Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Go Read James K.A. Smith's Review of Brett McCracken's Hipster Christianity

This is two weeks late, but for anyone who missed it, be sure to read James K.A. Smith's review of Brett McCracken's Hipster Christianity over at The Other Journal, entitled "Poser Christianity." I had recalled Halden discussing the project last year (a full year and a half ago!), then flipped through the book when Pitts acquired it earlier this month -- and I quickly found my originally piqued interest in what I assumed would be a goofy take on American evangelical faddism transformed into morbid surprise, particularly in the concluding section. Specifically, I agreed with Halden's double take: wasn't McCracken conflating "hipster" with, as Halden put it, "pretty much any Christian under 35 who isn’t a party line conservative evangelical"? And then to discover that the book takes the form of an argument, culminating in a call for the "unchanging eternal gospel" and such like -- it was a bit wearying.

So I was delighted to see Smith's review, and to see that he takes the book to task for all the right reasons. In a sense, speaking personally, it comes down to one question: Do I read (and commend to others!) the work of Wendell Berry because of some sort of image it creates or trend I like, or because I believe it to be true? (And true, moreover, not to some reality or ideology external to the gospel, but precisely to the God and good news and good creation of Christian faith.) My answer, of course, is obvious to anyone who reads this blog; but more importantly, it should be obvious to anyone at all who has taken the time to read Berry or to get to know someone who reads Berry. And the same goes for many of the other authors, ideas, and causes (though certainly not all: there are, as Smith rightly points out, some true posers included) listed by McCracken.

I'll stop there -- no need to regurgitate Smith's excellent review. Go read him to get the full account.

No comments:

Post a Comment