Christian Hipsters And Other Non-Problems: A Response To Carl Trueman

Keith posted a quote from Carl Trueman about hipsterism and its attendant dangers for (Reformed) Christians:

“Two things came to mind: the beautiful young things of the reformed renaissance have a hard choice to make in the next decade.  You really do kid only yourselves if you think you can be an orthodox Christian and be at the same time cool enough and hip enough to cut it in the wider world. Frankly, in a couple of years it will not matter how much urban ink you sport, how much fair trade coffee you drink, how many craft brews you can name, how much urban gibberish you spout, how many art house movies you can find that redeemer figure in, and how much money you divert from gospel preaching to social justice: maintaining biblical sexual ethics will be the equivalent in our culture of being a white supremacist.”

There is a lot that is either confusing or frankly wrong about this post, so much so that it’s hard to know where to start. Trueman doesn’t use the word “hipster” here, but it’s quite clear that his reference to the “beautiful young things of the reformed renaissance” sporting ink, drinking fair trade coffee, naming craft brews and so on clearly refers to people that, if he needed a word for them, are surely hipsters. The funny thing about the word “hipster” is that it is pretty much only ever used to describe someone else, “look at this f***ing hipster” is perhaps the paradigmatic deployment of the word – so I don’t know if anyone would actually identify with Trueman’s critique. Here’s the thing, Trueman seems to assume that Reformed Christian with a tattoo or a taste for exotic coffee and/or alcohol is trying to contextualize and “cut it” in the wider world. It’s really quite an amusing assumption, one that John MacArthur seems to share that no Christian should wish, if left to his or her own devices, to ever wear anything but a suit and tie and that anything else is somehow unserious. Trueman then seems to imply that younger Christians are liking craft brews or something to make Christian sexual ethics more palatable to the wider culture but that it’s doomed to fail. Huh? So we should all just say “screw it” and drink Coors Light? I feel like he could have saved a lot of pixels by just writing “young people like stupid things and it makes me feel out of place” because that seems to be his real sentiment. Also he wants more social stigma attached to drag queens I think, but that part seemed equally confusing because he admitted he doesn’t find them that surprising either.