later, he became a writer and frequent contributor to progressive Christian magazines such as Relevant. So who better to write the play-by-play on the church’s current wrestling match with the ideology of “hipness”? The result is a coolheaded and clever rumination on the history of coolness, its effect on a church determined to prove its pertinence to an image-obsessed culture, and its newest subcategory of devotees—hipster Christians. As with any major cultural collision, questions arise: Who are Christian hipsters, and where did they come from? Can hipster Christianity be a positive thing? And, most importantly, can the church ever be considered cool? While McCracken’s arguments are clearly shaped by his Evangelical Christian background, anyone interested in the church’s modern permutations will find something of interest in these pages. --Taina Lagodzinski